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.(Romans 8:28)
Though we are Sons of God and heirs of a new heaven and a new earth, our time has not yet come.We await the time when our inheritance will be realized, when our true Son ship will be manifested. We are groaning with creation, for a new creation and for the final release from sin and corruption.
But the present is not merely an interim time of waiting, nor is it a painful but meaningless gauntlet that we must pass through on our way to glorification. Here we are promised that God , by His wisdom and power will make everything we go through,in “the sufferings of this present time” to work together for our good.
* We know…I may not know what to pray for as I ought, and though I am a Son now, I don’t know yet what I will be, but there is one thing we do know for sure…
* All things… This includes everything he has been talking about so far; all of the suffering of identification with Jesus, rejection by the world, resistance to sin and evil, mortification of our yet unsaved body, the groaning for a better city, the intercession in inarticulate speech, the Spirit of God, sin, temptation struggle, in short everything God allows you to encounter in this pilgrimage is included in this promise.
* Work together…They work together because God makes them to work together. God is interested in us to the point where he makes every detail of our life to serve a purpose. He is described in Ephesians as the One who “works all things after the counsel of His will”.
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.(Ephesians 1:11-12)
Paul , in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 tells us that our afflictions in this life will be made to “work for” us, as long as we keep an eternal perspective, and not faint.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.(2 cor 4:17-18)
A woman once went into labor, not even knowing she was pregnant. The spasms of pain terrified and disoriented her . But once she came to realize that she was in fact giving birth, the pains became more bearable. Each contraction brought the baby that much closer.
To an unbeliever the sufferings of this life are just pain to be endured, hoping it passes soon and good times return. The tragedy is that things only get worse afterwards for those who know not God. For them, this life is the only good they will ever know.
To the believer every pain and grief is a contraction, for the suffering does a beneficial work, and brings us closer to the goal. There is a world of difference between the two. For the believer , this life is as bad as it will ever get.
* For Good…But this is good as God defines it. Joseph , after the death of his father Jacob, was approached in fear and trembling, by his brothers, who had sold him into bondage. “You meant it for evil”, he assured them, “but God meant it for good”. God brought good out of the evil done to Joseph.
Joseph would not have been qualified to have run the economy of Egypt as Pharoah’s vice regent, had he not been put into place to run his Father’s sheep operation, Potiphar’s household, and spent years as a trustee quartermaster in prison. God used it for good!
So it is with the life of the Christian, he can be comforted to know that every trial, difficulty, humiliation, failure as well as success, will be used by a loving heavenly Father to work ultimate good for eternity! What a promise!
*To those who Love God…Not for everybody, but for those who love God.We Love God, “because He first loved us”, and we have come to “know and believe the love God has to us”.
Loving God means a response to the gospel that is believing, grateful, and is accompanied by the joyful desire to know, please and worship Him. In this case it also includes the joyful acceptance of trials and difficulties as being of and for God’s glory. We that love Him Know that all things work together for the good…
* To them who are the called…We will talk more about this in the next portion, but suffice it to say that those who have “heard the voice of the Son of God” are the same as “the called”.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.(John 5;25)
Why did the conviction hit me when I was in my late teens, that I was a sinner under wrath? Why was I troubled to the point where I read the New Testament, seeking relief? How is it that I couldn’t be content just shrugging off these feelings?
I have concluded that it is because I am among “the called”. He called me to come out from among the dead- like Lazarus. I wasn’t seeking Him, He sought me and called me, and I have never been the same sense.
* According to His purpose…Here is the definition of “the good”, it is that which is in accord with His purpose, that “all things work together for”. God has an ultimate purpose, His council will stand and He will make everything work towards that end.
The Purpose? It is two part- a) That we might be conformed to the Image of the Son of God, and b) that Jesus might be glorified as the “firstborn” of a new Creation of men, bearing his image and likeness. Hallelujah!