Romans 8:28 is a promise we can claim as children of an awesome God! This week, we dive into the certainty and the comprehensiveness of this promise.
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you have joined us as we continue our study of Romans chapter 8, Children of an Awesome God. We are learning many things that God has prepared for us, and we’re claiming promises in this very wonderful chapter.
In fact, today we come to one of the most famous promises in all the Bible. It’s very probable that you know it by memory, Romans 8:28. “And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Couple of comments by way of introduction. First of all, this is a promise. It is not an explanation. What I mean by that is, it doesn’t tell us exactly how God causes all things to work together for good. We have some indication, but we don’t see it with clarity.
Also, it’s not something that you can simply quote in the midst of sorrow as if it’s going to dry people’s tears. Here’s a young something that you can simply quote in the midst of sorrow as if it’s going to dry people’s tears. Here’s a young widow who’s husband has gone to heaven. You don’t say, “Dry your tears, because we know all things work together for good.” Eventually, I’m sure that she will come to that conclusion.
But meanwhile, what we must do is to recognize that this is a promise that can be claimed. Couple of other comments by way of introduction. It’s not a promise for everyone, as we will see next time, actually, that all things do not work together for good for some people. It’s for those who love God, for those who are the called according to His purpose.
In the Bible, there are two different calls. There’s a general call. It’s an invitation to salvation. It’s the “whosoever will may come.” But there’s also a specific call. For example, in 1 Corinthians chapter one, the Apostle Paul says that the Gospel is foolishness to Jews and to Greeks and so forth. But to those who are called—Christ, the wisdom of God, and the power of God, the called have to do with those who have responded to God’s call and believed the Gospel. Now with that introduction, let’s just break this verse down. I want you to see four features of it. I’ll give you two today and then we’ll pick up the other two next time.
First of all, notice the certainty of this promise: “We know.” How do we know? There are two words in Greek for the word “know.” One is to know by experience. It’s not the word that’s used here. We can’t by experience know that all things work together for good, because we simply don’t see it. It is the word “oida,” which has to do with God’s revelation. It’s more connected almost with mathematics. We know it because God said it. And so that’s the way in which we have this promise that we cleave to, even in the midst of sorrow, even in the midst of our suffering, we know ultimately, all things will work together for good to those who love God.
Second; notice the fact that it is comprehensive. We know that all things work together for good to them who love God. Well, of course, we know that the good things in our life work together for good. The blessings of God, the Providence of God, all of these work together for good. But what about the reversals? What about injustice? What about regrets? What about the mistakes that we have made? Can God make those things work together for good? I think the answer is yes.
You say, “Pastor Lutzer, what about sin?” Well, let me be very clear that sin is never good. We never sin—and Paul makes this very clear—we never sin that good may come. But God’s Providence is so great that we can take even our sins, especially if we respond to them correctly in brokenness and humility and repentance, to know that even then, God can take all things and work them together for good. As a matter of fact, next time I’ll tell you the story of a pastor whose son committed suicide, and how the pastor was able to interpret this very famous verse—Romans 8:28.
Thanks so much for joining us, and be sure to join us next time. But as for today, go with God.