Romans 8:28-29 and the Assurance of the Believer -- By: D. Edmond Hiebert

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 148:590 (Apr 1991)
Article: Romans 8:28-29 and the Assurance of the Believer
Author: D. Edmond Hiebert

Romans 8:28-29 and the Assurance of the Believer

D. Edmond Hiebert

Professor Emeritus of New Testament
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California

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, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.

Paul’s words in Romans 8:28–29 express a ringing Christian assurance to the believing heart; they have brought comfort and encouragement to many troubled and afflicted believers down through the centuries. The opening words, “And we know,” introduce a crucial assertion for victorious Christian living that is apprehended by faith. The verb “we know” (οἴδαμεν) denotes “the knowledge of faith and not mere intellectual investigation.”1 As Watson remarks, “As axioms and aphorisms are evident to reason, so the truths of religion are evident to faith.”2 The assurance expressed in Romans 8:28–29 is not a logical deduction of cold reason but rather an inner conviction of the believing heart wrought by the Holy Spirit on the basis of Scripture and verified in personal experience. In setting forth the great truths of the gospel in the first eight chapters of Romans, Paul used the verb οἴδαμεν six times (2:2; 3:19; 7:14; 8:22, 26, 28). Romans 8:28 states the crowning certainty of the Christian life.

Many indeed have found the sweeping assertion, “all things work together for good” (Rom 8:28, KJV), difficult to believe. Faced

with the sufferings and catastrophic experiences of life, many believers and even Christian leaders have found it difficult to accept this categorical assertion. During World War II a prominent preacher designated Romans 8:28 as “the hardest verse in the Bible to believe.” While willing to admit that the countless ravages that have befallen the human race are the logical consequences of mankind’s sin and rebellion again...

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