“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV)
What Good is God Guaranteeing for Those Who Love Him?
A resurrected body
If Jesus was resurrected, it is God’s guarantee that our bodies will someday be resurrected like his. The whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 makes this point. Here’s a highlight:
“For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins…If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-17, 19–21)
We humans like having bodies. Anybody out there not have a body today? We like having bodies. We may not like our body but we like having a body. We especially like it when our bodies are working well. But the sad reality is that all our bodies are in an incremental decline. Don’t look at your Easter pictures from three years ago. Only the children look better; the rest of us look just a little worse each year. I’m only talking about men. What do the aches and pains and creaking sounds when we get out of bed tell us? This body is decaying.
How does a new body sound? Jesus’ resurrection is God’s guarantee of our bodily resurrection into a permanent, glorified body. If all the creaky bones and sore muscles and colds and flus and heart diseases and cancers in this life are guaranteed by God to be replaced with a forever body that never will decay, who here calls that good?
Inseparable love forever
Romans 8 continues with, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38–39)
How could our forever be “good” if it didn’t have love? How lonely we would be forever if there was no one to love or be loved by. It’s terrifying to think that hell is loveless. No love. No kindness. Perhaps no communication. Only hatred and grinding despair. Jesus called it forever “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12).
But for those who love God, God’s love cannot be separated from us. The list hits exactly the things that would make us fearful. Can death take me from God’s love? Can any human authority take God’s love from me? Can any spiritual being take God’s love from me? On the list goes with all the things we fear. The conclusion is that there is no height or depth, person or power, or anything else that can keep God’s love from its full expression to me forever. Would you call that good?
A life of ultimate meaning/hope
“For those who love God all things work together for good.” (Romans 8:28)
Imagine there was no resurrection of Jesus. Imagine he remained dead like everyone else and joined every other religion’s key leader as permanently dead. If your religious hero is dead, your religion is doubtful at best. It would mean this life is all there is. This is it. And then where do we go for any sense of our lives to have any lasting meaning or purpose?
Reflecting on her impending death, the French atheist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir stated:
“I loathe the thought of annihilating myself quite as much now as I ever did. I think with sadness of all the books I’ve read, all the places I’ve seen, all the knowledge I’ve amassed and that will be no more. All the music, all the paintings, all the culture, so many places: and suddenly nothing…Nothing will have taken place.”
Death looms for the atheist, the materialist, the agnostic, the believe whatever, and believe nothing at all. They too are searching for meaning in life. But without any divine promise of redemption, they cling to this life alone. Perhaps that’s you today. You’re trying to do something significant with your life and trying hard not to think about your death. The rich, the poor, the powerful, the helpless, the human, we are all the same.
The same highs and lows happen to us. Blessings, yes. But trials and suffering as well. The unbeliever experiences bad and knows death awaits. The Christian experiences the same sufferings, but with the confidence that they will lead to good.
Is this a mind game? No. It’s grounded in the historical reality of the resurrection. If God can make all things good including even the death of Jesus, then God can take the gnarled mess of my life and turn it all into eventual good.
I heard R.C. Sproul at a conference refer to Romans 8:28 and ask, “What if Jesus himself came on the stage now and said, ‘I personally guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen to you.” How would we all feel?’” Best Easter ever! And isn’t that really what the resurrection says? For those who are true Christians, nothing ultimately bad will ever happen.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2019 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
 Simone de Beauvoir, Force of Circumstance, p. 657.
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