Let’s read this precious verse: “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” (NKJV). This verse has brought comfort to millions of believers as they have faced deep trials in their lives. In the verses preceding this we are told that during such trials “we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” We may indeed feel overwhelmed when we lose a loved one, suffer with a debilitating and life-threatening disease, or some other heart-breaking trial, but during the trial the indwelling Holy Spirit takes up our cause and prays for us. This alone brings comfort to the believer, KNOWING that the Spirit of God groans with us and presents our needs before the Throne of Grace. But God also wants us to KNOW that “all things” (including every trial we experience in life) “work together for good.” We may not realize this at the time we are facing disappointments, tragedies, and sorrow, but God’s Word says it and we should believe it.

Notice, this promise is only for “those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Who are “those who love God?” To answer this let’s read 1st John 4:9-10, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, NOT THAT WE LOVED GOD, but that HE LOVED US and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Love originates with God. We do NOT love God until we first see that He loved us, and He manifested that love by sending His Son into the world to die for our sins. The moment we believe this, we can apply verses 14-16 to ourselves: “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God, And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” When we take our place as a sinner and “believe the love that God has for us” (by sending His Son to be our Savior), we then “abide in love.” This means we have the capacity to love God, which John highlights in verse 19, “We love Him because He first loved us.”

Our verse in Romans goes on to say, “to those who are the called according to His purpose.” There are two truths to lay hold of here: 1) We have been CALLED by God; and 2) God has a special PURPOSE in calling us. There is a call that goes out to all men in the gospel, but only those who believe the gospel are in view here. We may refer to this as God’s “effectual call” where He works in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and the Word and draws them to His Son. Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” The truth is, no one will come to Christ unless God the Father draws them with His effectual call. In John 5:40 Jesus declared, “But you are not willing to come to Me, that you may have life.” Men, in their natural state, refuse to come to Christ by believing the gospel. So, God, in His marvelous grace, calls some to Christ through the power of His Word.

His effectual call is “according to His purpose.” What is His purpose? We have the answer in verse 29, “For whom He foreknew, He also PREDESTINED TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON.” This, dear fellow-believer, is God’s grand purpose for us! He has purposed us for the highest blessing of all, to be “conformed to the image of His Son.” 1st John 3:3 says, “We know that when He is revealed, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is.” This means we will be morally perfect, but it also includes the thought that we will have glorified bodies just like Christ. We read in Philippians 3:21 that at Christ’s coming He “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.” Until that that takes place, we are even now being “conformed to His image” as we see in 2nd Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being TRANSFORMED INTO THE SAME IMAGE from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” We are being conformed into His image by beholding Him through the scriptures as the Holy Spirit reveals Him to us. But God is also using the trials in our life to conform us to the image of His Son. If we believe this, Romans 8:28 takes on a new meaning to us, for we can rest assured that every trial God allows to come into our lives is designed for that specific purpose, to make us more like His Son. This is GOOD indeed! (275.1) (DO)