Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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 8:26-39
“Has he got a plan?”
“A plan? What do you men a plan?”
“Son, Russians don’t do anything without a plan.”
The language is just a bit more crude, but the message came through to Jack Ryan in the movie, Hunt for Red October. The captain of the submarine they were chasing had to have a plan if the theory Ryan was championing was true. The Russian had to have a plan.
You might think of Jeremiah 29:11 as a place in the Bible regarding God’s plans. There he promises to his people that he had plans for them – plans to prosper them, not to harm them. Plans to give them hope and a future. Those are great plans, and no doubt the foundation of Paul’s promise here in Romans 8. God has good plans for those who love him.
But they are more than plans. They are works in progress. And God is working (present tense!) in the midst of challenges, bad things, good things, everyday things – all things – for the good of those who love him.
God has called us according to his purpose. And that purpose is remarkable. If you follow the chain, God is at work for our glorification. We who have been justified – by grace through faith – will be glorified. This is difficult for me to get my head around. But this is the promise of God.
Maybe you’ve heard the thunderous applause at the end of a performance. Perhaps you’ve danced and others have cheered for you. You might have been a sports star and heard the cheers from the fans when you made the play. Or maybe you’ve just heard it once time, sincerely, genuinely, kindly: Job well done!
Now take that and multiply that times 1000, or 10,000, or 1,000,000! Imagine Jesus glorifying you. Imagine him applauding you. Don’t get too caught up in it to the point that you become conceited and filled with hubris. But don’t ignore this promise of God. His plans end in your glorification. New bodies. Perfect in every way.
“The glory of God is many fully alive,” said Saint Irenaeus, a great theologian of the Church in the second century. We who have been called by God, who love him, will be fully alive by his grace for all time…to the glory of God and our eternal joy!