Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Romans 8:28

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” (Rom 8:28, NASB).

What a beautiful passage of scripture, capable of filling our hearts with the greatest of joys, and grant us the hope we need to make it through the day. This fact of scripture is anchored to the very character of God. It shows His sovereignty, Wisdom, and the compassion He has for His elect. It proves that our world is not a giant mess of disconnected coincidence, but everything, literally everything, is directed by the hand of God for the good of his children.

There is no force outside of God that is directing all things, for the verse says, “God causes all things to work”. There is no devil in hell strong enough to direct the forces of the world to an opposite end, or a devil wise enough to trick God into making some sort of mistake. God, who’s work is perfect (Deut. 32:4), is the one directing the events of the universe. It is not fate, it is not luck, it is not some unknown force of unlimited power and without consciousness that directs the path of humanity.  Kings, princess, and demons move things where they wish, but they are pawns in the hand of God who will direct even their schemes to His desired end.

The verse continues adding, “together for good”. God is causing all things to work towards good. This is a big difference between this and the idea that all things are good because God is using them. That is an interpretation of the text must be avoided. God never calls sin good. God always condemns the wicked for their wickedness, and promises to exact justice on all evildoers. God does not leave us room to say the evil and vile acts of this world are something good rather the verse specifies that all things will work together for a certain end, that end being good. It does not make the mistake of the communists and say that the end justifies the means. No, our God is much too pure for something such as that. It was sin that placed our Savior unjustly upon the cross as men murdered Him, but it was God who directs even such an event as that to a desired end. It is not good that Nazi Germany killed six million Jews.  It is not good that governments torture His church. It is not good that Satan steals, kills, and destroys. It is not good that child molesters molest, and it is not good that rapists rape. God is not declared as justifying these activities, it is not said that these things are good because God is going to bring them to a good end, but only that they will work together for good.

Indeed, God will bring all things together for good. He will somehow cause all the evil and all the good things together for His desired end. I am not sure of how such a deed will be done or how a task can be accomplished, but I know that my God can. Many things are absolutely horrible and on their own of no value, and many things that are good have no power to overcome the atrocities of sin. Perhaps if everything was separate strands, disconnected from everything else, maybe they could not be used for any good, but God in his wisdom will tie all these separate strands together to produce good.  

The text says that this good is for the benefit of the Christian. There is no other being in creation that can love God, and be called according to his purposes. Because this good is directed from God towards his bride, it ought to bring us great joy. We learn from it that our current troubles, as troubling as they maybe, have a place in the plan of God for our lives. He will take all of our suffering and all of our accomplishments and use them for our good in the end. He will grab hold of the wars of the past and the future, of the storms twelve hundred miles away and direct them for our benefit.

The promise of this verse has not reached is fulfillment. Indeed, God takes hold of everything in our lives and we see him work a great deal of things out for our benefit at a later date, but nonetheless this work of God is not yet finished. Its object is not only the saints that are present, but those that are past and future. The verse applies to all those who love him and are called according to his purpose. It applies to Abraham, You, and our dear elected brothers who we are still waiting to see become a member of the visible church. As all Christians should know our God is the God of the living, and our brothers who have passed from this world to the next still love our God day and night. All the events that have succeeded them are still being brought into the hand of God and worked into the mosaic of God’s desired end that is for our good.

However, that end has not yet come. There is still all of future history which God will also bring together with everything that has preceded it, even the thousands of pieces of gum that are stuck underneath tables ever year (yes this seems ridiculous, but the text says all, and none of the surrounding text specifies that “all” to a smaller group that that which encompasses everything, so even this is included). But the time will come when all things are completed, the iniquity of the world is complete, all the elect have been called to salvation and the reprobate are shown by the hardness of their heart, then everything will be brought together “for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

So rejoice dear brothers and sisters in Christ! All of our hardship and suffering is not some out of control force working against the church of God that may possibly win out and destroy us! No every enemy of ours, including our own flesh is bound by the will of God to eventually be used for our good. Yes it sucks now, but continue on in the hope of that promise. Our God is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, and so he will come quickly. He will not wait a moment longer, nor move a moment sooner than when everything is fulfilled. And when he does, we shall rejoice in heaven in merriment and love before the throne of the highest King!