The problem of pain, suffering and evil creates questions that are not easy to answer. Does God cause people to suffer? If God is good then why do bad things happen? Are hard times a kind of payback for the wrong things I have done in my life?
We have the stories of Joseph and Job in the Old Testament that show us that rather than being the author of evil, God brings good results out of bad situations. The Old Testament shows us that evil and suffering are present in the world because of sin, Satan and the poor choices that people make with their God-given free will. The New Testament reveals a God of eternal love who came to bring redemption and restoration to His fallen creation. Perhaps no chapter in the New Testament explains this better than Romans Chapter 8.
In this chapter, Paul builds a case for God’s faithfulness during hard times and lays out the truths of salvation that address the problems of suffering and evil. Below is a simple summary of his main points:
- CONDEMNATION HAS BEEN CANCELLED. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (v. 1 NLT). We have been freed from punishment and the power of sin that once dominated us.
- CONFLICT PROVES THE PRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES. “Those who let their sinful old selves tell them what to do live under that power of their sinful old selves. But those who let the Holy Spirit tell them what to do are under His power” (v. 5 NLV). The old ways of thinking and living are still present in us as Christians but the proof that we are children of God is the fact that we no longer want to follow those impulses. Instead, we are learning to be led by and empowered by the Spirit in a whole new way of living!
- CHRIST IN US IS THE SOLUTION TO THE CONFLICT. “And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God (v. 10 NLT).
- CHILDREN OF GOD HAVE NO MORE FEAR OF REJECTION. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children” (v. 15 NLT).
- COMPARING EARTHLY PROBLEMS WITH FUTURE GLORY PUTS THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE. “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later” (v. 18 NLT). Like an accountant, Paul carefully and logically assessed present difficulties with what was ahead and he concluded that future rewards will far outweigh any pain and difficulty we now face.
- CONFIDENCE COMES THROUGH KNOWING GOD’S GOODNESS. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (v. 28 NLT).
- CONQUERORS WILL ULTIMATELY TRIUMPH OVER EVERY OBSTACLE. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (v. 35).
- COMPLETELY CONVINCED BELIEVERS WILL STAND FAST IN THE LOVE OF GOD. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (vv. 38-39 NLT).
Here is the help we need to see God’s faithfulness during hard times. Our problems become God’s opportunities to show Himself strong on our behalf.
Resting in His dependable love,