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. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
New International Version
It Happened For a Reason
“It happened for a reason,” we like to say. “For a good reason,” we mean. This sentiment might console us when hardship strikes, but does it stick? It rests on a vague idea that something or someone orchestrates life for good.
What we find in Romans 8:28 echoes our popular sentiment, but it’s more precise:
“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” (NIV).
God’s end goal—his purpose—for those “who love him” will only make sense to us if we look at his work from the very beginning.
In the first verse of Romans 8, we hear about the beginning of God’s work in the lives of those who love him. God’s Spirit breaks sin’s power in the lives of those who understand they have rebelled against God and trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of their sins.
This wonderful freedom from the presence of sin does not start after death. For all who believe in Jesus, God starts undoing the presence and power of sin in their lives now. Here’s how.
Romans 8 lists some scary things—things we must be real about. Our world is riddled and soaked in pain—famine, nakedness, and danger, the looming future, and impending death (v.35). Such things are the Lord’s tools, his furnace, his pressing hand to mold those who love him out of their unshapeliness caused by sin, to rid them of the dross fed to them by the world, and to conform their nature to the likeness of God himself.
We must not forget, in this more severe work, what sweet work God has already accomplished by his wonderful Spirit.
God plans to make each one of his children like his Son, Jesus. And God’s children are those who put their trust in Jesus Christ. For “to all who did receive him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13 NIV).
God’s purpose to make his people like Jesus is going to take time and, sad to say, trials. But, God works through everything in the lives of his children to complete his work of transforming them into the image of Jesus.
God is totally sovereign over all of life, from the tiny to the traumatic. He works for good, for “there is no wickedness in him” (Psalm 92:15 NIV). He is a good God whose actions are altogether righteous, even when we don’t understand his ways.
Do you want “it happened for a reason” to change from a meaningless sentiment to a secure reality in your life? Do you want a new character, to be transformed out of your failures, fears, and darkest faults, and to know God as your Father?
Continue reading the material on this page to find out how God works things for his good in your life. Ask God to work in your heart by the Holy Spirit to give you faith in the Lord Jesus and in his promises.
GOD WORKS FOR YOUR GOOD
by Victor at Bibles.net
For those whom he foreknew
he also predestined
to be conformed
to the image of his Son.
ROMANS 8:29 ESV
The True Christian’s Blessedness
by Charles Spurgeon at the Spurgeon Center, 1857
Look at the Book with John Piper and discover how to read the Bible. In this three part series of ten minute videos, pastor John Piper opens the Bible with us and helps us understand Romans 8:28 phrase by phrase.
The Christian’s Happiness
by Tim Keller at Monergism
Psalm 34:8 NIV
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
through him and to him
are all things.
Romans 11:36 ESV
Rhythm & Blues
Do All Things Work Together for Good?
by Adrian Rogers at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Why All Things Work for Good
by Thomas Watson at Monergism
You are good
and you do good
Psalm 119:68 NKJV
The Most Misinterpreted Verse About Faith in the Bible
by Paul David Tripp at his blog
ROMANS 5:3-5 NIV
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
by Al Mohler
Ephesians 1:11-12 ESV
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Rhythm & Blues
For My Good
by Patrick Abendroth
Directly or indirectly,
every providence has a tendency to the spiritual good of those that love God,
breaking them off from sin, bringing them nearer to God, weaning them from the world, fitting them for heaven.
Does God Work All Things Together for Our Good?
by Sarah Walton at Unlocking the Bible
you are sovereign,
the Lord of human pain,
transmuting early sorrows to gold of heavenly gain. All evil over-ruling, as none but Conqueror could,
your love pursues its purpose—
our souls’ eternal good.
Chill & Relaxing
What Does Romans 8:28 Have to Do With Buttermilk Biscuits?
by Jerry Bridges
While growing up in Texas, I enjoyed my mother’s buttermilk biscuits made from “scratch” every morning for breakfast. But there was not a single ingredient in those biscuits that I would have enjoyed by itself. And even after they were mixed together, I would not have cared for the raw biscuit dough. Only after they were mixed together in the right proportions by my mother’s skillful hands and then subjected to the fire of the oven were they ready to be enjoyed for breakfast.
The “things” in Romans 8:28 are like the ingredients of the biscuit dough. By themselves they are not tasteful to us. We shun them. And we certainly shun the heat of the oven. But when God in his infinite skill has blended them all together and cooked them properly in the oven of adversity, we shall one day say, it is good.
All Things for Good for Us
by Steven J. Cole
As for you, you meant evil against me, but
God meant it for good
Genesis 50:20 ESV
Letter to a Suffering Friend, September 28, 1774
by John Newton
1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him.”
that is and is done,
worketh out some great end and purpose.
The great machine of this world is not only in motion,
but there is something weaving in it,
which as yet mortal eye hath not fully seen, which our text hints at when it says,
it is working out for God’s people.
Romans 8:32 ESV
He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
If God Is Good
The big question: how can God be good if there is so much suffering in our lives and evil in the world? Randy Alcorn provides thoughtful biblical answers to this question paired with stories and thought provoking questions to warm our hearts to the wonderous truth of the sovereignty of God.
All Things for Good
Thomas Watson was a pastor in 1663 who wanted his congregation to know the joy of the Christian, even in suffering. Romans 8:28 was the key to understanding this. Simply and practically, Thomas Watson explains in his book what it means that “all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”