3 August 2013

Romans 8:28-39

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (v. 28)


Paul writing to the young church in Rome paints a picture in Romans 8 of the prolonged labour of a whole new order of humanity coming to birth on earth through Christ (verse 22). This new act of creation through Christ had been planned from the beginning of all time. (verse 29). The labour was confusing, painful, with a mixture of joy and suffering. Young Christian communities were persecuted and were discovering that learning how to live in the ways of God took lot of training and trial and error within the community.

In verses 28 Paul offers words of encouragement to the Christian church in Rome. They might live in confused times, and have to bear a lot of suffering. However, they needed to see their stories on the bigger picture of God's purposes coming to fruition through the whole universe. In God's time, God's purposes could not be thwarted and all things would work out through the death and resurrection of Christ which saved them.

In verse 39 Paul ends with the exhortation: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." These words have given immense encouragement to people in times of difficulty.

To Ponder

  • Can you describe a time when there was a lot of pain and suffering in your life, and as you look back now you can see that God was able to bring good transformation out of it for you and those around you? What happened?
  • Read the words of this passage slowly. What phrase stands out? And how does it speak into a situation you are in?

Bible notes author

The Revd Jenny Ellis

Jenny is a Methodist minister and this year has permission to study, as well as work alongside a rural chapel to help it find a new physical presence and sense of mission in its village. She is leading a number of quiet and study days.