A Short Study of Romans 8:28

“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)


This is one of the most often quoted Scriptures and nearly as often misunderstood as quoted. We would not take away any comfort that the believer can derive from a proper understanding of this Scripture, but we would make sure that it is properly understood lest a person expect something that is not promised and thereby be confounded or disappointed when the presumed promise is not fulfilled.

The good for which all things are working together is the salvation of God’s elect. It is true that, in some cases, we can see how unpleasant “things” happen and we can soon see some benefit that arose from them. But that is not what the promise sets forth. Rather, it teaches us that all things happen according to God’s purpose and that His purpose is the salvation of His elect by Jesus Christ. Thus, it cannot be that something will happen contrary to that purpose. Therefore, the believer may confidently say, “In all things – even in this horrible experience – God is working to bring about my eternal salvation.”

But our experience teaches us that, often, difficult providences are visited on us and we cannot see how an “earthly good” can come of it. And perhaps no “earthly good” will come of it. But we can be sure that an eternal, heavenly good will come of it – our salvation!


J.T.

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