Lesson 36—Romans 8:28-39

God’s Eternal Purpose

We have been listening to a sorrowing creation and we have caught the strains of its moaning. Our own hearts respond to its sorrow and yearn for full and final deliverance, vs. 23. We look beyond the long, dark night and hail the coming day. vs. 24, 25. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit dwelling within us is a true Friend to us helping our weaknesses, and enabling us to pray as we ought, and interceding for us, vs. 26.

Now the minor cords are dropped and we join in the singing of a magnificent song of triumph. Our journey takes us through the region of our circumstances, vs. 28, then into the realm of God’s Purpose, vs. 29, 30. We look backward into a past eternity and then onward to the completion of all God’s plans. We see the glad company of the many brethren and God’s own Son the Center of that throng, God’s Purpose like a golden chain stretches across the ocean of time from shore to shore. Five wonderful links are in this chain reaching from eternity to eternity.

The first link is Foreknowledge

We were in the mind of God from all eternity. He knew what He would do for us long before He created the worlds.

The second link is Predestination

That is, He marked us out beforehand. God had one Beloved Son from all eternity; He is going to have many sons just like His own Dear Son with Him forevermore. Just to think that He has marked us out for that, how wonderful.

The third link is Calling

Here is where the golden chain dips into the sea of sin and reaches you and me.

He called me long before I heard
Before my sinful heart was stirred
But when I took Him at His word
Forgiven He lifted me.

The fourth link is Justification.

That takes us out of our sin and puts us in Christ with not a single charge against us.

The fifth link is Glorification.

This carries us far into the distant reaches of a coming eternity. But it takes us in right now as well. We are surprised to find it reads in the past tense. It says “Them He also glorified.” He has done it. God sees His purposes complete. Time is a mere incident to Him. In the mind of God we are already glorified so we can be as sure of heaven as if we were already there. No wonder then that we can shout, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Poor Jacob little knew that all was working together for his good when he wailed, “All these things are against me.” Gen. 42:36. He thought only of the loss of Joseph, his beloved son, of Simeon in prison in Egypt and then the thought of losing Benjamin too, it was just too much for the aged father. But “The clouds he so much dreaded were big with mercy” and were about to drop in blessings on his head. When his life’s sun was setting Jacob could look back upon the road by which God had led him, rough and rugged though it had been, and own the faithfulness of the God who planned all to His glory.

Sometimes we may question God’s ways with us when everything seems against us but if “God be for us who can be against us.” The dying words of St. Chrysostom were “Glory be to God for all things.” In the hands of the Great Worker all things are simply links in a vast chain of blessing and so we can sing;

Precious thought my Father knoweth
In His will I rest
For whate’er my Father doeth
Must be always best.
Well I know the heart that planneth
Naught but good for me,
Joy and sorrow interwoven,
Love in all I see.


1. Do our circumstances hinder God in the carrying out of His purpose?

2. What are the five links in the golden chain of God’s purpose?

3. Can any creature power break that chain?