“ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD”
We read in Rom. 8:28, “ And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose”. The questions I would like to address in this study are: 1) To what does the term “all things” refer? And the related question; 2) What is the good toward which all things work together
I believe the term “all things” refers to everything in one’s temporal life. Does the term “all things’ include death? I believe it must include death otherwise the term “all things” would not include everything. That is to say, one of the things that happens in one’s temporal life is death. Therefore, death must be included in the term “all things”.
Is death the good toward which all things work together? It is not, because death is often referred to in the Bible as an enemy. An enemy cannot be the good toward which all things work together. I believe that difficulty is addressed as we consider the answer to our related question, i.e. what is the good toward which all things work together?
I believe that a study of the context of Rom. 8:28 will show that the good toward which all things, including death, work together, is the gift of resurrection life at which time the believer will partake in the promises of I Cor. 2:9 which reads, “…..Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have it entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him”. In other words, the good towards which all things work together will not be realized in one’s temporal life, but in resurrection.
Let us begin the study of the context of Rom. 8:28 with a consideration of the phrase, “according to His purpose”. What is the purpose described in this particular passage. The next verses, i.e. verses 29-30 list the things God did in order to accomplish that purpose. God predestinated, He called and He justified. And the last phrase of verse 30 tells us to what end God did those things, “them He also glorified”. Those who have been called will be glorified. They certainly will not be glorified in their temporal life, they will be glorified in resurrection.
My point is that the purpose for which some were called is to be glorified. Therefore, in my opinion, verses 28-30 speak of resurrection life, not temporal life. Some were called to be glorified. There is no glorification for the believer in one’s temporal life, the believer will be glorified in resurrection. But let us continue.
Verse 32 also speaks of God giving us “all things”. Let us consider verses 31-32 in order to determine to what the term “all things” refers in this context. 31) “What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32) He hath spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Let us begin with the phrase, “What shall we say then to these things? The term “these things” refers, of course to the preceding verses which tell us of God’s purpose in calling some, i.e. to be glorified. In other words, Paul is saying that because God has chosen some for the purpose of being glorified, we may rest assured that “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Now let us consider the phrase that tells us that God freely gives us all things. Do all believers have all things in their temporal life? I believe we must conclude that all believers do not have all things in their temporal lives. But this verse says very specifically that God does indeed give us all things. In my opinion, we must conclude that the “all things” in verse 32 refers to the things that will be given believers in resurrection life, including being glorified and also the promises of I Cor. 2:9, quoted above.
Logic leads us to the conclusion that because “all things” of Rom. 8:28 must include death or it would not mean all things, I believe that the good toward which all things work together is in resurrection. In other words, this passage does not teach that everything in one’s life will work out for good in our temporal life. It teaches that the good toward which all things work are the promises that accompany resurrection life.
In my opinion, the context is also about “all things” that will be fulfilled in resurrection life. Therefore, the context as well as logic points to the conclusion that the good toward which all things work together is the good that believers will be blessed with in resurrection.
This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. If you would like to respond please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org