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God's Purpose and Method

Romans 8:29-30

Many people are confused about God's purpose.  What is He trying to do?  Christian faith is not primarily about making us feel better or providing for our needs.  These verses tell us: God's plan is for people to become like Jesus!  As we do, we will exhibit the family characteristics of God because we are siblings of God's Son (Hebrews 2:11).  

God on our Side

Romans 8:31

Perhaps, theologically, this is a strange title.  The whole emphasis of the gospel is not to make human beings the centre of attention, with God standing by to service our needs; rather, God is the centre of attention and we are called to submit to Him.  Yet it is also true that having agreed with God's opinion that we are sinners who deserve to be condemned, and repented, we are then justified by His grace, made clean and forgiven – and God stands at our side in times of great testing, as Paul testified in 2 Timothy 4:17.  

Our Graciously Giving God

Romans 8:32

How much do you think you are worth?  The value of anything is determined by the price it will attract.  So, the value of a human soul is measured by what God is willing to give to purchase it.  The answer should stagger us.  God the Father was willing to give His own Son's life so that we might belong to Him (John 3:16).  

Settled out of Court

Romans 8:33-34

Paul asks two questions: ‘Who will press charges against you in the court of heaven?’ and ‘Who will condemn you?’  Of course, Satan will try - he is called “…the accuser of our brothers and sisters …" (Revelation 12:10).  And his accusations seem to have weight - it is true that we are sinners and that our nature is to sin ... for which we deserve condemnation.  And in our more realistic moments we would agree with that.

Safety Amid Many Dangers

Romans 8:35-37

Many believers in Christ feel apprehensive about their safety as they face many dangers.  The Apostle Paul experienced those emotions too (2 Corinthians 7:5).  But unresolved, the door is open to two unasked questions, ‘How safe am I in Jesus?’, or ‘What do I have to do to make sure that God still loves me?’ Humanly, we do not feel worthy of His love (and we are not, it only comes to us by His grace).  And therefore we can easily slip into a religion of works, believing that if we do the right things then He will love us more - and that is not Biblical either.

Safe in Christ

Romans 8:38-39

Christians will have enemies, but none of them can pull us away from Christ.  The 'last enemy' is death (1 Corinthians 15:26) … but for the redeemed, that is just the doorway to life in all its fullness (John 10:10).  Angels do not want to pull us away from fellowship with God, and demons are not allowed to (John 10:28).  We need to keep reminding ourselves that there is no place on earth which is outside of God's authority (Psalm 139:7-12) where His grace does not operate.

Wasted Opportunity

Romans 9:1-5

Romans 9-11 especially focus on God's promises to His ancient people of Israel.  Although the first believers were all Jews, the Apostle Paul is sad that most of the Jewish nation did not connect God's Word or covenant promises with Jesus.  Although Christ was a human descendant of King David, most Jews resisted Him.  Indeed, the Apostle Paul had done the same until his conversion (Galatians 1:13-14).  But since then, he could clearly see how Christ Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament promises (Romans 1:1-6).

Children of the Promise

Romans 9:6-9

Religious people like to believe that, because of who they are and what they do, God will accept them.

God's Choices

Romans 9:10-15

It should be obvious, but because God is so much greater than us in every way, it should not surprise us that we cannot fully understand all He does or why He does it.  In the same way that small children have no real understanding of global economics, but they trust food and clothing will be provided, so we do not need to grasp how God is bringing all things together for our good (Romans 8:28) under Christ (Ephesians 1:10).

God's Motives

Romans 9:16-18

As human beings we are naturally selfish.  Even those born again by the Spirit of God are still at risk of being dragged down by a self-centred gravity.  So, whenever we think about God and what He does, we tend to personalise it: for example, ‘Is this fair to me?’ or ‘What do I get from it?’  That is not biblical thinking, it is wrong.  God's existence does not centre on us - ours is intended to orbit around Him.  God's purpose is always to demonstrate the power and magnificence of His character - the Bible calls that His 'glory'.