Summary: In this sermon we see that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because of five unshakeable convictions.
The first verse of the greatest chapter in the Bible—Romans 8:1—says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Everything else that follows in the rest of Romans 8 tells us why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
There are a number of reasons why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. First, because there is no condemnation from the law (8:1-4); second, because we have been delivered from the flesh (8:5-11); third, because we are now the children of God (8:12-17); fourth, because we have the hope of future glory (8:18-25); and fifth, because of the intercession of the Holy Spirit (8:26-27).
Today, we see a sixth reason why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and it is because of five unshakeable convictions. We see this in Romans 8:28.
Now, if you have the English Standard Version of the Bible, you will notice at the bottom of the page a footnote that says, “Some manuscripts God works all things together for good, or God works in all things for the good.” I believe that this is a preferable translation for the reason I will explain shortly. The New International Version of the Bible captures this preferred translation:
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
“Freddy, I just need you to pray.”
These are the words from the trembling, tearful voice that returned my greeting on a Wednesday afternoon as I answered my telephone. And then Ann, a member of our church family in State College, PA, said, “Dr. Streit just died!”
I was shocked. No words seemed appropriate. After learning some of the sketchy details that were available at that time, I prayed with Ann, hung up the phone, and just sat in my chair gazing into space—stunned by the news.
In the hours that followed word got out and our church family was surprised and shocked by the sudden death of Don Streit. Don was on the Engineering Faculty at Penn State University, an elder in his church, and extremely active in the community. He died instantly of a heart attack at the age of 46, leaving behind a wife and eight children between the ages of 6 and 16.
Many of you have received a similar phone call with the unexpected news of the death of a loved one. Just two weeks ago someone in our church family received news of a child’s suicide.
When news like that comes our way, we are often surprised and shocked. We cannot believe what we are hearing. And it is at times like these that we need our attention drawn to today’s text.
I want to focus your attention on one of the best-known texts in the entire Bible. I want you to be assured of the steadfastness of God’s love by reminding you of Romans 8:28 this morning.
Before I proceed, I should mention to you that over the years I have occasionally encountered Christians who have been critical of me for using this text as a comfort in a time of sorrow. I have come to believe that they are profoundly mistaken, because Romans 8:28 is in fact one of the greatest texts to assure us of God’s love and promise in the midst of the most difficult of providences.
We live in a world in which things go wrong. Pick up the newspaper any day of the week, and you will read of tragic accidents, deaths, murders, suicides, and so on. And, frankly, it so often seems to be about someone else. But, occasionally, that tragedy strikes close to home.
Where do you go when tragedy strikes? Where do you find comfort when difficulty comes? Where do you find hope in the midst of trial?
For us as Christians, the answer is in God himself as he has revealed himself to us in his Word. And one of the most precious of all comforts is found in this text. Romans 8:28 can shelter our souls in the midst of a violent storm. It is a text that can give comfort and hope in the midst of any difficulty or trial. I love what Bible commentator John Stott says about Romans 8:28. He says that Romans 8:28 is “like a pillow on which to rest our weary heads.”
Romans 8:28 begins with the words, “And we know.” Verse 22 also begins with the words, “For we know.” In the space of seven verses Paul makes two assertions about what we know as Christians. Verse 22 is about the groaning of creation, and verse 28 is about God’s providential love and care for his own.