All Things Work to a Specific Good

All Things Work to a Specific Good

What is great about Romans 8:28 is not only that God is sovereign, nor that all things work together for our good, but that the good God has designed for us is far better than any good thing we might imagine for ourselves. Whatever good we can think of, God intends all things to work towards our ultimate good of becoming like Jesus. That good is far good-er than any goodly thing we might think of.

Romans 8:28 is one of those much beloved, oft quoted verses. Everybody likes it. It is the kind of thing people like to stick of mugs and t-shirts. If we’re going to hear about the sovereignty of God – which gets people hot under the collar for some reason – let’s think of it in Romans 8:28 terms. God’s sovereignty ultimately works for my good. That’s a truth we can get behind.

Unfortunately, as with the overwhelming majority of things ripped out of context, the truth of Romans 8:28 is usually massaged to mean whatever the person quoting it wants it to mean. If all things work for my good, then God will only ever do what is good for me. So far, so true. So, goes the reasoning, what is good? Money is good. Health is good. Every wish-dream I can possibly imagine must be good. If all things work together for good, God must surely be gearing up to give me all this stuff.

It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to see how many of things might prove not to be so good. If the history of Israel tells us anything it is that when everything is going pretty well, they do not suddenly start to thank God and believe in him more, but forget him and think all is well. Far more dangerous than difficult circumstances that cause us to press into our reliance on God are good times where we fool ourselves into thinking we have no need for him. Then, of course, there are the various biblical warnings specifically against these things at any rate. The New Testament has lots to say about storing up treasures on earth and seeking after money. These apparently good things are not warned against for nothing.

We all know instinctively anyway that too much of a good thing is a problem. Just think of “good” weather, for example. Good, in the eyes of many in the West, means pleasantly warm and sunny. But again, Israel knew only too well the problems associated with that sort of good weather all the time. What they were usually crying out for was rain.

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