The greatest promise in the Bible
by John Crotts, Faith Bible Church
It is so amazing that God would communicate with rebellious creatures at all.
Yet, he does so much more. He loves us; he made a way for our sins to be forgiven through the cross of Christ, and he even gives us wonderful promises in the Bible. I think the best one is Romans 8:28, although in some ways it works like a tapestry – both messy and beautiful.
Have you ever looked at the back of a tapestry? It seems to be clashing colors tied together in bizarre combinations, without rhyme or reason. It’s hard to imagine something that looks so disorganized on one side, can appear so orderly and beautiful on the other. Christians often suffer painfully seemingly without any reason at all, yet an all-powerful God is at work turning their trials into a tapestry.
Romans 8:28 has given comfort to God’s people for nearly 2,000 years. It says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Several observations highlight the splendor of God’s promise.
First, notice the comprehensive nature of the promise. The verse assures us that ALL things in a believers’ life are working together for good. That means every good thing that happens works for good. The birth of a new baby, a pay raise, the new job and the vacation to Florida are all part of God’s good master plan for his children.
But this verse also teaches that bad things, even horrible tragedies, are at work as well. Paul did not say that all things are good, but he did insist that all things are working for ultimate good. So when tornadoes slash through the neighborhood, a career ending injury occurs or when it rains the entire week in Florida, God is still sovereignly behind the scenes working out his plan for those who love him.
Another observation about this promise is that the ultimate end is good. The next verse unfolds the meaning of the good outcome. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
God is working to use good, bad and even ugly events and circumstances to shape people into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians we often experience our most profound times of growth during times of difficulty. This verse explains that God himself allowed the difficult trial on purpose and for a purpose. Do you mean God doesn’t always want me to be healthy and happy with a full tummy?
It has been well said that God is more concerned with your holiness than your happiness. Trials are one of his favorite ways to get you there (see James 1:2-6).
Some suggest that God would never bring suffering into a person’s life, especially a Christian’s. This promise asserts that the opposite is true. God is sovereignly at work even in the times of most profound suffering. Far from draining our hope, realizing this truth gives us comfort and joy since our God is at work in the midst of the tragedy, and is using it to produce Christ’s character within us. Trials go from unexplainable and meaningless to purposeful even though we do not understand all that God is doing at the time.
The third observation is the identity of the objects of this grand promise. The verse assures those who love God and are called according to his purpose that they are the ones to whom God will orchestrate this good outcome. These phrases describes Christians. Christians are the ones who love God. Being called according to God’s purpose refers to the effectual call by which God calls sinners to faith in Christ.
Verse 30 says, “and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” In this context, all of the called ones are justified and glorified, therefore this calling is internal and effective, as opposed to the general call of everyone to salvation. If you are a Christian, you are qualified to partake of this wonderful promise.
While life sometimes seems out of control, chaotic, and harsh, remember that you are just looking at the back of the tapestry. God is sovereignly at work on the other side. His plan is good. In spite of the ugly looking knots of trial and tragedy, God is working them into a beautiful pattern of Christlikeness in every one of his children.
Are you one of his children? Have you ever repented of your sins, and given your life to Christ by faith? If so, this promise is for you. If you are trusting Christ for your salvation, are you living like you believe Romans 8:28-30? Do you complain about your difficulties? Are you bitter about your life? Are you depressed about your situation at work?
Our verse reveals the right response for all of these woes. Live like you believe the promise of Almighty God!