We know that Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for the good of believers. But how do we understand this verse when we can’t see how our circumstances could possibly work out for our good? Let’s take a deeper look at this multi-faceted, transformative promise.
Here are all of the ways that you can follow along with 5 Minutes With Pastor Lutzer:
Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you have joined us again, as we continue our study of Romans chapter eight today, specifically verse 28. The title of our series is “Children Of An Awesome God,” and verse 28 is one of the most famous promises in all the Bible: “And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
If you were with us last time when we introduced this verse, you’ll remember that I talked about the certainty of it. We know this by divine revelation. We might not experience it, but we know it to be true. And then secondly, how comprehensive it is. “All things work together for good to them who love God.”
Today we move on; and we also ask the question of, how does this happen? What is the means? The Greek word actually is “sunergeó.” “Sun-” means “with;” and “ergeó” means “work.” It means that God brings things together. He works them together in such a way that they bring about good—perhaps in ways that we certainly don’t understand.
I was born on a farm, and I remember as a boy, I took the back of a clock off. This was a clock that we had in our kitchen, and you remember it was one of those wind-up clocks that some of you will remember. One of the things that intrigued me was these little gears. First of all, there were different sizes, but what surprised me the most is that some of them were going counter-clockwise. Now, if you just look at the back of a clock, you would never guess that it was keeping time. In the very same way, you and I just see a maze of events that make no sense to us at all. But God brings them together. He works them together for good.
Well, another observation that we should ask, and that we should look at, is this. What is the good to which He is working? Well, the Bible says, “According to His purpose.” First of all, if you’re a believer, God is working all things together for your good—but also for God’s good. And if we have the faith to believe it, this promise can encompass everything.
Let me tell you the story of a pastor whose son committed suicide. You and I have no idea how much sorrow a family goes through when an event like this happens. The pastor was out of the pulpit for several weeks, understandably so. And he came back and he was looking at this text, Romans 8:28; and says, “Looking at the text, I see no way that the death of my son can fit into this promise.” But he said, “I would like to give you an illustration of a ship.”
He said, “A ship is composed primarily of steel. If you take those pieces of steel, they will sink in any ocean or in any sea. But,” he says, “a master builder can take those pieces, can rivet them together, fix them together in such a way that they can float. Now,” he says, “when I take my son’s death and throw it into the sea of Romans 8:28, it makes no sense whatever to me.” But if I might quote him more specifically, he says, “My son’s suicide in itself drowns in Romans 8:28. But when the Master ship builder takes all of these pieces, and He is finished, even this—” oh, I admire this man’s faith—“even this will be built together for God’s unsinkable purposes.” It almost takes my breath away.
I want you today, my friend, to take what you’re going through, put it as a dot on a piece of paper; and then around it, draw a circle, and call it “the Providence of God.” But I’m not finished. Jesus said, all things work together for good—for His good and for our good if we are followers of God.
But this is not true of everyone. If you were with us last time, you know that I clarified that. There is a passage in the New Testament that I have often read, and it gives me chills. I’ve pondered it many times. Jesus said, regarding Judas,”It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” All things did not work together for Judas’ good. And if you’re not a believer in Jesus Christ, all things are not working together for your good, either. All things work together for good to them who love God and those who are the called according to His purpose. If you’re in that group today, no matter where you find yourself, you have hope. We have a sovereign God, and we have the promise of Romans 8:28: “All things work together for good to them who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Thanks so much for joining us today. Join us again next time. And as for today, go with God.