God is working all things, that is all events, circumstances, happenings, and experiences, together for good for those who love Him, those who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). We do not enjoy passing through periods of trouble, stress, and worry, and there are circumstances in which, due to our limited understanding, we might not be able to immediately understand how events are working together for our good.
Although a believer may not be able to understand how events are being worked together for his good, he knows they are because his loving, sovereign God and Father has caused this truth to be recorded in His written Word (Rom 8:28).
God is sovereign. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and infinitely wise. He is eternal and never changes (Mal 3:6). Being eternal, there was a time before God had created anything, when there was nothing in existence but God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit dwelling together in love, unity, and glory (John 17:5). We learn a certain amount by experience. God, however, has never learned anything, for He always, that is eternally, knows all things. Before anything had been created, God knew all that would happen and each individual who would be born. Believers sometimes say, “He knows the end from the beginning.”
It is the gracious will of God that believers should be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29). This is the purpose behind all that God does and it is the purpose behind all that He allows and causes believers to experience in their lives. We know that God is all-wise, all-powerful, and gracious. He loves us and has purposes for us, not only in this life, but also in eternity. His purposes are founded in love and grace and “we know” that God is working all things together for our eternal good and His glory.
Such is the infinite knowledge and power of God that He knew us before the world was created (2 Tim 1:9). We were “chosen…in Him” before the creation of the world (Eph 1:4). Believers were predestined by God, in accordance with His sovereign will and gracious purposes, to become His adopted children through the Lord Jesus (Eph 1:5, 11). God foreknew us and predestined us to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ that He, the only begotten, eternal, and beloved Son of God, might be the Firstborn, that is the first, supreme and preeminent in rank and honor among the saved (Rom 8:29). God’s purposes are being worked out continuously, inevitably and without the possibility of any of those purposes being frustrated. He is working “all things,” and using even tragic events to accomplish His gracious purposes. He can make even the wrath of men to praise Him (Psalm 76:10). God controls not only major events, for He “ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will” (Dan 4:25), but He also controls, for the fulfillment of His blessed purposes, what are considered to be small events and details in the life of a believer. He is always working all things together for the real and eternal good and blessing of each individual believer.
To them that love God
God loved us even when we were dead in trespasses and sins and were enemies of God (Eph 2:1,4,5; Rom. 5:8,10). Now, by the grace of God and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, we “love Him” because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Believers are “the called according to His purpose.” We did not seek after Him until His grace worked in our hearts. The Holy Spirit awoke us, made us conscious of our need of a Savior, and led us by grace to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Having predestined us, He graciously called us (Rom 8:30), and the work of grace continues both in this life and in eternity (Eph 2:7). Having called us, He justified us (Rom 5:1,9), and will glorify us. God, being omnipotent and omniscient, can speak of that which is yet future as if it were already in the past. Accordingly we read, “them He also glorified” (Rom 8:30).
Knowing and believing that the omnipotent, all-wise God, Who is love, is working all things together for the good of each believer glorifies God and enables those of us who are believers to enjoy a peace which is independent of outside circumstances and “which passeth all understanding” (Phil 4:7). Added to this is the assurance of eternal security, which is implicit in the answer to the question, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Believers can also enjoy the peace and comfort to be derived from knowing that God did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all (v 32); that no one can bring a charge against God’s elect (v 33), and that the Lord intercedes for us (v 34).
The truths embodied in Romans 8:28 are a source of blessing and great comfort and encouragement to a believer who is passing through difficult times. Our loving God and Father is in constant and complete control of every aspect of the life of each and every believer. Nothing happens by chance. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (v 35), and every believer is eternally secure (John 10:28, 29). The purpose of God is that believers should be blessed and glorified, and His purpose will be achieved. Nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v 39). Living in the light of these truths helps us to appreciate more fully that God uses what we regard as difficulties for our blessing. We can rest and trust in Him, knowing that “all things work together for good.”