Romans 8:28

Don Fortner

"WE KNOW" This is not a matter of speculation, theological debate, or philosophical theory. We who are born of God, we who know God, we who are taught of God, "we know". We know by the revelation of Holy Scripture, the teaching of the Holy Spirit, the experience of grace and God given faith. "WE KNOW THAT ALL THINGS" - Surely, Paul does not mean all things without exception. Oh, but he does. That is exactly what he means.

All beings, created and uncreated are employed constantly for the good of God's elect. All three Persons in the Holy Trinity, (Father Son, and Holy Spirit), all the angels of God (Good and Bad, The Angels Preserved in Holiness and Those that Fell!), and all men (Righteous and Wicked!), all are working the will of God in providence for the good of his elect. All things, in time and eternity, are sovereign and constantly manipulated by our God and heavenly Father to do us good. We have no difficulty seeing the hand of God in all good things. We know that all good things come from the hand of God. Indeed, James tells us that nothing but good comes from our God (James 1:17). Yet, Paul asserts plainly that all things (both bad and good) are sovereignly ruled and overruled by our God in his adorable, wise and good providence for the good of chosen, redeemed sinners. Be sure you understand the teaching of Holy Scripture in this regard. Our holy God is not the author or cause of sin; but he is the Ruler and Governor of it (Isa. 45:7; Amos 3:6; Psa. 76:10). Sin is not something which took God by surprise. Sin is not some rival to God that is somehow out of his control, or beyond the realm of his power and dominion as God. He who is God rules both when he keeps Abimelech from the evil that is in him and when he sends Shimei out to cuss David (Gen. 20:6; 2 Sam. 16:10).

The sin and fall of our father Adam, original sin, has been overruled for good. Out of Adam's fall came the necessity for a Savior. The fall of the first Adam made way for the coming of the last Adam. Indwelling sin constantly reminds us of our utter dependence upon our God and his grace in Christ (Paul - 2 Car. 12:9). God could just as easily eradicate sin from our nature here as he shall in glory; but while we are here, he deems it best to leave in us the old, adamic nature, that he may ever keep us looking to Christ for grace and righteousness. Our many falls show us the immutable faithfulness of our great God and help to curb our pride ((Psa. 37:24; Mal. 3:6; [Peter] Mark 16:7).

Surely, if even our sins are graciously overruled by our God to do us good, we must see that all the evil things experienced in life as well as the good are also ruled by him in his glorious sovereignty to do us good! All our earthly trials and afflictions, all our sicknesses and pains, all our sorrows and bereavements. Even that by which Satan would destroy us is graciously, wisely, and sovereignly overruled by our God to do us good. We can, therefore, speak to the fiend of hell as Joseph did to his brothers. That which he meant for evil God meant for good; and good it shall accomplish (Gen. 50:20).

Don Fortner, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church
Danville, Ky.


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