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And then when you see his glory and his worth, and when you treasure him, then the promise is yours. All things will work together for your good, because you love God. Treasury of Scripture 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. NET Bible And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, New Heart English Bible We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. But friend, have you ever felt that God had abandoned or deserted you?
He may look poor; or he may look prosperous in this world. That is not the way we want to be.
We want to hear this promise as ours. We want to know that all things are working together for our good, not for our condemnation. So what must be true of us? First, Paul says that we must be people who love God. In the original, this is the first thing in the verse: First, he does not mean that you go in an out of loving God, and if you have a bad experience when you are loving God it turns for your good, and if you have a bad experience when you are not loving God it turns for bad.
This calling which we will talk about later is not something that happens over and over. It is the effective, once-for-all work of God to call me from death to life, and from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, and from enmity toward God to loving God. The calling into love and faith is once for all, and so love for God is the mark of the truly called person — all the time. Of course, our love for God has moments of intensity and moments of weakness — just like every other love relationship we have.
But in those who are called, love for God is what defines them. He is saying that for Christians — the called, those whose hearts have been brought from enmity to love for God — all things work for good all the time. So what does it mean to love God? How can you know if you are in this number? The best way I can think to make the answer clear is to say three things that love for God is not.
At least the essence of love for God is not these three things. Loving God is not meeting his needs. The way we love man is different from the way we love God.
He is the source of all things and has no needs. He cannot be helped or improved. There are no defects to reverse or deficiencies to supply. We cannot love him by supplying his needs. Therefore the essence of our love for him must be an experience of receiving. And I do regard joy as essentially receiving pleasure from the object of our delight.
That leads to the second thing that love for God is not. Loving God is not , in its essence, love for his gifts — gifts like forgiveness, justification, escape from hell, resurrection to a pain-free life, etc. Indeed if we love God, we will cherish these gifts and be thankful for them, because we would not have God without them.
But loving God is treasuring God himself revealed in his gifts and treasuring God himself beyond his gifts. His gifts are precious to the degree that they bring us to God and show us more of God.
When you love God, God is central in your affections, not his gifts. The essence of loving God is not the things that love for God prompts you to do.
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. 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.
Love for God may prompt you to leave mother and father and forsake all that to declare his glory among the nations. But leaving mother and father and forsaking all are not the essence of love — they are the fruit of love. It means love is the kind of heart that prompts you to keep commandments. Love my flock and feed them. Feeding sheep is the fruit of loving Jesus.
It is something internal and involves spiritual emotions. It is not, in essence, a deliberated choice or a deed. It is more like a reflex of the heart to the perfections of God revealed especially in Christ.
If you equate the deeds of love with the essence of love you will produce hypocrites — people who imitate the deeds and claim to love God when their hearts are far from him. If you equate love for God with love for his gifts, you produce hypocrites — people who are very glad to feel forgiven and declared righteous and delivered from hell and heaven-bound, but have no pleasure in God himself.
Therefore, I think it is absolutely crucial that we clarify what the essence of love for God is. Let me grasp for the kinds of words that I think will help us know if we love God. Loving God is desiring God himself beyond his gifts. Loving God is treasuring God himself beyond his gifts. Love for God is delighting in God himself beyond his gifts. Love for God is being satisfied in God himself beyond his gifts. Love for God is cherishing God himself beyond his gifts. Love for God is savoring God himself beyond his gifts. All these words are grasping for that essential response of the heart to the revelation of the glory of God, especially in Christ through the gospel.
It is a glad reflex of the heart to all that God is for us in Christ. Do you love God in this way?
Let me help you love him by exploding a certain Catch 22 effect that Romans 8: