This Is the Way... All Things Work Together for Good!

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This Is the Way... All Things Work Together for Good!

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Perhaps one of the most quotable phrases among people of faith is the encouragement found in Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×
. The apostle Paul wrote, “All things work together for good…” If ever there was a reassuring, bumper-sticker type of scripture to place on our hearts and minds—this is it!

But, just like the bumper stickers placed on our cars, time and the elements can wear away the words we want stuck on our hearts.

We contemplate some of the challenging times that lie before us in an increasingly godless society. We see how external spiritual or temporal forces can peel away our faith and tear our spiritual enthusiasm to shreds. In the face of these negative forces, we had better think again and grasp the substance behind this phrase, “All things work together for good.” As many have noted, “It doesn’t mean all things are good by themselves, but ultimately they work for the good.” If you understand that, the bumper sticker holds on a little longer.
At times, bumper stickers won’t do!

But the Scriptures indicate specific events that are going to alter the spiritual landscape of God’s “elect.” At that time, paper-thin faith with trite bumper-sticker religiosity won’t do!

Jesus clearly warned us of times ahead by stating, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22 Matthew 24:21-22 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
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).

The books of Daniel, Jeremiah and Revelation, along with Christ’s Olivet Prophecy recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, bring the future to us by depicting a clash of civilizations between God’s Kingdom (Daniel 2:44 Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
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) and the realm of Babylon (Revelation 17:5 Revelation 17:5And on her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
American King James Version×
).

For some of the saints, the clash with Babylon in its various manifestations has come and gone. Let’s realize the book of Revelation was initially written to real people by a real God who proclaims that “all things work together for good.” Consider the impact of Jesus Christ’s message on the brethren in first-century Smyrna. “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10 Revelation 2:10Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be you faithful to death, and I will give you a crown of life.
American King James Version×
).

Needing to move beyond the moment

Most likely the words of the book of Romans had been read in Smyrna and throughout the seven churches of Asia Minor. Could Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×
have helped them to move beyond their moment of suffering by recognizing “all things work together for good,” and thus a witness for God? What will allow people in the future to “not love their lives to the death” by overcoming Satan, the dragon, “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11 Revelation 12:11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.
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)? Is a part of that testimony the fullness of the gospel message surrounding Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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that they have internalized?

You might be saying, “Just you wait a minute! I’ve got enough challenges right now with my family, this rotten economy, my house payment, the boss who targets me every day; and now you want to squeeze me in between past and future martyrs!”

Yes, that’s exactly what I want to do! I am reminded of Jeremiah’s straightforward challenge: “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5 Jeremiah 12:5If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the swelling of Jordan?
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).

Jeremiah is saying, Get ready! We are now in training for something bigger yet to occur. You are not responsible for the rise and fall of empires or the coming of the False Prophet or the wholesale moral decline of the modern-day descendants of Israel. But you are responsible to God for how you incorporate the powerful depth of the gospel that has been personally revealed to us.
Let’s learn a vital lesson

Let’s go back and learn a vital lesson about how to read the Bible by carefully examining Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×
in the context of the entirety of God-breathed revelation. So often we make the presumptuous error of just grabbing one scripture out of its contextual framework and running with it. This is equally troublesome, whether we are handling prophecy or God’s promises.

You see, friends, Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×
is much more than a goody-two-shoes bumper sticker for the righteous. The fullness of Scripture clearly indicates that bad things do happen to good people—even people of faith. It also plainly declares that if Christ suffered, so shall we. The difference for a Christian is that suffering serves an eternal purpose far beyond any initial human awareness.

Let’s come to understand that Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×
is but the gateway verse to the good news of why God could never abandon us! Too often, this verse is framed in isolation, rather than allowing it to open the door to explain the fullness of God’s purpose toward humanity.

Let’s look at the whole verse for a moment. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×
). It is here that the phrase “His purpose” is given substance; it is the spiritual glue to keep Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×
tightly sealed in our minds and hearts.

The substance that supports a promise

Verse 29 begins by revealing two dynamic aspects of the gospel message. It says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

The first foundational undergirding of why “all things work together for good” is that God “foreknew” what He had in store for all those He created “in His image” (Genesis 1:26-27 Genesis 1:26-27 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
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). God did not discover His purpose along the way, but plainly states His intentions toward us from the beginning. He saw the overriding grand purpose of His creative acts before He started. In one sense, you might say, “He saw us before we were.”

His unwavering purpose has always been to transform the human race from the dirt of Eden to the incredible fullness of His spiritual image by “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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). Isaiah 46:9-10 Isaiah 46:9-10 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
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grants us the dimensions of this divine “foreknowledge” by stating: “Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’”

“All things work together for good,” because there is a purpose being worked out here below, and you are a part of it! God planned your existence. You are not an accident of evolution headed for destruction, but a child of God with a destiny.

The second foundational undergirding of why “all things work together for good” is that God “predestined” you to be “conformed to the image of His Son” right now! You might say, “This is my moment.” When Adam and Eve rejected God’s sovereignty in their lives, a plan of return went into motion. Revelation 13:8 Revelation 13:8And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
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speaks of “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Predestination is not about being spiritually cemented into salvation or damnation ahead of time by an unmovable God. It’s about the incredible opportunity of being selected now by a loving Heavenly Father to embrace the reality of God’s greatest gift to us, His Son.

Not everyone has been granted that opportunity yet. God in His love and wisdom has given you that blessing now. Ephesians 1:11-12 Ephesians 1:11-12 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
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explains: “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”

Our purposeful selection by God now is directly linked to trusting in Christ. We trust in the same Christ who said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46 Luke 23:46And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
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). What enabled and empowered Him to do this even as He was nailed to a piece of wood? Simply put, He understood Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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.
I chose you!

The third, fourth and fifth foundational underpinnings of why “all things work together for good” are displayed in Romans 8:30 Romans 8:30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
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. It simply says, “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

Let’s remember during those times when we get challenged on the journey of life or as we twist and turn through the fulfillment of prophecy, that God called us. He started the process; we didn’t. Yes, we were sought out and desired. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Jesus indicates we were divinely selected when He proclaimed, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (John 15:16 John 15:16You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
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).

What kind of fruit? Spiritual fruit such as realizing “all things work together for good” even when our personal life or the world is seemingly crumbling around us. And because we are justified and made right before God through Christ’s sacrifice and resurrected presence at the right hand of God, we can come before our Heavenly Father. As we are confronted with issues, both personal and global in scale, we can place them into the hands that sculpt eternity.

The last undergirding spoken of in Romans 8:30 Romans 8:30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
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is glorification. This refers to a literal existence that is no longer earthbound, caught in the web of time and space. It is a transformed life that lives by more than a bouncy-sounding scriptural bumper sticker that can be peeled off by the first thing that goes wrong. Such spiritual radiance is able to say, no matter what the current dilemma, “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Matthew 6:13 Matthew 6:13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For your is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
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).

Let it be!

How often does God quiet the fears and trepidations of His loved ones, whether it be in the persecuted first-century Church, the Body of Christ right now or for future saints during the Great Tribulation, by simply reminding us, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10 Psalms 46:10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
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)?

As we move through present challenges and future prophetic occurrences, let’s realize that Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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is more than a trite phrase to appease human disappointment. It is in a great sense the essence of “the word of their testimony,” the testimony of the saints of God down through the ages. It is the spiritual fuel that allows us to not only run with the footmen, but also keep up with the horses as personal trials and prophetic events stampede around us.

Perhaps it is in a few words of Mary, the mother of Christ, that the echo of “this is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21 Isaiah 30:21And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
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) is best understood in relationship to “all things work together for good.” As she was confronted with the fulfillment of prophecy in her life, she uttered, “Let it be” (Luke 1:38 Luke 1:38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.
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). WNP