Romans 8:28 ESV
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
I want to say first of all that all of God’s promises have conditions and stipulations which tell us who the promise is for and what is required of us for that promise to be fulfilled in our lives. And this verse is a prime example of what I just stated. So, on that understanding, if we are going to claim a promise for ourselves, we need to look at who the promise is for (in context) and what is required of us in order for the promise to us to be fulfilled.
So, I am going to be looking at two specific words and at one phrase, and then to look biblically at what these words mean, using the interlinear on biblehub.com to get word definitions, and also to look at other Scriptures which say the same thing. So the first thing we read in the verse is that we know that for those who love God all things… So, who this promise is for is for all those who love God. So let’s look at this word “Love.”
Love: (literally loving, which is active and current) – centered in moral preference, to prefer what God prefers, for God is LOVE – preferring to live through Christ, embracing God’s will, choosing his choices, and actively obeying them through his power; and preferring what is holy, righteous, godly, morally pure, upright, honest, trustworthy, and faithful, etc.
Also, to love God/Jesus Christ is to obey him, i.e. it is to keep his commandments under the New Covenant:
[Luke 9:23-26; Matthew 7:21-23; John 14:15-24; John 15:10; John 10:27-30; Romans 2:6-8; Romans 6:16; 1 Corinthians 10:1-22; Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 5:9; 1 Peter 1:1-2; Hebrews 3:1-19; Hebrews 4:1-13; James 1:21-25; 1 John 2:3-6,15-17; 1 John 3:4-10,24; 1 John 5:2-3; 2 John 1:6]
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good
Good – intrinsically good, good in nature, good whether it be seen to be so or not; as to the believer, describes what originates from God and is empowered by him in our lives, through God-given faith.
So, “good” isn’t necessarily what we deem as “good” or what feels good to us as humans, but it is what is for our good, what is best for us according to God, and according to the Scriptures. So what is for our good may involve pain and suffering, because suffering produces perseverance and godly character and it teaches us to rely on God and not on ourselves, and it humbles us, and it helps to mold us into the likeness of Jesus Christ:
Hebrews 12:10b-11 says that God “disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Called according to his purpose
We are called to be saints, which means we are called to be holy, and to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ, if we are. We are not called for impurity, but in holiness. We are called out of darkness (sin) into his wonderful light (righteousness, holiness, godliness, purity, Jesus Christ). We are called to his own glory and excellence. And we are predestined to be conformed to the image (likeness) of Jesus Christ.
[Psalms 139:13-16; Romans 1:6-7; Romans 8:28-29; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:8-9; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3]
So, we can only claim Romans 8:28 as a promise for us if we love and obey our Lord, and if we are living holy and godly lives, in his power and strength, and only if we have been called according to His purpose, and his purpose for us is that we live holy and godly and pure lives in obedience to him, separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness (in character) of Jesus Christ as our Lord (Owner-Master). And “good” is determined by God, according to his purpose for our lives.
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Dwelling In Beulah Land
By Miles C Austin (1911)
Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling;
Then I know the sins of earth beset on every hand;
Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling;
None of these shall move me from Beulah Land.
Far below the storm of doubt upon the world is beating,
Sons of men in battle long the enemy withstand;
Safe am I within the castle of God’s word retreating,
Nothing there can reach me, ’tis Beulah Land.
Let the stormy breezes blow, their cry cannot alarm me;
I am safely sheltered here, protected by God’s hand;
Here the sun is always shining, nothing there can harm me;
I am safe forever in Beulah Land.
Viewing here the works of God, I sink in contemplation;
Hearing now His blessed voice, I see the way He planned;
Dwelling in the Spirit, here I learn of full salvation,
Gladly I will tarry in Beulah Land.
I’m living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky,
I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry;
Oh, yes! I’m feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply,
For I am dwelling in Beulah Land.
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