Scripture cards. We often write them to aid memorization. One verse to carry with us and read over as we wait for the dentist. Or we tape it to the bathroom mirror so we can concentrate on the words while brushing our teeth.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” ESV
Then one day while reading the chapter we realize the verse does not really stand alone. It is better as a paragraph linked with the sentences written before and after.
Often the verse isn’t even quoted entirely… “all things work for the good” we state with slumped shoulders, on the verge of tears.
But the purpose of memorization is to be able to practice it. These are the words of our heavenly Father. The words the Holy Spirit will teach us to walk out.
Because the Holy Spirit is our teacher, He often calls attention to that Scripture before and/or after our verse as well as words we have dropped from the line we “memorized.” These I call the “drop off” Scripture.
The verses before Romans 8:28, the verse so often memorized and quoted, tell us that in our tough situation, the one we have no power to rectify, we can know the Holy Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God.
“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” ESV
Because of this intercession, we can know the result will be according to God’s will and therefore for our benefit. God’s love for us is agape, which is to intensely, with intelligence, will the best for us. Any goals or plans we make in our own wisdom are nothing in comparison to God’s.
J. Vernon McGee comments: “‘All things’—good and bad; bright and dark; sweet and bitter; easy and hard; happy and sad; prosperity and poverty; health and sickness; calm and storm; comfort and suffering; life and death. ‘Are working together for good’ is causative and means that God is working all things—there are no accidents.”
Romans 8:29 clarifies the good.
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” ESV
All the issues of life are part of the process of being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. This is often referred to as the sanctification process. In Romans 8:30 Paul clarifies the steps that occur in this sanctification.
“And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” ESV
It has been predetermined (or predestined) that we will be like God’s Son for we responded to God’s call and were therefore justified (our sin blotted out as far as the east is from the west/Ps. 103:12) and glorified in Christ. This is a declaration of a done deal.
Although our sanctification is a process we can know the result, the image of Christ, will be achieved. How? Because the Holy Spirit is orchestrating our situations, so they sync with the will of God. Therefore, our experiences will remove what is not of Christ and polish what is Christ-like.
Let’s make our memory verses serve us well by remembering what is before and after the one Scripture we memorize.
1-How has the Holy Spirit worked in your application of Scripture? Describe a time when you allowed certain phrases to drop out of Scripture, altering its meaning.
2-What is your process for memorizing scripture and how do you choose which Scriptures you memorize?
©2022 Susan Cort Johnson *All Rights Reserved