What Does "All Things Work Together for Good" Mean? - Part 4

DOCTRINE & DAILY LIFE

To summarize, in Romans 8:28-30 Paul reveals that God sovereignly ordains every human experience to make the Christian more like His Son. God chooses, calls, adopts, and sanctifies all of His children. Furthermore, He treats the chosen as perfectly righteous and one day will bring them into a state of perfect glory.

Currently, I am living in a small college town in Georgia. It holds little in common with the diverse and booming metropolis of Paul's Rome. Daily life in Carrollton, Georgia is a far cry from the pagan, overcrowded, bustling, and hostile Roman experience. However, there is one significant similarity between the two areas, both are filled with broken and suffering citizens who are desperate for an assurance of hope. Tribulation is part of the human existence. In Romans 8:28-30, Paul's provides all believers and myself the hope to endure hardships. In the face of increasing suffering, Paul offers a treatment on God's electing love. God's past faithfulness transforms the believer's present experience. Often times I divorce theology from daily life. Functionally, I treat election, justification, and glorification as terms to study but irrelevant to daily life. When rightly applied, Romans 8:28-30 enables the believer to not simply endure suffering but actually embrace it with joy. In his commentary, Martin Lloyd-Jones asks, "Do you know that as a Christian all things are working together for good for you? Do you know that God is over-ruling everything in the whole cosmos for your good? You cannot know it and be depressed at the same time; for such knowledge and depression are mutually exclusive." The doctrine of divine election reminds me that God has orchestrated my entire life even before the universe existed. I can trust that every experience I face will make me more like Him.

Unfortunately, many believers often treat Paul's assurance of glory as a license to sin. When view properly, the "golden chain" should heighten the desire for holiness and not diminish it. Martin Lloyd-Jones comments:

The proof of a right approach to these doctrines is that you find in them the greatest urge to holiness and sanctification. If your belief of these doctrines has not driven you to holiness you are in a dangerous condition... You are misusing them to say, ‘Well, it is all right with me, it matters not therefore what I do. I am saved...' No one can truly see these doctrines without being humbled.

As I studied these verses, my heart was filled with wonder, awe, and gratitude as I pondered what occurred so that I could be "saved." I am chosen, justified, adopted, and will be glorified. As I meditate on these eternal truths, I want to live as a righteous heir who brings glory to my Father and King. I often approach the theology of salvation like I would a painting hanging on a museum wall. I hurriedly walk by it, admire the overall picture, and give it little more than a passing glance. This passage forces me to examine the intricacies and details of God's saving masterpiece. Paul brings the reader up close to examine the complexities, details, texture, and brush strokes of the divine painter. Salvation is a work of art. It is a total transformation initiated and continued by an affectionate Father. Romans 8:28-30 is both a comfort to believers and a high call to holiness. These verses ground the believer's hope in the timeless truth that "for those who love God all things work together for good."
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