Romans 8:28 is one of the most memorized and quoted verses in the New Testament: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This Scripture brings comfort, direction, and hope to Christians every day. Sadly, it’s also one of the most misquoted and misunderstood verses in the Bible. Therefore, I’d like to share three things about this popular verse you may never have noticed.
First, Romans 8:28 includes Loving God and Being Called to His Purpose
To understand the truth of this scripture quote, we can’t just quote the part of the verse we like: “And we know that in all things God works for the good…” and skip the rest, “of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 is a promise for believers. Real believers. Those who are living for Christ. Not those who claim to believe in God but are living like the devil.
This verse says to those who love God and are doing their best to obey his commands, “Even though bad/sad/evil/wicked things will touch your life, I (God) will use them to ultimately bring about good, both in your life and in the world.”
Joni Eareckson Tada, an inspirational speaker, author, and singer, is a quadriplegic who has been confined to a wheelchair for more than 40 years. When people ask her why God allows suffering, she often says, “God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” And what does God love? For people to enter into a relationship with himself and become more like him. Joni’s life and ministry are a stunning testimony of how God can use a tragedy like a paralyzing diving accident to impact the lives of millions.
Second, Romans 8:28 doesn’t mean all things will be good.
No matter how rose-colored our glasses are, there’s nothing good about cancer, sex trafficking, or death. Until Jesus returns and conquers Satan once and for all, sin will continue to drag its poisonous tentacles across our world, damaging and destroying everything in its wake.
The truth of Romans 8:28 reminds us that although sin and Satan are powerful, God is more powerful; He is able to redeem and restore anything for our good and his glory. All things may not be good, but God can and will use all things for good.
Third, the Importance of the Verse following Romans 8:28
“For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29).
A wise Bible teacher once told me, “God allows everything into our lives for one of two purposes—either to bring us into a relationship with himself or, if we already know him, to make us more like His Son.”
We find perhaps the greatest comfort of Romans 8:28 in the first three words, “And we know.” Adrian Rogers, in the Billy Graham training seminar, “Rising Above Your Circumstances,” said, “This is not conjecture, this is not happenstance, this is not perhaps, this is not maybe; this is ironclad certainty. ‘We know that all things work together for good.’”
As long as we live in this world, people will attempt to reconcile God’s sovereignty with humanity’s suffering. Verses like Romans 8:28 assure us that no suffering is wasted, and God is always at work for our good and his glory. When we cannot comprehend why trials come and struggle to imagine that anything good can come from them, we can rest in the security that God is in control.
Because of this, we can have hope.
Prayer to Trust in God & the Promise of Romans 8:28
Father, sometimes I can’t understand how you can bring beauty from the ashes of my life. I struggle to trust you with the broken pieces. You say in your Word that without faith it is impossible to please you, and I want to please you. I want to trust you. I want you to make me more like Jesus and use my trials for my good and your glory. Help me believe the promise of Romans 8:28. In the strong name of Jesus, I ask. Amen.