The Eternal Purpose of God
Where is God at work in your life? Are you going through some
deep hurt, pain or suffering? Could God perhaps be doing a special work through your
One of the greatest promises in the Bible is found in Romans 8:28,
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who
have been called according to His purposes (New International Version).
The New American Standard Bible reads: "And we
know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who
love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
There have been many times in my life when I have paused and stood
back in amazement and reflected on how God works in all things of our good and His glory.
The New Testament scholar, F. F. Bruce observes, Grammatically
all things may be either subject or object of the verb works
together; it is more probably the object. The subject will then be
he. The subject is God. Therefore the translation preferred, And
we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to
those who are called according to His purpose (NASB). Goodspeed translates, We
know that in everything God works with those who love Him . . . RSV, We know
that in everything God works for good with those who love Him . . .
We know by the knowledge of faith in Gods Word.
In the context Paul has been addressing giving assurance to
Christians who are enduring persecution and sufferings that are not worthy to be
compared with glory that is to be revealed to us (v. 18). Why? God is at work in all
these circumstances causing them to work together for the good of those who love Him.
Everything will work together for our good to achieve His purpose.
Everything or all things refers to all our
sufferings and trials, persecutions, calamities to which we are exposed. Paul has in mind
the sufferings of believers.
Paul does not say this promise is true for everyone. He clarifies it
by saying God does it for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It
is true only of those who love Him. What is that purpose God has in mind? His goal is that
we be conformed to the likeness of His Son. This is not a promise that all
things work together for all people everywhere. It is for believers in Jesus Christ
alone. Only those who love God realize that all things work together for their good.
The good is not health, wealth and happiness. The
good thing God is after is Christ-likeness. He works in all things to present
us complete in Christ Jesus. When we keep this goal in mind we can see how God works in
our sickness, suffering, persecution, grief, etc to achieve His purpose in our lives.
There are a lot of bad things, evil that we encounter. It is by
nature evil, but God brings good out of the evil. I have watched God use the murder of
missionaries, the persecution of believers, death of a child, etc. to accomplish His goals
in peoples lives, including my own. The good and perfect goal is to
conform us to the character of Christ.
A friend of mine often says, Keep your heart tender toward
God. What is my attitude toward God? What is my attitude toward my circumstances? Do
I color God by the circumstances, or do I see Him at work for my good through
The apostle Paul tells us that all things that have happened to us or
can possibly happen to us are ordered and controlled by the LORD God so that His eternal
purpose will be accomplished in and through us to His glory. Even the worst things that we
can imagine are used by God to conform us to the likeness of Christ.
No, I may not feel like that is happening in my life when I am
suffering. But Paul does not say we are to feel good. He says,
but we know that God is at work in these things.
Most of the time we dont see it all working out for our good
until it is all over and perhaps years later we see it all coming together so that others
are impacted with the gospel. Sometimes the working together is for the good of other
people. Often, people we are not even aware of others who are watching others their lives.
The reason this promise is so precious is that there is nothing that
can come into our lives that can defeat Gods purposesnothing. That is what
Romans eight is all about. The chapter comes to a grand climax reinforcing this great
truth. Shall anything come into our lives that shall separate us from the love of God?
Nothing (vv. 31-39).
Mere things do not work together for our good, but God works
all things to accomplish His eternal purposes. God is sovereign and He is at work in
our lives. In the sovereign hands of God they are made to work toward that goal. Even
things that are inherently evil in themselves, when taken in concert with everything else
that occurs, are made to accomplish His goal. Not one detail works ultimately for
evil to the people of God; in the end only good will be their lot.
C. H. Dodd says, There is no situation however desperate, in
which a man can find himself where he cannot find God, and have His aid and
In the sovereign love and wisdom of God all things are
made to converge and contribute to Gods eternal purpose.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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