In this sermon, entitled If God is for Us, Pastor Neil preaches on Romans 8:28. Many people misinterpret what this verse means. Here are some excerpts:
Paul begins with the presupposition that God really is for us. This doesn’t mean God promises us a life without pain or suffering or hardship or disappointment, if we just have enough faith.
Don’t ever fall for that lie! Christians and non-Christians alike will get coronavirus; some will die from it. Christians and non-Christians alike get cancer. Faith in Christ does not make you immune to suffering. The message of 8:28, though, is that God uses even the hard things to work out His good purposes in our lives. We know that God is for us because of the outworking of His plan of salvation that began with His loving and sovereign choice of us to be His children before the beginning of time (Ephesians 1:4-5).
If God is not for us, if He is against us, we are in deep, deep trouble– we are “a pretty sorry lot,” as it says in The Message (1 Corinthians 15:19). If He is not for us, we have everything to fear and nothing to hope for.
When Paul says that God is for us, He does not mean that you will never experience any trials or troubles or discrimination or persecution because of your faith in Christ. Just ask Andrew Brunson about that. All the powers of hell may be arrayed against you, in an attempt to bring you down and destroy your faith in Christ. Even so, says Paul, they will not and cannot prevail against you. Why? Since God is for us – no one will be able to thwart God’s good and loving purposes for us.
… How do we know? Verse 32 tells us: We know it because He “did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all.” We know because of all that Jesus did for us. Because of the voluntary, loving, and all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. That is how we know God is for us…