The Bible tells the story of God's creation. Some verses uniquely summarize significant parts of this story. This series of blogs will explore those verses.
Verse 1 in our series is Romans, 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
This verse summarizes three main parts of the story.
The first part is "All things work together for good." Does this mean that the child abducted and the woman raped work towards some good end? No. But, it does mean that those events are not the end of the story. God has a plan that brings an expected end, Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." This expected end provides hope for those ravished by evil. Our eyes need to be focused on the path Jesus is leading us to, which is God's expected end. What happens to us along the way is like the suffering Jesus experienced, 1 Peter 5:10, "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
Evil does not have the final say unless we forsake our Savior. Let us learn from Joseph, as his suffering seemed to be without end. However, he always maintained his focus. Joseph faithfully followed God, knowing that the eternity God has promised dwarfs the time we suffer in this life, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." Joseph ultimately rose to the second most powerful person in Egypt, which allowed him to save many lives, Genesis 50:18-20, "And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."
When we patiently stay connected to God, which He calls abiding, good things eventually happen, John 15:4-5, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." When we don't, the ending is not good.
The second part is "to them that love God." Jesus told us this was the most important commandment, Matthew 22:37-38, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." If we do not love God, we will not be able to keep His commandments, John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." And we will not be able to love others as He loves us, John 13:35, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." This separates those in the Kingdom of God from those who will not, for it can only be heaven if we love one another. Everyone in heaven will love everyone else, Matthew 5:46-47, "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" God does not favor the privileged, Romans 2:11, "For there is no respect of persons with God." He sees the intent of the heart in all matters and judges on that basis, 1 Samuel 16:7, "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."
The third part is "to them who are called according to His purpose." God is creating a family who are called to live together in love. Everything He has created works together to produce this end, Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." This expected end is His purpose. When we choose to defy His created order, we are telling God we do not want to live in the expected end He is creating, Deuteronomy 30:19, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" This is the choice He is giving us. We cannot blame God for the damage caused by our poor choices, Proverbs 19:21, "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand." We can't pretend to love God or our fellow man; we must love the way God does, for that is His purpose for us, Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." and 1 John 4:20, "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" and Matthew 7:21, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." and Galatians 6:7, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
So, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
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