Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” As believers, God gives us a wonderful, hope-filled promise that He will cause all things to work for our good. Notice that things don’t work for our good by themselves or just as a matter of chance. It is a privilege and benefit of knowing Christ that God works on our behalf to cause all things that come into our lives to work for our good.
Romans 8:29 continues by saying, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
We can trust God that He is working all things in our lives for our sanctification. The Holy Spirit never rests when it comes to making us more like Christ, for such is God’s will (1 Thessalonians 4:3). No matter what happens in our lives, God will cause things to work for our spiritual benefit. That is not to say that He does not work things also for our temporal benefit in terms of finances, health, etc., for we could all likely testify to a great many instances of God’s provision and protection. God looks out for His children’s welfare, both spiritually and practically, only allowing purposeful things into our lives which He will work for our good. But this verse is not a guarantee of perfect health, wealth, and prosperity of all kinds. The Bible explains that trials will be a part of this life (John 16:33), so we should not expect everything to be smooth and easy. However, we can expect that God will use all things for our good. Even when things might not be pleasant circumstantially, God will be working for our sanctification, which is always a good thing.
God knows that the deepest longings and desires of our hearts are met in knowing Him and in enjoying Him forever. Thus, His purpose is to orchestrate all things in our lives so that we come to know Him better, to love Him more, and to reflect Jesus more accurately. As this becomes more of a reality in our lives, we will look forward to eternity more because we will be increasingly conformed to what we will be when Jesus returns when God finishes His work in our lives and glorifies us to be forever with Him in heaven. God knows that being like Jesus is the best thing that could happen to us and the thing that is required for us to experience the greatest joy and happiness. Thus, in His great love, He takes all things, even disappointments, attacks of the devil, and our own failures as means that can be used for our good as He uses them to make us like Christ. Because of God’s sovereign hand in the lives of His children, mockery and insult are ultimately for our gain. What others do that is an offense to us is ultimately for our profit. The evil which befalls us is actually transformed by God into a blessing. It is not that the righteous don’t suffer or have travail in this life, but the promise is that God will use those things to bless us as He makes us more like Christ.
It is important to note that those who do not love God do not have the hope and promise that God is working behind the scenes to orchestrate all things for their good. They don’t even know God, for they have rejected the truth. They are left to fend for themselves and to try to maximize their pleasure in this world. They have no inheritance and no hope of eternal life with God in heaven. Thus, it makes no sense to tell an unbeliever that things will work out or get better. They may or they may not. Quoting Romans 8:28 to them wouldn’t matter because it doesn’t apply to them. This is the hopelessness and horror of life without God. We as believers, on the other hand, can have great hope and rest knowing that God is always working things for our benefit. Sometimes we might think we should take a certain job, move to a certain place, or get to know a certain person only to see God close a door as a means of protecting us or leading us to something much better. The unsaved person has no such backstop to their own short-sightedness and humanness. Christians have the benefit of a God Who knows everything and sees across time to be able to access every available resource in the universe to help us in the present. No one can thwart Him or interfere with His plans and purposes. Even our own infallibilities and failures can be used for our good. It doesn’t even seem possible that through our failures God can make improvements and cause things to result in good, but that is exactly what He does. This is a potent, potent truth filled with hope for the child of God! Next time we are blindsided by disappointment or difficulty, let us immediately recall this verse to mind. When we are wronged, let us remember that even this will work out for our good. What a God we serve that even that which we encounter that is not good He can make work for our good. Satan must be really discouraged by this verse, but we should find it highly encouraging.
Romans 8.31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.