International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday August 7, 2016
Purpose: To believe that God is on our side through all the situations we face
Bible Lesson: Romans 8:28-39
Key Verse: If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31)
Romans 8:28-39 (CEB)
(28) We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. (29) We know this because God knew them in advance, and he decided in advance that they would be conformed to the image of his Son. That way his Son would be the first of many brothers and sisters. (30) Those who God decided in advance would be conformed to his Son, he also called. Those whom he called, he also made righteous. Those whom he made righteous, he also glorified. (31) So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (32) He didn’t spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. Won’t he also freely give us all things with him? (33) Who will bring a charge against God’s elect people? It is God who acquits them. (34) Who is going to convict them? It is Christ Jesus who died, even more, who was raised, and who also is at God’s right side. It is Christ Jesus who also pleads our case for us. (35) Who will separate us from Christ’s love? Will we be separated by trouble, or distress, or harassment, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (36) As it is written, we are being put to death all day long for your sake. We are treated like sheep for slaughter. (37) But in all these things we win a sweeping victory through the one who loved us. (38) I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers (39) or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Our text for this week begins with one of the most quoted verses in all of the Book of Romans. But what does it really mean? Most of us probably memorized it from the KJV or NKJV “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.”
My approach to this lesson will be somewhat different than most commentaries. As I look at this verse and the rest of the verses in our text, I see God’s love for us displayed through his grace. So I will just go through the four graces that is taught throughout the New Testament.
The first grace that we experience is called Prevenient Grace, it is the grace that God uses to draw us to Him, prior to our even recognizing God. It is that part of verse 28 that speaks of being “called according to His purpose.” Prevenient Grace is for everyone, but not everyone heeds that tug and call on their life.
But Prevenient Grace can lead to Justifying Grace. Justifying Grace, is God’s love revealed through forgiveness of our sins. Justifying (“just as if we never sinned”) When we accept God’s prevenient grace and accept his forgiveness of our sins, God accepts us as being blameless for our past sins and welcomes us into a new relationship with him, we are born anew, our spirit now aligns with His spirit. Some call this “being saved” or “born again.”
Justifying Grace can then lead to Sanctifying Grace. Sanctifying Grace takes us closer to Christ. It is a nurturing and seeking grace or love that draws us closer to Christ in our daily walk, and creates within us a desire to know more and more about Christ and of His love for us. It is the grace that enables us to live and love for Christ, in the same way that His love has been showed to us. It is the grace that enables us to love our neighbor and our enemies alike. It is the grace that causes us to seek righteousness and holiness rather than sin. Some might call this the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or being filled with the Spirit.
The final grace is called “Glorifying Grace.” It is the grace or love that God shows to us at the time of our departing. This grace is sometimes referred to as “Dying Grace.” It is the grace that takes us from a mortal body to a glorified body. The grace that takes us from a sinful world to a glorified place where Jesus lives and dwells at the right hand of God. It is our ultimate goal, and it is the reward we receive for accepting Christ as God’s son and as the sacrifice that was made at Calvary on our behalf.
I think all of this is a good explanation for what Paul is saying in these verses. Our faith will guarantee the outcome we desire in the end. But it is God’s graces or love that helps us through all of the trials and tribulations of this life, so that we can achieve, with confidence, the next.
My hymn for this week is an oldie but goodie, “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” I think the words of this hymn speak better than “Amazing Grace” an obvious choice.