Friday, September 10, 2010

God Works All Things Together For Good

Today I want to talk about one of the most abused verses of the Bible  It is used to justify life as some kind of a magic carpet ride where no matter what you do, God will somehow work it out.  I have heard Christians actually say that the dangers of living rebellious or in sin are not really applicable because God will work it out.  Here is the Scripture:
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 NKJV
This is truly an amazing promise and one we should always keep first on our minds when going through difficult times.  But as important as it is to remember this promise, it is also important to understand it.  God makes many unconditional promises in His Word, but this is not one of them.  All things work together for good when 2 conditions are met.  Those conditions are "those who love God" and "those who are the called according to His purposes." 

The second condition is easy as "those who are the called according to His purposes" simply means those of us who are Christian.  God does not make the promise to those outside the Lord.  Please do not deceive someone not in the Lord that God will somehow work together things for good when things are going wrong in their lives.  God can intervene, but He is under no obligation to intervene.  Those of us in the Lord have a special relationship with God not shared by the rest of the world and part of that relationship is His protection in our lives.

The first condition is "those who love God."  This is where many go wrong.  We all like to say we love God, but do we truly love God or is it just lip service?  Here is how Jesus describes the fruits of truly loving God:
If you love Me, keep My commandments. John 14:14 NKJV
If you love God, that love is expressed in obedience to Him.  You can not claim you have love for God if that love is not backed up with obeying what Jesus has told us to do.   Love is not just a word, but a life you live as an expression of that love you have for God.  If you love God, you are obedient to God.  If you are obedient to God, you are where you need to be and doing what you need to do in accordance with God's plan for your life.  If you are where you need to be and doing what you are called to do then God promises that no matter what things may seem and no matter what may happen, that God will work it out for good.  If you are not living in obedience to God and off doing what you should not be doing in a place where you should not be, there is no promise of God that He is going to work it out for good.  And this is where the error usually is.  People try to justify ungodly decisions in their lives on the assumption that God will make sure nothing bad really happens.  I have seen parents send their children to situations they should not be in based on the premise that if their decision was bad, God will work it out.  I have seen people get into sin with the argument that if God really did not want it to happen, He would just close the door on the possibility of it happening. 

Now that we have established that this promise is for those who are the elect of God and those elect who are following His Word, we can discuss some things about the promise itself.

This promise involves all things working together.  It is not some things, not most things, and not even just about all things where "all" includes all.  There is nothing that God will not work together for good.  Anything that you face in life, anything that you have to go through, or any problem or tragedy that comes you way, God will work it for good.  And that is the other amazing part of the promise, that God will work it for good.  He is not just going to get you by or work it out or make it somehow bearable, He is going to work it for good! How amazing is that?  How comforting to know that God will take anything bad going on in your life and turn it into something good! 

Romans 8:28 is such an amazing promise, but it is important that we understand it.  God wants us to take comfort in the fact that as we follow His will, things will work out in our lives.  We may not understand our circumstances and a lot of times we do not even understand God's solution, but it is such an amazing comfort to know that God is working it for good.  Don't lose heart in situations you do not understand and trials in life that seem unbearable.  Put faith in this promise of God.  Put faith in the fact that if you are following His will for your life, He will take care of the rest.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

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