We’ve all heard… All Things Work Together for Good. And that makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. But what does this quote from Romans 8:28 mean in our lives today? In this devotional, we’ll read this popular scripture and learn the true meaning behind it.
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.
What does Romans 8:28 mean?
The meaning of this verse seems simple at first glance. But when we break it down, we begin to see the complexity of it.
First, let’s be clear about something… Some things simply are not good. In fact, they’re bad. Things like war, famine, the death of an unsaved person, and many other tragedies. There’s just nothing redeeming about them. Right?
Well, actually there is something redeeming in all of these things… Jesus. He is the Redeemer and because of Him, God promises those of us who believe in Jesus that all things, even bad ones, work together for our good.
And that’s what this Bible verse from Romans 8 is all about.
God takes the good and the bad things in life and uses them for our benefit. We may not see it right away, but God has an uncanny ability to turn a bad situation into something good later on.
Is Romans 8:28 a promise?
Yes, this scripture is a promise from God! As we just learned, this promise is for those of us who believe in Jesus.
That may seem a little heartless at first. But God has a plan for us and there’s only One way for us to get there.
So, let’s walk through it together and discover the meaning of this great God-given promise.
All Things Work Together
When we read Romans 8:28, immediately we think of the good things we want to see in our lives. And we want these good things to work together so that more good stuff will happen for us.
But the phrase “all things work together” actually means “the suffering of this present time”.
Suffering isn’t something any of us want. It’s just human nature to turn the other way and run when we see suffering coming our way.
However, the Bible is clear about the suffering we will face as Christians.
The writer of Romans, the Apostle Paul, knew a great deal about suffering for the cause of Christ. And He wrote about it in this Bible Verse…
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
The promise we receive in knowing all things work together for good is found in this scripture from 2 Timothy 3.
Instead of being a deterrent, suffering and persecution should show us how to live godly lives. Understanding that the persecution we suffer for Christ’s sake grows our faith and allows us to share in His victory. And that in our present suffering the glory of God is revealed through us.
Yes, God can and will use good things to bring about good in our lives. But He can also use the bad stuff too.
So, let’s not gloss over the hardships we face and wish them away simply because they’re difficult. Instead, let’s embrace them and know God is working all things together for our good.
To Those Who Love God, To Those Who are Called
Both of these phrases mean the same thing. And they both mean that this promise is only for those of us who are saved by grace.
If you’re a Christian, then you’ve been called to salvation by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. And you’ve answered that call by accepting the free gift of God’s grace through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.
And it’s presumable if you’re saved, then you love God. Because it’s the love of God in us that causes us to love Him in return. And His love outshines anything we’ve ever imagined!
We love because he first loved us.
Sometimes it’s hard to put into words the depth of our love for God. And even harder still to understand the depth of His love for us.
So, here’s what The Apostle Paul said about the true nature of God’s love…
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.
If you’re saved, then you are called, chosen, and loved by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
There is nothing that will ever change this truth. And nothing that can ever take their love away from you. This is the absolute security we have in our faith.
And if you are in these two categories… called and love God, this promise from Romans 8, and the security we find in Him is for you!
According to His Purpose
God’s purpose is the salvation of His people. Everything He does is in accordance with this purpose in our lives.
Of course, His desire is for everyone to be saved. But God knows there are many who will choose a different path.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Because we have chosen the narrow path, we are called according to God’s purpose. And our purpose in life changes from following the world’s standards of keeping up with the Jones’ to following the Great Commission of Christ found in Matthew 28.
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Once we’re saved, our purpose becomes God’s purpose, the salvation of people.
And the words of our Savior, Jesus give us the call. Go and make disciples.
If we are actively making disciples, God is working through us. And automatically, all things work together for good and according to His purpose. Both in our lives and in the lives of those we share the gospel with.
Examples of All Things Work Together for Good
There are many examples of all things work together for good in the Bible.
The two that come to mind right away are the stories of Joseph and Job. Both are amazing men from the Old Testament who suffered great hardship yet chose to walk closely with God in spite of it.
You probably know their stories, but let’s take a minute to review them again and learn from their examples.
Joseph and His Brothers
Joseph suffered humiliation and ridicule from his brothers. Eventually, they left him to die in a pit.
But that wasn’t the end of Joseph’s story. You see, God put him in that pit, not his brothers. Because God intended to use Joseph’s suffering to bring good into the life of His people.
Joseph was then sold into slavery to Egypt. There he became an advisor to the Pharoah, and quickly rose in the ranks. This position gave him power and prestige and allowed him to sell grain to Israel during a terrible drought.
God gave us this Bible story to show us, sometimes being in a pit isn’t so bad after all. And our present suffering allows God to work all thing together for good.
You can read more about Joseph and his amazing faith in the face of adversity in Genesis 37-45.
Story of Job
Job’s story is a lesson in suffering well.
He began as a rich man who loved God greatly.
But Satan thought he could turn Job against God. So, God allowed Satan to test Job’s faith. It started with Job losing his wealth. Then his family. And then his health.
Instead of the devil having his way, each of these hardships grew Job’s faith and strengthened his resolve to follow the Lord.
Through it all, God was refining Job and turning him into the man He wanted him to be.
And this is exactly how God uses suffering to accomplish His purpose in our lives.
The examples of these two heroes of the faith, show us how God works all things for good in our lives every day.
God is greater than the high and lows
There will always be highs and lows in life. But through each hill and valley, we have an opportunity to grow our faith and to see how God works all things together for our good.
Today, I pray you will know God is greater than the ups and downs you face. And that He is with you through it all.
May you know God is working all things for good in your life today!
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior, I encourage you to read “Accepting Jesus”. It will answer many of your questions about what it means to be saved and how to accept Jesus.