Rabbi Schneider - God's Purpose for All Things
And Paul was talking about the fact that creation itself is longing for the day that God manifests His glory to the world at Yeshua's return. So listen to what Paul says, for example, in verse 22 of chapter 8. "For we know that the whole creation, the whole creation, the entire world," Paul says, "groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now". And so what he's saying is that even now you look, for example, at the oceans, the pollution in the oceans with fish dying, you look at some of the things that are taking place in the ecology of the world, and now things are out of balance, the massive amount of fires that are starting across the US right now. Just there's disruption even in nature due to the power of sin. And somehow the Earth itself is longing to be set free from the powers of corruption or somehow like a soul. Not the type of soul that you and I have, but there's something similar to a soul, even within the Earth that's longing to be set free at Messiah's return.
And Paul continues along this crying out of creation to be liberated in the spirit at Yeshua's return when he says this in the 23rd verse. "And not only this, but also we, you and I, ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, the Spirit living in us, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies". In other words, there's a longing that we have. And for many of us, the older we get biologically, the more we long for the redemption of our body. What Paul is talking about is that as we age, you know, we start to recognize the effects, obviously, that aging has had in our bodies. Some of us are having pains in our joints now. Some of us can't digest food as well as we could when we were teenagers. Some of us our eyesight has dimmed. And the body, the Bible says, the body is wearing away. And so what Paul is saying is that we're longing for the redemption of our bodies, when this mortal body will be done away with and will be given an immortal body, where there'll be no more sickness and no more pain. This is our inheritance, beloved.
Forgive me for swatting these flies away, these bugs gnats of some sort. We're waiting to be set free from the pain in our earthly bodies. Some of you right now when you walk it's a struggle, you're limping. But you're going to be freed from all that. You're going to leap like a deer. You're going to be given a new body at Yeshua's return. And this is what Paul was talking about here. This is the hope we have. And beloved, this is reality. This is reality. And the older I get the more convinced I am of this reality. Because I see that everything else fades away, the grass withers, and the flowers fade. So I'm like Abraham. I'm looking for a city whose builder and architect is God. I'm looking for an inheritance and a reward that's not from this world. And that same is true for every one of you that are His sons and His daughters. We are going to be free indeed. Everything. We're going to be free indeed. This is our victory, beloved. Keep on pressing on, keep on fighting the good fight, keep on pressing in for breakthrough, for you have a glorious, glorious and future inheritance that's awaiting you.
Paul continues on. "For in hope..." See, so what I'm talking about there's is a hope. We're waiting for our bodies to be set free. We're waiting to enter into this reality that eye have not seen and ear has not heard because it's so glorious. Paul says in verse 24, "For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it". What is Paul talking about here? He's talking about what we're doing is exercising hope. In other words, no one hopes for what they already have. If you're eating your favorite type of cake, you're not hoping that you're eating your favorite type of cake. You're already eating it. But if your birthday is coming up in five days, and you know that you're going to be given your favorite type of cake, you're going to be looking forward to that, hoping for that to be your experience.
Let me put it this way. Faith is for the present. We exercise faith in our present reality. Faith is for the now but hope is for the future. "Faith is the conviction of things hoped for," the scripture says. So Paul says a lot of our walking in the Spirit has to do with hope. The Bible says, "Everything's going to wash away, everything else is going to fade away, but three things will endure: love, faith, and hope". Faith is exercising what is God's reality in the present. Jesus said, "If you have faith and say to that mountain, 'Be moved and be cast into the sea,' it will be done and nothing will be impossible for you".
Now, some of you say, "Well, you know, I tried speaking to that mountain that I saw in Colorado, and I said to that 10,000 foot mountain, 'Be moved,' it didn't go anywhere". And you're wondering, how does that work? But Jesus is using the mountain as a symbol. What He's talking about is as you encounter obstacles in life, as you face those obstacles in faith, rejoicing continuously, having faith that God's going to get you through that mountain and over that mountain, it's going to be moved. It will. Faith is exercising your confidence in God's presence now. Hope is looking forward in anticipation towards something God is going to do in the future. And so what we just got done reading about, beloved one, is what God is going to be doing for us in the future, the inheritance that we're going to receive, and the bodies that we're going to be given.
And then Paul continues on, "In the same way," in verse 26. He's switching subjects, but he's just talking about all that we have in Messiah. "In the same way you have this Messiah," he says, "The Spirit also helps our weakness". In other words, in addition to all these good things you have. God's a good God. I want that to just resonate with you for a moment. We're talking about, beloved, good things here. I mean, this is a good day, all the good things that God's done for you, how He loves you and I. He's made us His sons. He's given us an inheritance. This is a good God. All these good things, the destiny we have in Him, the future we have in Him. He's going before us looking out for us, protecting us, working in our life. Then Paul says, "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God".
What's going on here? Paul is saying, As you're waiting for your inheritance, as you're waiting for the things that you're hoping for to materialize, as you're waiting to go to heaven, know this, Paul says, God's Spirit that lives inside you, He knows everything about you, He knows everything that's going on in your life, He knows everything that's going on in your body, He knows every little movement of your soul and of your makeup, and He's praying for you. God's Spirit that lives in us is so connected to us, so much loves us that He knows every one of our circumstances and is involved and knows what the outcome should be. He is interceding through us to the Father. You've got somebody that's always praying for you. And the one that's always praying for you, beloved one, is the Spirit of Jesus that lives inside you. It's awesome to know that there are people praying for us. And we ought to pray for one another. But you know what's even more awesome? Even if there's nobody that's praying for you, God's Spirit who lives in you knows every single one of your needs, and He beloved ones, is praying for you according to the will of God.
Let's continue on. Verse 28 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose". Now, let me make a comment. Romans 8:28, this is possibly one of the top 10 most familiar passages in the New Testament. And even people that don't believe in the New Testament have a mantra or they quote something like this. "Oh, it all works out for the good. There is a plan for all this". But sometimes we missed the point. The point is not simply that God causes all things to work too good and we leave it at that. There's more to what God means here. So let's read Romans 8:28, which I just read. But let's read it in conjunction with or connected to the next verse because the next verse explains what the Lord means here. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren..."
What is the Lord saying here? He's saying every single thing that you and I go through in life, externally in our circumstances, in the realm of spiritual warfare, in the realm of relationships, even what we experienced in our body, the Bible says, God's causing all that to work for good. And what is the good that He's causing it to work towards? He names it in verse 29: that we would be conformed to the image of His Son. Listen again. As I read it again, I want you to listen how Romans 8:28, that God causes all things to work together for good, I want you to understand that when the Lord said that, He doesn't mean that, you know, for example, if you lost, let's say your favorite necklace, if you're a woman, that God's going to replace it with an even better necklace. He might do that. But maybe the necklace that you lost was, you know, something that had been in the family for years and it really can't be replaced.
So what does the Lord mean when He says God causes all things to work together for good? Is God to replace that necklace that was like an heirloom of the family with a better necklace? Not necessarily. What the Lord means is that He's going to somehow use that loss that you experienced through the loss of that necklace to bring you closer to Him, to bring you into deeper connection with His heart and with His call upon your life, so that your loss of that necklace, although painful, God's going to use it for good to make you understand that at the end of the day He's your only source, He's your true family, and He's the only one that's permanent. So listen again as I read Romans 8:28 and read 8:29 in context. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew..." Notice how what I'm reading now connects to Him causing everything to work together for good. "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined..." He planned in advance, He predetermined those whom He foreknew.
What do we mean by "foreknew" here? It means he foreloved you. He knew you in advance in an intimate way. Jeremiah said he was chosen from his mother's womb. We read in the Hebrew Bible that when a man married his wife they had intimate sexual relations, and the Bible says, "And he knew her". So the Bible says that when you and I are foreknown, when God foreknew us, it means He knew us intimately even before the foundation of the world. He chose us, according to Ephesians 1, and foreknew us intimately in Him before the foundation of the world. So once again, "Those whom he foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son..." So Paul was speaking those of us that were foreknown, chosen in Jesus by the Father before the foundation of the world predestined to be His. Even before we were born, God says everything, beloved ones, that happens to us in our life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, God is using it all to move us towards His destiny for us which is to be conformed to the image of His Son.
You see, the beautiful thing is nothing is wasted in our lives. Nothing is ever wasted. Sometimes we experience things and we think they're just like a total loss. We think, "I really missed it". We think, "What a waste! What would have happened if this would have happened instead? What would have happen if I would have made this choice instead"? But you know what the beautiful news of the gospel is? Nothing in our life is wasted. Not a second, not a moment, because God can take all of it, redeeming it to move us forward in His purpose. He transforms everything that we go through to be used for His purpose, to conform us to the image of Jesus. And that's what our destiny is, beloved, to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Listen again. "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren..."
Do you know what it's like to be predestined, I mean, to be conformed to the image of Jesus? You are completely, beloved, separated from everything that would disturb you. To be conformed to the image of the Son means to live in perfect harmony with God. This is where we're going. It means that nothing will shake our peace. That we'll walk in perfect unity and harmony with the Father. That the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart will always be pleasing to Him. That we're so innocent, so childlike, so powerful, so free, so complete, so satisfied. I mean, it's beyond anything that we can comprehend. This is who we are, beloved, and this is where we're going.
Paul continues on and he says this: "...whom He predestined, He also called; and whom He called, He also justified; and those whom He justified, he also glorified". There's a progression here. Paul begins by saying, "Those who are called according to His purpose..." So Paul says that you and I that are called according to His purpose were predestined. Okay, so verse 28 speaks about our being called. And then verse 30, says that those whom He called, He also predestined; these who may predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. So God chose us in advance. And because He chose us in advance, He called us and predestined us to Himself. He brought us to Himself and then justified us through the shed blood of Jesus, and then He glorified us in His Son.
This is all the working and the doing of God lest no man should boast. This is all about the grace of God, beloved, operating in your life and my life. Because from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. And the only response left for you and I is to fall on our knees to receive it and to say: thank you, thank you.
Father, we love you today. Father, thank you for all these things. Thank you for being our daddy. Thank you that our salvation is secure in you, knowing Father that you said to us that you that began the work in us will finish the work in us. Father, thank you that you said you'll complete the work that you began in our lives and conform us to the image of your son. Father, we give you our lives right now. We open up our hearts to you and we say, King Jesus, have your way and be the Lord in and through our lives.