The most straightforward and simple statement of Fanny J. Crosby’s “Blessed Assurance” is Paul’s statement to the church at Rome:
31 What (tis) then (oun) shall we say (legō) in response to (pros) these (houtos) things? If (ei ·ho) God (theos) is for (hyper) us (hēmeis,) who (tis) can be against (kata) us (hēmeis?) 32 He (pheidomai) who (hos) did (pheidomai) not (ou) spare (pheidomai·ho) his (idios) own Son (hyios,) but (alla) delivered (paradidōmi) him (autos) up (paradidōmi) for (hyper) us (hēmeis) all (pas,) how (pōs) will he (charizomai) not (ouchi) also (kai,) along with (syn) him (autos,) graciously give (charizomai) us (hēmeis ·ho) all (pas) things? 33 Who (tis) will bring a charge (enkaleō) against (kata) God’s (theos) elect (eklektos?) It is God (theos) who (ho) justifies (dikaioō).
And if there is any doubt, look at Paul’s delineation of “these things.” The things that he (and we) are responding to are:
1) The glorious freedom of the children of God
2) Our adoption into the family of God as His children
3) The Holy Spirit helping us in our weaknesses and interceding for us, knowing God’s will for us
4) God using all things together for our good, so that we are conformed to the image of our Creator
5) Finally our predestination, calling, justification and ultimate glorification
Therefore Paul says there is now no condemnation.
“All things work together for good,” says Paul. Paul does not say that only some things work together for good, but all things. He includes those events which, on the surface, appear and feel terrible – the death of a loved one, the abandonment and betrayal of a spouse, the loss of employment, the straying of the heart, the end of good health. None of these happenings are welcome. No one seeks them.
God is the ultimate weaver, taking the broken painful bits of our lives and weaving these in with the less broken, even joyful bits to make a beautiful tapestry. Through all things, He perfects us.
We who belong to Christ are “led by God’s Spirit.” (Romans 8: 14) As His sons, “[we] do not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but [we] receive the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ ” (Romans 8: 15) Because God calls us “according to His purpose,” we know that He foreknows us, predestines us, conforms us to His image, justifies us, and glorifies us. (Romans 8: 28 – 30)
Since God does all these things for us, what have we to fear? asks Paul. Nothing. We have nothing to fear for God is on our side. “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus sets [us] free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8: 1 – 2)
We are free. Jesus says that He is the truth, and that as the truth, He sets us free.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness,” writes James “to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion.” James further writes that the full effect of steadfastness is perfection, so that we are “lacking in nothing.” (James 1: 4)
God is “like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap. He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He purifies the sons of Levi and refines them like gold and silver, and they bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.” (Malachi 3: 2 – 3)
Trials are common to humankind; not one of us escapes them. The son of David writes,”Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, both to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and to him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all the is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all.” (Ecclesiastes 9: 1 – 3)
Very few are able to count trials as joy. But Christians “know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom [God] foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8: 28 – 29) If we are to be “conformed to the image of [God’s] Son,” then we must be refined. The process of refinement is often painful as the dross of our daily lives is burnt off, melted away through adversity. Adversity makes as stronger, if we submit to it and learn from it. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other.” (Ecclesiastes 7: 14)
The manner in which we respond to the days of adversity is key — if we trust that God is at work in us for His good pleasure, to perfect us; then we are able to count those times of suffering as joy.