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FROM THE PASTOR'S STUDY

Topic: Message Outlines: Chapter 8

Romans 8:26-30 (6)

by Darrel Cline
(darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)

Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 4 Study # 6
February 19, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

(382)

Thesis:The required "love for God" inevitably raises a serious question of "source" and "credit".

Introduction:The text of Romans 8:28-30 invariably raises serious questions and hot debate. And, as is always the case, if any part of the text is ignored in any way, the questions will not be resolved and the debate will only be a case of much heat and no substance. For this cause, it is necessary for us to consider the details in the text from as many sides of the issue as we can.

In our studies thus far, we have seen that the first major issue is what I call Paul's "qualifier" clause. It consists of the first major section of his declaration. That section is the clause that says "for those who love God...". It ought to go without saying that Paul did not "qualify" his hyper-victorious claim regarding all things pooling their resources to yield "good" for no good reason. Nor should we allow ourselves the luxury of ignoring the most fundamental characteristic of what is called "loving someone". It is never true that someone "loves" God while being disobedient to Him. Jesus pointedly said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15 -- the form is the same for the future indicative and the present imperative so there is a difference of opinion about translation of it), and God twice linked "love" and "obedience" in Exodus 20:6 and Deuteronomy 5:10. Thus it is a false interpretation of Romans 8:28 to argue that "disobedience" is one of the factors that work together for good. In other words, "all" does not mean "all without exception" but, rather, "all within a defined boundary".

And, in our study last week we attempted to show how things "work together for good" without any violation of Paul's adamant claim that "God is not mocked" when it comes to understanding that every sowing to the flesh leads to the experience of corruption and every sowing to the Spirit leads to the experience of eternal life.

This evening we are going to address a question that Paul's insertion of the qualifier raises. If it is true that "all things work together for good" for those who "love God" and it is true that "love for God" is an essential aspect of the promise, what is the reason for Paul's immediate re-description of those for whom "all things work together for good"? Why does he immediately call those "who love God" the "according to purpose called"? How does "love for God" automatically lead to one of the most profound texts in the Bible regarding the actions God has taken to make sure that His "purpose" is fulfilled?


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