“for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”
Paul is in prison while writing this letter and he was just talking about how other preachers and teachers are responding to his imprisonment. He concluded that even though people preach Christ our of selfish motives, God uses it for His glory. I just want to add; that must be so frustrating for the devil! When he finally tempts a preacher to preach falsely, and then God uses all of Satan’s hard work for his own glory. It’s like someone using your momentum against you in a fight. It just makes you angrier.
Anyway, Paul is talking in this verse about God pouring out the Spirit to empower and equip Paul for the sake of his deliverance. That word is what we’ll be mostly focusing on.
We just saw how Paul explained that God uses evil people for His good purpose. Paul continues to elaborate on this idea in reference to his imprisonment. He says that the evil of his imprisonment will turn to his salvation (KJV) through the provision of the Spirit that God gives.
It becomes clear later that Paul is not talking about physical safety, rather he is talking about the advancement of the Gospel. John Calvin, in his commentary on this book, referenced Romans 8:28, another teaching of Paul, so that we can further understand what Paul’s “deliverance” means, if not physical saftey.
Before we discuss romans 8:28 we must notice that his “deliverance” is not salvation i.e becoming a Christian, as he was already saved and adopted into the family of God, being called saint.
So if Paul’s “deliverance” isn’t salvation or physical safety… what is it? Well lets look where Calvin points and examine Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Taking “those who love him” to be the Church, we note that God’s goal in all things he does on the earth is the advancement of His name and His kingdom. If you don’t like the language of Kingdom you can think of it as Family (Eph 1:4-5)
Paul’s deliverance is that through his hardship God’s name is made much of. Now, that statement may sound tyrannical, but you must know how God’s name is made much of:
I wont go too deep into this because I don’t feel like it’s what God has called me to discuss in the scripture. Nevertheless, God’s name is made much of when our hearts are full. A king is glorified when his subjects are joyful. So God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. He seeks glory through our joy. When we find an infinite and eternal joy in Him, rather than the things he created, we make much of his name.
So God’s goal in all things is to make much of His name by fulfilling our hearts (not with His stuff, but with Himself.) Which He does by loving and serving His church. So Paul know, as we’ll see more clearly soon, that the Christian will be hated and beaten, bruised and broken, and probably killed for his love for Jesus. Yet, all things work together for our good. God’s not worried about making your life comfortable or safe. He’s not going to build around a comfortable, prosperous life. Instead, He gives you Himself. God gives us God. How much greater is He than His stuff? God, in eternity, looked upon me foreseeing my faultiness my pride and my sin and said “I want that man in my family. I will pay for him to be in my family with my life.” So he offered himself up as a sacrifice so that I could know Him and be called a saint and a son.
All things work together for the good of God’s people. Paul’s deliverance was not comfort or safety, it was the advancement of God’s purpose. Comfort and safety will let you down, but if you invest your joy in the Lord, well: “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”