Romans 8:28-30 - For the Good
This is the most comforting verse of the most comforting chapter of the most comforting book!
Read / Listen
Read Romans 8:28-30
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 26
Q. What do you believe when you say,
“I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth”?
A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who out of nothing created heaven and earth
and everything in them,
who still upholds and rules them
by his eternal counsel and providence,
is my God and Father because of Christ his Son.
I trust him so much that I do not doubt
he will provide
whatever I need
for body and soul,
and he will turn to my good
whatever adversity he sends me
in this sad world.
He is able to do this because he is almighty God;
he desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.
I've always told my students when they don't know where else to turn in life, to turn to Romans 8. The book of Romans is a summary of the entire Bible, and chapter 8 summarizes the book of Romans. It's by far the most important chapter of the Bible, in part because of promises it makes like what we read today.
You need to be careful with this passage, however, because this one gets misused and abused quite often.
First of all, don't be too quick to pull this passage out immediately after a sudden loss in order to attempt to demonstrate the tragedy was actually a good thing. For example, a young family who's just lost their father would benefit far more from any number of other passages reminding them of God's tender, faithful love then from an explanation that somehow their loss is a blessing in disguise.
Second, notice the qualifiers in v28: This promise is only for those who are called by God and who love Him. And remember what is good according to God's purpose may not seem good at all to you, either now or ever.
The word 'promise' is insufficient to describe what God says to you in this passage. 'Promise' is often used to describe a fulfillment that may or may not actually happen; promises get broken all the time, even when the promise giver has the best of intentions.
Instead, think of this passage as a guarantee. You can be certain that God will turn to your good whatever adversity He sends you in this sad world (we don't have time to dig into that, but chew on that reality today!) because of what He's already accomplished through our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ!
Verses 29 & 30 are often referred to as the unbreakable 'golden chain' of our salvation: God foreknew, predestined, called, justified and glorified you! Those are all past tense verbs - things that have already taken place that guarantee your future is good.
This passage is an awesome reminder of your only comfort, that you belong body and soul, in life and in death, to your faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
The best way to prepare yourself for this passage to comfort you when adversity comes in the future is to be convinced right now that these words apply to you.
The evidence that you've been called according to God's purpose is that your life is increasingly being conformed to the image of His Son. The more you immerse yourself in God's Word by gathering with God's people on the Lord's Day, and reading His Word and responding in prayer throughout the week, the more confident you will be that God is working out all things for your good.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father in heaven, the one who works out all things for good;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will more and more be conformed to the image of Jesus.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Acts 28