Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
ALL THINGS - This means everything that happens to us.
Some people want to limit that to suffering or to pain. Verse 18 talks about suffering. But it's not limited in this context. Let’s just define it a little more.
First of all, good things work for our good. We all know that, but what about the other times?
A. Suffering works for our good
· Suffering teaches us to hate sin.
· Suffering also teaches us to see the evil that is in us.
· Suffering also tends to drive out sin
· Suffering also draws us closer to God, Jas 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
· Suffering is good because it confirms our sonship. Hebrews 12:7 says, "All the sons of God he scourges as any loving father would do to discipline and to perfect.
· Suffering is good also because it makes us long for heaven
B. Temptation works for our good.
· Because it sends us to our knees to pray. It drives us to God. It destroys our spiritual pride. It shows us where we're weak and vulnerable. Part of Peter's usefulness was that he lost the struggle so many times God could use him in his weakness.
· It enables us to help others in the same struggle
· Struggling causes us to lean on the strength of Christ. It causes us to learn the word of God so that we can defend ourselves. Struggling makes us desire heaven
C. Sin is bad, but it works for our good because God overrules its power and its effect
· Sins teach us humility, they teach us brokenness, self-distrust, they drive us to God, they make us long for heaven just like our sufferings do, they let God display his wonderful grace and they cause us therefore, to praise him.
What are we saying, good things like God's nature and God's promises, and the word of God and prayer, and angels and other saints, that all works for our good. And bad things like suffering and temptation and sin work for our good by teaching us to hate sin, to see our fallenness, to be broken before God, to desire him, to desire to conform to Christ, they cause us to pray, to be humbled, to be thankful, to praise God, to long for heaven, all of those things.
When you say God causes all things to work together for good, please don't limit that to this life. That would be to misunderstand this. The good here is ultimate glory. That's where the passage takes you.
Joseph – “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:19–20).
David – God stopped him from becoming another Saul
Job - at the end of the story, when God restored his wealth and gave him a new family. God was developing Job’s character and confounding the supposed wisdom of Satan, who had said that God’s people serve him only because he makes them prosperous.
Peter - Peter was restored, he would be stronger for his fall and able to strengthen his brethren.
1Pe 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM
Paul identifies us as those that love God. Nothing is more revealing of being a Christian than that you love God. The people who love God are the people who enjoy the promise that God is causing everything to work together for their eternal good.