28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Ro 8:28) ESV
There are a few things about this verse that are pretty obvious, but I’m convinced (at least in my life) are often overlooked or quickly forgotten. Let’s look at the text and state the obvious before we look at the intensity (I say intensity because there are some maxims here that should make 2 Cor 5 have a whole new meaning in light of all things becoming new).
• And we know- οἶδα (oida)in the Greek carries with it a lot more range than γνῶσις (gnosis-acquaintance, esoteric knowledge or understanding). Oida can range from knowing-having an understanding to knowing-how to, understanding, remembering, and honor. The significance of this verb though is found in its tense. It is written in the perfect. The significance of this in the English is missed as it is merely translated in the past tense. In the Greek however if the author wanted to represent something as having happened in the past he could have used an imperfect, an aorist or a perfect. Since He chose a perfect He means there is an ongoing action from this knowledge in the present.
• All things- πᾶς (pas), πᾶσα (pasa), πᾶν (pan) all, any, total, whole, every kind of. Let’s just say this is an all inclusive term.
• For Good- for who’s good (we’re all familiar with good as opposed to bad)? The Author has already established for who’s good. It is for (This is where it gets good!)
For those that are called according to His purpose and…
Predicated on the fact For those who love God!
So…do you love God, are you called according to His purpose, then you KNOW (with an ongoing effect) that everything (all inclusive, whether you view as good or bad) works for your GOOD! God’s Sovereignty over everything (He is either totally Sovereign or He’s not) is always working for your good whether we realize it or not. I mentioned 2 Cor 5 as all things having become new. My intention for this is to play “fill in the blank”. For those who love God and are called according to His purpose He uses everything (here’s where we fill in the blank), sickness, loss of loved ones, blindness, wealth, lack thereof, cancer, discipline, estrangement, trials, difficulty, relationships, ALL THINGS for our good. So to put into action the fill in the blank gamer; “For those who love God and are called according to His purpose He uses SICKNESS for our Good because we see our need for Him more clearly and we run to Him as our refuge (study the book of Psalms) and we trust His use of sickness will draw us closer to Him in our relationship with Him. For those who love God…He uses loss of loved ones to see how temporal our lives are in light of eternity and if they were saved we take comfort in His eternal plan and if they were not saved it spurs us on to keep the main thing the main thing (see Matt 28, The Great Commision). For those who love God… he uses blindness to cause you to trust Him even more when you’re prone to trust yourself because you know your abilities will leave you woefully inadequate as opposed to Prov 3:5-6 trusting in the Lord (I got a lot more for this but we don’t have the space as this one is very personal). For those who love God…He uses wealth to show you when it’s gone just how untrustworthy it was. The Puritans said for every 1000 people there may be only 1 who can have wealth and be close to God because it causes us to so trust in it rather than God (ask yourself the question because we are in the top 99% wealthy in the world…are you trusting God or your money. Will that trust be the same if it’s gone?). For those who love God…He uses being poor as a yardstick to realize God is all you need. That’s why He has chosen the poor to be rich in faith…are you rich in faith if you’re poor?). For those who love God..He uses cancer again like all of the previous difficult trials to reveal how much we need Him and to show that our hope is eternal not temporal. All the difficulties cancer can bring and my family has had plenty of cancer the only people I see finish well are looking to eternity and not to their current pain. For those who love God…He uses discipline to align us with His Purposes as we see trials with pure joy as He reveals that Faith that He has given us (Rom 12:3, see also James 1:2 and 1Pet 1:6). For those who love God…He uses estrangement, trials, difficulty, relationships He uses all of this for our good to show us how much we really need Him.
So this begs the question “For those who love God” do you believe that? Our lives and our responses will reveal this in due time. The wise man (as Jeremiah explained) will boast about his intimacy with a Gracious and Merciful God who exercises kindness and justice and righteousness and the Psalmist will add “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.”
…now I think we’re getting somewhere! (see Hebrews 11)