There Are No “Ifs” In Romans 8:28-30

Romans 8:17-39: The Final Perseverance of the Saints For me, one of the most comforting things in Scripture is the fact that there are no question marks or “ifs” in God’s plan to save his people from sin, hell, and death.  No one can snatch me out of Christ’s sovereign hand and nothing can separate me from God’s love in Christ (John 10:28-30, Rom. 8:38-39).  My salvation is safe and secure because God is strong and sovereign.  Lloyd-Jones echoes well this in his exposition of Romans 8:28-30.

“This promise [that all things work together for the good of those who love God – v28] must be true in light of God’s purpose with respect to his people.  In other words, the statement is not that all things work together for good ‘as long as we love God.’  The statement is true of us because we are ‘the called according to his purpose.’  This is a most important distinction.”

“Some would interpret the words as saying that as long as I love God, as long as I am in a state of faith, this is true of me; but if I should backslide, then it is no longer true of me.  But such an interpretation entirely reverses the Apostle’s statement.  All things must work together for me because I love God, and I love God because I am ‘called’ of God, and because I am included in God’s purpose of salvation.”

“At this point we are face to face with what is called the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints….  It is a great part of our Protestant heritage.  The Roman Catholics, as I have had occasion to point out before, do not believe this doctrine; they reject it in toto.  There would really be no place for their church if they believed it to be true, which explains why they have always fought [against] it with such great zeal.”

“In these verses we have the greatest statement in Scripture of this doctrine.  It is stated elsewhere, and it is implicit in many places.  But here we have the plainest, clearest, and the most explicit statement of it that can be found anywhere.”

“Now this is God’s purpose for you, and it will lead to your glorification. Cannot you see that because it is God’s purpose he will certainly bring you there?  And so everything that happens to you is subservient to, and must be regarded in light of that purpose.”

D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Romans Chapter 8:17-38 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1975), 195, 205.

rev shane lems

3 thoughts on “There Are No “Ifs” In Romans 8:28-30”

  1. I used to hear a pentecostal pastor preach this passage with vigor. “Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ… but you can walk out.”

    There’s no assurance in that. It drove me to reformed theology.


    1. Wow, that is sad. Reminds me of the words of a Roman Catholic teacher, who wrote “No external power is capable of wresting us out of Christ’s loving embrace (Rom. 8:28-29), but you can do it, if you decide to willfully rebel against God through mortal sin (1 Jn 5:16-17).”

      In other words, in this type of theology, “almost nothing” can snatch us from Christ’s hands.

      Indeed, you’re right. There’s no assurance in that, and furthermore it detracts from Christ’s saving work and grace is no longer grace and God’s love is no longer stronger than death/sin.

      Thanks for the helpful comment!


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