“Better a broken promise than none at all” (Mark Twain). Sadly, we live in a world where experiencing broken promises is not unusual. The words “till death do us part” fly in the face of a divorce rate of nearly 60%. The “when I get around to it” that never seems to, well, get around to it. As one person rightly says, “It is easy to make promises – it is hard work to keep them.” In such a world of broken promises, the attitude of many is simple, “There are no guarantees.” Christians, on the other hand, proclaim that there is One who never breaks a promise. Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Today, I wish to look at what he promises for all who are in Christ Jesus.
Before considering the verse for today’s lesson, I want to reflect on Romans chapter eight, for it is jam-packed with promises. God’s first promise in v1, “There is, therefore, NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus…” is a fantastic promise that empowers the believer to walk in confidence. Down in v11, God promises us that “He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” That same Spirit “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (v16). We serve the most excellent Promise Keeper! And so, we come to our verse for today’s lesson.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
NKJV, Romans 8:28
This verse is widely quoted and for a good reason. It is a verse that, at times, struggles to fall from the lips of those faced with adversity. Let’s take a moment and break it down. To trust a promise, we need to know something about the promise maker. What you know plays a significant role in what you are willing to endure. Here, the Greek word carries the idea that something is well known (Thayer’s). It is used in John 3:2 as Nicodemus says to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” It is knowledge based on experience.
So, how many of us have witnessed or experience God, guiding someone through adversity or turmoil? Knowledge of the Promise Maker enables us to reason “that all things work together.” We do not experience a collection of random acts that serve no intended purpose. This idea of “work together: carries the idea to put forth power together with and thereby assist. Listen to v26, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.” Whatever struggles we face, where words seem void of their ability to express where we are, God promises to work with us in our journey. As one person writes, “God who can see the end from the beginning assures us that the above statement is true.” Faith rally’s us to stand with faith-driven confidence that speaks with conviction “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
We serve such a God, the only real Promise Keeper of the world. By faith, we understand from Him that a promise is a promise. He will work together with us and bring about what is in our best interest. We, by faith, take such a posture as we lean on Him in all circumstances of life. Then we can say with confidence, “… that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39). Thank you, Lord, for providing us how we can live as “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Praise be to the one faithful Promise Keeper.