Romans Chapter 8
God Works All Things Together for Good
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. Romans Chapter 8 Verse 28
This verse in Romans Chapter 8 is often quoted for encouragement in times of struggle, those times when we are barely keeping our heads above water and we fear we may drown in the torrent. However, it is usually quoted without the second part of the verse, “who have been called according to his purpose.” I do not consider using it in that form for the purpose of encouragement to be wrong. It is so often spoken and blesses those who try to make sense of the senseless, trying to hold on when all else is shaking.
But the wonderful thing about the Word of God, as a living document, is that it can mean many things to many people and have many applications within a single verse. Therefore, Romans Chapter 8 Verse 28 is useful without part b and useful in a different way with it. All things work together for our good. Joseph in Egypt is the best illustration of this. Joseph himself said to his brothers when faced with their remorse, whether genuine or self-preserving, that they meant the things they did to him to be for his destruction and punishment (even though what they sought to punish him for was simply God’s revelation of Joseph’s destiny and his boldness to share it), yet God used it for good to save, not only Egypt and the surrounding nations, but His chosen people, the Israelites, as well.
Romans Chapter 8 Verse 28b gives an added dimension to this verse. Sometimes we are treated unfairly and sometimes we suffer physical maladies. Part b suggests that sometimes we are afflicted in accordance with God’s will and plan for us. Suffering brings about many changes in us, some good and some bad. Back in Romans Chapter 5 Verse 3, Paul encourages us, not only to endure trials, but to rejoice in them because it bears spiritual fruit in us.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (NIV)
Similar to Romans Chapter 8 we have been called by God for a purpose, as Romans Chapter 3 Verse 28 tells us. In accordance with this plan, we have been given some gifts by God to accomplish what He desires but other things, necessary to the fulfillment therein, must come through experience, and sometimes that experience will be painful. Part b of Romans Chapter 3 Verse 28 sheds light on the fact that sometimes our suffering is to bring about in us tools to equip us to fulfill God’s plan for us – all things (including suffering) work together to equip us, we who have been called according to His purpose, to do the work that God has planned.
We do not suffer in vain, but instead let us accept the things that God allows as part of His plan and to gather strength from the knowledge that He is working something in us for the equipping of the saints (that is you and me).
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