Joy to the world, CrossTrain family!! Christmas season is HERE!!! How great it has been to enter the advent season as we learn of the joy, peace, and hope available to us through the grace and mercy won by the Savior born to us! It is the perfect time for us to begin our second to last family memory verse this week. We’ve spent this last year learning who God is, who we are, how we’ve broken our relationship with God through sin and about the punishment we deserve. We’ve learned of the Gospel, the good news that Jesus died for sinners and has saved all his sheep. He hasn’t made it possible for us to be saved, he has ACTUALLY SAVED US. In these last weeks we’ve learned some of what the Christian life looks like. This week we will learn possibly the biggest reason we can have this joy, peace, and hope not only at Christmastime, but every day we live.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:28-29
Why this verse? It is easy for us to be happy and grateful when things seem to go our way. However when God saves us, despite what American evangelicalism says, this does not mean that we are promised a problem-free life of health and wealth. Not at all. In fact, God promises us repeatedly and clearly that we will suffer. Sin and the effects of the curse continue to plague the world and we are caught in the “already but not yet.” The fact that a Christian suffers and continues to groan with all creation for the restoration of all things is actually evidence of conversion. The things of this world ought not satisfy us. As we suffer though, God in this passage is telling us that all things are working for our good to save us, to make us more like Jesus, and to spread his Kingdom. Can we help but conclude that as many brothers are brought into the kingdom and the gospel steadily moves forward, that God is not actively making all things new? We are promised that he will continue to reign until all his enemies have been made a footstool. There is no greater source for joy, peace, and hope than this!!
Questions Romans 8:28-29 can answer
Does being a christian mean that I won’t suffer?
Does God guarantee that I will be healthy and wealthy?=
What does God use for our good?
What does God use all things to do?
We cannot be circumstantial Christians who only rejoice when things go as WE planned and only the things that we perceive as “good” are present in our lives. We must do as God commands us through Paul and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This means that in every and all circumstances, we ought to be thankful to God, believing that ALL THINGS are working together for our good; our good being our salvation, our transformation into the image of Christ, and the advancement of the kingdom. During pleasant days and as we suffer, may we have peace, joy, and hope in this truth. Rejoice church! The Word has been made flesh and our savior has come! “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infect the ground. He comes to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found.” Until next time, may God richly bless you by the grace and mercy won by Jesus Christ!
Adam and Audra Griffin