by Impact Church
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Few would dare to question that Romans 8:28 is one of the highest summits of Scriptural truth. But, sadly, it is frequently misquoted and misunderstood. Non-pious folks often point to the verse with “It’s all good” nonchalance, while devoted believers sometimes err in the opposite direction by limiting its scope whenever life throws them a curve.
First, let’s look at what the Apostle Paul does NOT declare:
- “Relax. Everything is going to be all right for everyone. The Bible says so.”
- “Don’t worry. When you become a Christian, nothing bad will ever happen to you again.”
- “Well, God can forgive and redeem most of our mess. But if you cross the line, you’re done.”
The incredible promise and declaration of God’s sovereignty in this verse is limited only in its intended audience. Paul’s “we” early in the statement is directly connected to the two “those who” phrases that come later. So the blessed assurance offered by the Apostle is meant only for born-again believers who love God and are called by Him.
To be compassionately clear, the Bible does not say that everything is going to be all right for everyone. Job rightly declared that in a fallen world man’s days are brief and full of trouble (Job 14:1). Yes, Jesus said the sun shines and the rain falls on both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45),…but only God-lovers can rest in His promise that He will redemptively work on our behalf so that life’s circumstances ultimately produce a result that is for our benefit and His eternal glory.
Now, what about children of God who are struggling with their faith because they can’t seem to get past the guilt and condemnation of past sins – or even the immature decisions they’ve made as a carnal Christian? Certainly, there is a natural law of sowing and reaping, but Paul spends the first half of Romans 8 reminding believers that if you are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation because you’ve been adopted into God’s family and hold the high position of His heirs (vv. 1-17)!
Does that mean you will never experience trials, afflictions, heartbreaks and disappointments? No, of course not. The world is still fallen; glory still awaits after the King’s return. But until then, present sufferings pale in comparison to what Christ is doing in us even now and the ultimate glory that is ahead (v. 18).
“Well, I don’t see how God is going to get any glory or I’m going to get any good out of this mess I’m going through.” Take heart, dear Christian. When we face circumstances we don’t understand, it’s important that we remember certain foundational truths that we DO understand. God loves you. He is for you. He is outside of time and sees the end as well as the beginning. He is wiser than you are. He is sovereign. And He is fair and just and good.
As a Master Weaver, the Creator of the universe is taking the seemingly random threads of your life and is carefully and lovingly looming them together to produce a beautiful tapestry in due time! Or maybe you’d prefer to think of the ultimate Maestro orchestrating your life’s cacophony of sounds – both the angelic chords and the clamoring clinkers – into a splendid, soothing-to-the-ear symphony!
The Greek word translated as “work together” is synergeo, from which we get our common corporate word “synergy.” It carries the idea of cooperating and working alongside toward a unified goal. James used the same word to relate how faith and works, apparent opposites in the spiritual realm, can and must work together to please God. In the same way, both the pleasant and the painful events of a believer’s life are all cooperating for our good. Think about that!
There was a story (maybe it was yours) of a Christian who had a plaque made for his office that boasted two simple words: ALL THINGS. Whenever he would succeed in his business and whenever he would fail, he would look at those words to be reminded that God is in control.
No wonder Paul could say “In everything, give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).