Last week we began to unpack the idea that our Heavenly Father knows best how to answer our prayers in Romans 8. We saw that He gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us in our prayer life and comes alongside us to discern the will of God. This week I would like us to consider that our Heavenly Father knows best about our circumstances. This is clearly taught in the book of Romans where we read, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, those who are called according to his purpose”, (Rom. 8:28 NKJV). This is a rather stunning promise that Paul makes about how our Heavenly Father knows best how to use our circumstances for our good and for His glory.
There are a number of things that I would like to point out in regard to this amazing promise. First of all, it is a sure promise as we see as Paul states, “we know” with an air of certainty. This term very much expresses the knowledge of faith, because we know the faithfulness of God in whom we trust, we can have peace with regards to things present and the things that will come. With the knowledge that God is working all things together for good, we can have confidence in His love and mercy even when we go through the valley of difficult trials. It is also an active promise because Paul states that God is working all things together for good. It is our God who works everything together for good in the Christian life, even our calamities and disappointments. Even our failures are part of God’s gracious purpose to make us more and more Christlike. As He exercises His providence, He can somehow move to overcome the prevalent evil in our fallen world. This past week we saw once again the prevailing attitude of evil in our world in the murder of 19 innocent children and two teachers. How is it possible that God in His providence can allow such a tragedy, in order that He can bring about good out of that? I can’t answer that question, but I can say that I believe that the families who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can find comfort in the knowledge of their child being now in the loving arms of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good, even when the short-term pain is overwhelming. God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill His purposes in our lives.
Thirdly, we see that this promise is also a great promise. The Scripture says He “works all things” together for good. Does that “all things” include even our sins and our failures? I believe when we repent and confess our sins that God can even work those things out for our good. Failures are humbling and make us more aware of our need for Jesus Christ. I’ve been in pastoral ministry for over 35 years now and I know one of the constant temptations is to try to do things in our own strength. God allows painful events to happen in our lives to show us our need to constantly rely on the Lord Jesus Christ. In the kingdom of grace, everything is constantly on the move for the believers' good. There is no experience possible in humanity that should be regarded as beyond the permission and power of God or that God is incapable of using that situation to promote our truest good.
The fourth factor about this promise is that it is a harmonious promise. The word “together” is the Greek root from which we get our English word “synergy”. Synergy occurs when different components work together to create something entirely different from themselves. Mixing these elements or ingredients together in an experiment can produce a greater effect than and often something completely different than the sum of the two elements. Table salt is a perfect example of this synergy, as it consists of sodium and chlorine. None of us want to have chlorine or sodium put on our food, but when you mix these two ingredients together it becomes salt, which is wonderful addition to so many foods. God works together in all the events of our lives to create synergy and bring something entirely different out of the various components that He’s worked into our lives.
The final thought that I share from this promise is that it is a precious promise. God is working all things together “for good”. Afflictions and trials in our lives can prepare ordinary Christians for extraordinary service. God’s goodness works for the good of His children. Paul doesn’t say that all things are good, but that all things work together for good and sometimes we won’t even see this goodness in this lifetime. One of the great biblical illustrations of God working all things together for good is found in the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. Remember Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers and then removed from his position of influence in Potiphar’s household after Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of attempting to rape her. After all these things that Joseph experienced you would think he would be bitter and angry toward his brothers. That was certainly what they thought when they came to seek his forgiveness. But remember Joseph’s comments to his brothers in Genesis 50 where we read Joseph’s words, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid,” (Gen.50:19-21a, NKJV). Joseph saw God’s hand in all the things that had happened to him, and he believed that it was God, and God alone who could bring about great results even out of the bad actions of others, even when he had been sinned against and taken advantage of.
So, we see these five components of this amazing promise that God has given to us in Romans 8. Our Heavenly Father knows best about our circumstances, and He is moving and working to bring about our good and His glory. Our only proper response is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul. He is the one who has revealed Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is worthy of all our praise, adoration and thanksgiving. Won’t you join me this coming weekend in lifting up the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and representing Him as you go about your daily business, realizing that God is involved in every part of our lives to bring about His plan and His will for us.
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo