“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.” Romans 8:28
Summary: What Paul delivers here is both an assurance and a conviction – whatever happens to us in our lives, God will take it and use it, he will take even those things that were meant for evil and use them for our lasting good. Thus, when we give thanks to God, we are thankful that he does this for us and in us. Every situation, every trial, every blemish, every wrong . . . not some but in all things the Lord works on our behalf to bend it towards are good. This to remember with the pain and sorrow we suffer in life, particularly for those experience sorrow during the holiday season.
Give Thanks that it is not Some Things but All Things that God Works for the Good. It is important to note that this verse is aabout the activity of God. This is important. It is not the situation that’s good; it is that God works good out of the situation.
- What is the difference between saying a situation is good and saying that God will make good out of a situation? Have you ever experienced someone telling you a situation bad situation was good?
- Consider what Joseph says in Genesis 50:20. Also look at Jesus in Gethsemane in Matthew 26:36-39. Were these situations good? Did God work them to the good? Consider also the promises in Jeremiah 29:11.
- How have you seen God work to the good in your life or the life of others?
Give Thanks that You Love the Lord (because some don’t) Some people despise God (consider Romans 1:18-32). Be thankful that you have a love for God because it brings you into relationship with God. One commentator says “Those that love God make the best of all he does, and take all in good part.” Matthew Henry
- What does it mean and what does it look like to love God as Matthew Henry describes?
Give Thanks that God Called You It is important for us to remember that God calls, God draws us to him. We did nothing special but it that he loved us. And he works things out for those whom he called. Consider the different types of calls God has made on our lives as listed below. Discuss which ones are particularly significant for you.
- Romans 11:29: for God’s gift and his call are irrevocable
- 1 Cor 1:9: God who has called you into fellowship with his son Jesus Christ, is faithful
- Gal 2:15: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ
- Eph 4:1: As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received
- 1 Th 2:12: . . .God who calls you into his kingdom and glory
- 2 Ti 1:9: who saved us and called us to a holy life
- 1 Pet 2:9: . . declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness and into the marvelous light
Give Thanks for God’s Purposes As we often discuss in study and from the pulpit, God calls us according to God’s purposes. Give thanks that he has a divine purpose for you and seek that purpose. Remember that Christ, in his death and resurrection, fulfilled God’s purpose and worked toward the good. Henry says, “Every providence tends to the spiritual good of those that love God; in breaking them off from sin, bringing them nearer to God, weaning them from the world, and fitting them for heaven.” Discuss
The word is not always easy but it is always true. We sometimes wrestle with whether it works to the good; that’s okay, but wrestling doesn’t make it less true. Remember these words from some of our songwriters: “the Lord will make a way somehow” . . . “Jesus will work it out!”