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“We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
This is not a blanket promise made to all men. God never promises to do all men good. His providence is not engaged for the eternal welfare of all men. But he does promise to do some men good, and nothing but good. His providence is engaged for the eternal welfare of some men. To them the promise is sure. If you fit the character of the ones described in this promise, you may claim the promise with absolute confidence. Let’s examine the promise, word by word and phrase by phrase, as it stands in the eighth chapter of Romans.
“We” who are born-again by God’s almighty grace, redeemed by Christ, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and live by faith in the hope of eternal glory, “we know.” Being taught by God the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts and gives us understanding in Holy Scripture, we have an intuitive and confident knowledge of God’s good providence. — “We know that all things,” both good and bad, prosperous and adverse, pleasant and painful, “work together.” The many things that exist and the many things that happen in our lives are not independent and isolated. They are gears in the machinery of divine providence, all working together. Being under divine control and ordered by divine arrangement, all the affairs, events, creatures, and men in the universe are manipulated by our heavenly Father, so that “all things work together for good.” Though any event of life, singled out and standing alone, may seem terribly evil, when it is viewed as one spoke in the great wheel of divine providence, we see that it is truly good. It may be a physical evil; but it is working for spiritual good. It may be a temporal evil; but it shall surely bring eternal good.
To whom is this great promise made? “To them that love God.” If there is in my heart a genuine love for God as he is revealed in Holy Scripture, he created that love, because he loves me. — “We love him, because he first loved us.” If I love him, it is evidence that he loves me and will do me good, nothing but good. — “To them who are the called” — Those who love God are those who have been singled out from eternity as the objects of his grace and separated unto him by the irresistible, effectual call of the Holy Ghost which gives life to dead sinners, creating in us faith and love toward God. If you are one of the called ones, this promise is to you.
The promise is sure, because it is “according to his purpose.” If you would understand the Bible and understand anything about the events of this world, you must be made to realize that all things in this world and all things in your life come to pass “according to his purpose.” “We know,” according to the purpose of his revelation, “All things work together,” according to his purpose of predestination. “All things work together for good,” because God in eternity purposed to do us good, and he rules the universe “according to his purpose.” We love God according to the purpose of his love toward us. And we have been called to life eternal in Christ according to the purpose of his grace.