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All Things Work Together for Good

Topics:   sovereignty    hope    good    god    faith   

Posted by Brad Quiring on July 31, 2017

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.

This passage is often used to encourage another believer who’s going through a tough time — reminding them that it will eventually work out for something good in their life. In other words, don’t worry about getting fired — God has something better in store for you … all things work out for good, remember?

We need to get the whole picture for this very commonly used (and misused) verse. It is true that God does work all things for good. But we have to define “all things”, “good” and who does what for whom.

Let’s begin by reading Romans 8:18-28

All creation is suffering and has been subjected to frustration (futility, vanity, difficulty) by God himself. We read about this in Genesis 3:1-19.

From this account we discover that because of our sin, all creation has been placed under a curse by God. But this curse will be ended by God, as Paul says in Romans 3:20 to 23, “20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”

This brings us to a key truth to understanding and using Romans 3:28 correctly: God is sovereign over EVERYTHING. The curse was established by God and the rescue, the redemption, from the curse is also through God’s wisdom, power and plan.

What is our response? FAITH. Romans 8:24-25 “24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at ll. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” This hope comes from our faith in a real God who has real power and plans. We wait patiently and expectantly for God’s plan to be completely fulfilled in our lives and in all of creation.

Our hope is fully established by God himself. He is active right now and works in and through us toward His goal for us: Romans 8:26-27, “26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

Prayer is the action we do. But, it says here that we don’t know how we “ought” to pray. It’s true. We really don’t know what we truly need. Through this very situation, God comes through for us again! The Holy Spirit is God and he intercedes for us, represents us before God. He speaks to God through “wordless groans”, words that we cannot even begin to understand because it is God speaking with God in God’s language. And a quick survey of the Bible shows how powerful God’s word is. Of course, the Holy Spirit’s words are always in line with God’s plan and purpose, which is perfect, wise and truly good for us. Just remember, God’s perfect plan for good may not seem pleasant for us at the time: The Bible is clear on that: Hebrews 12:4-12. Check out this blog entry as well.

With all this in mind we arrive at the keystone verse: 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.

WE KNOW = We have firm, solid knowledge and faith, our hope which is based on the real, living and powerful God.

IN ALL THINGS = Everything mentioned above, the good and the bad.

GOD WORKS = This is God working according to his sovereignty, plan, power, wisdom and love.

FOR THE GOOD = Complete perfection according to God’s design.

There are two major issues in this passage to deal with to keep it in context:

First, the passage deals with those who love him. o It’s not for everyone, but specifically for believers.

Second, the “good” that’s described in context is our ultimate conformity to Christ, not our comfort. The good here leads us to sanctification and our ultimate glorification and not the turnaround of our circumstances from bad to good. Things might get better on this side of Heaven after the job loss, cancer diagnosis, financial failure or relationship breakup. On the other hand, they might not and we may not experience full relief while we still live on this earth. In the end, we have redemption to hope for — and that’s the ultimate good.