This chapter of Romans has much to say about assurance. It begins with the assurance that the believer no longer has to fear condemnation from the wrath of God, and it ends with the assurance that nothing can separate us from His love. Both are the result of Christ dying for us when we were powerless to help ourselves, when sin was our master. These parallel assurances convince us that God is for us, and if He is for us, who could be against us? Our salvation is secure.
But there is another less welcome assurance in this passage – the assurance that if we are to share in His glory, we must also share in His suffering. Not the suffering of the cross, which was a work uniquely reserved for the sinless and perfect Saviour who died once for the sins of many, but the suffering that comes from following one whom the world hated “…you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19). And the suffering that comes from living in a fallen world, where believers are not free from sickness, even unto death, from grief and pain, from hardship and injustice. We also struggle with our old sinful nature that draws us to do what we know is wrong, and makes it difficult to do what we know is right, and so like the apostle we feel the heavy burden of guilt.
As we confront these trials and wonder how we’ll make it, another wonderful assurance shines through – as believers, we have the Spirit of God in us, helping us in our weakness, affirming that we are God’s children, and convincing us that what we suffer now is momentary and light compared to the exceeding weight of glory that awaits us.
Take hold of these blessed assurances today. If sin and temptation keep troubling you, remember that God’s spirit has set you free from their control and they are no longer your master. If pain and illness wrack your body, remember that when our mortal bodies have died, we shall be raised to newness of life. If grief and sorrow weigh on your heart, remember that none of this will hold you back from one day entering the glory of the Lord. Yes, there are no easy answers, and full wisdom – the ability to truly understand why things happen and what they mean – is hidden. Only God sees it all. But in His mercy and grace, He gives us one last assurance – that all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
How we thank you Lord for all these blessed assurances. Help us hold onto them, and we pray O Lord that we’ll be reminded of them, today and every day.