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Romans 8:28


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Heavenly Father,


Sometimes (more frequently lately), I sit down to share a prayer at the beginning of the next Romans study and I end up not knowing what to say. I've said it over and over alot the past month or two, and this morning, as I sit here, I realize that there's some times when I just want to be in Your presence and say very little.


For someone who talks alot, I'd be willing to guess that me feeling a little quiet makes You smile lol...


"Be still and know that I am God".


Bless this study today Father...take us to a deeper depth, closer to Your heart.


I love You Father.


In Jesus Name,




28. And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, to them that according to His purpose are called ones.


Watchman Nee comments on several words in the 28th verse:


"all things": "Including all persons, all matters, and all things.


"work together": "God the Father answers when the Spirit intercedes for us, and He arranges our circumstnaces, causing all things to work together for good to us."


"for good": "According to the context, the good here is not related to physical persons, matters, or things. It refers to our gaining more of Christ, to our having Him wrought into our being, that we may be transformed metabolically and may eventually be conformed to His image, the image of the Son of God (v. 29), that is, that we may be brought into the full sonship."


"who love God": "Loving God causes us to care for His desire and to be willing to coordinate with Him. God's working needs our coordination, and our coordinating with God confirms that we are called by God according to His purpose."


"His purpose": "Referring to the purposeful determination in God's plan. This is God's purpose to produce many brothers of His firstborn Son."


The rvbv writes, "And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good - The words we know are used about thirty times as the expression of the common knowledge of the saints of God as such, in the Epistles: (in Romans, 5 times) - indicating always Christian knowledge; also I Corinthians 8:4, I John 5:19, - and John 21:24, are perfect examples. Lodge members, having been "initiated," go about as those that "know." The Christian is travelling to glory along with a blessed company that can say "We know," in an infinitely higher and surer sense. (As for the "modernist," his shallow, ignorant, blatant boast is, "We do not know; we are not sure," thus giving continual open evidence that he does not belong to that company of whom John writes: "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.") And here, what a knowledge! that to them that love God all things work together for good!


Now as to them that love God John tells us in his first Epistle, "We love, because He first loved us"; and, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us"; and, "We know and have believed the love which God hath in our case." Real faith in the God who gave His Son, will, Paul tells the Galatians (5:6), be "working through love." Only those can and do really love God whose hearts have been "sprinkled from an evil conscience" - delivered from fear of God's just judgment. The question therefore, comes right back to this: Have we believed, as guilty lost sinners, on this propitiation by the blood of God's Son on the Cross? Is that our only hope? If so, I John 4:16 becomes true: "We know and have believed the love which God hath in our case," and verse 19 follows: "We love, because He first loved us." We canot work up love for God, but His redeeming love for us, believed in, becomes the eternal cause and spring of our love to God.


Now we find in Romans 8:28 a great marvel: all things work together for good to these believing lovers of God. This involves that billion billion control of God's providence, - of the most infinitesimal things 0 to bring them about for "good" to God's saints. When we reflect on the innumerable "things" about us, - forces seen and unseen of the mineral, vegetable, and animal worlds; of man at enmity with God; of Satan, and his principalities and powers, in deadly array; in the uncertainty and even treachery of those near and dear to us, and even of professed Christians, and of our own selves, - which we cannot trust for a moment; upon our unredeemed bodies; upon our general complete helplessness: - then, to have God say, "All things are working together for your good," - reveals to us a Divine providence that is absolutely limitless! The book of Proverbs sets forth just such a God: for it describes the certain end, good or bad, of the various paths of men on earth - every minute detail ordered of God. So also Ephesians (1:11): "The purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will"; and David: "All things are Thy servants" (Ps. 119:91); as also the whole prophetic Word, - yea, the whole Word of God; for the God of Providence is in all of it!


For good - Dark things, bright things; happy things, sad things; sweet things, bitter things; times of prosperity, times of adveristy. The "great woman," the Shunammite, with her one child lying at home dead, answers Elisha's question, "Is it well with the child?": "It is well." "A soft pillow for a tired heart," Romans 8:28 was called by our beloved Brother R.A. Torrey.


To them that are called according to His purpose - We come now up on the high, celestial mountains of Divine Sovereign election, and find those who love God are further defined as those that are "called" (not "invited" but given a Divine elective calling) according to His Purpose. ("Called" here does not mean invited, - as in Proverbs, for instance. "Unto you, O men, I call"; for this would be an appeal to man's will instead of a description of those who are the objects of God's will, His purpose. "Called," in the sense of Romans 8:28, is illustrated in I Corinthians 1:24: where "Christ crucified" is declared to be a "stumbling block" to Jews (to people who thought was religion) and "foolishness" to Greeks (to those whose life lay in philosophy): but to "the called themselves" (Gr. margin) "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." Here "the called" are seen to be a company whose mark is neither religious response nor intellectual apprehending; but the electing grace of God which has so marked out the sphere of their being, that they are named "the called". They are called according to His (God's) purpose!


Now, that purpose is not merely an expressed Divine desire, but a fixed and vast will, that itself subordinates, necessarily, all things; submerges all opposition; effects its object. God's purpose, in regard to "the called," His "elect," does, indeed, arise out of His desire, as well as being according to His infinite wisdom.


This is shown in:


"Jehovah hath chosen Zion;

He hath desired it for His habitation.

Here will I dwell; for I have desired it" (Ps. 132:13,14)


Also, "Because He [Jehovah] loved thy [israel's] fathers, therefore He chose their seed after them" (Deut. 4:37). Even those "chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world," are said to be "loved in Christ Jesus our Lord." "God is love," and acts according to that nature. Out of His infinite, holy desire arose His purpose. Reverse this order, and you have the god of the fatalist, not of the Bible.)


Meditation upon the purpose of the eternal God greatens every soul thus occupied. Gid is infinite; man, a bit of dust. If God had a purpose, a fixed intention, it will come to pass, for He has limitless resources, - as David says, "All things are Thy servants."


We have been dealing in the first part of the chapter with the human will and its consent to walk by the Spirit. Not so from the 28th verse to the chapter's end. It will be all God from now on! Purpose means an intelligent decision which the will is bent to accomplish. The Greek word, prothesis, is used twelve times in the New Testament. As to man, the word is seen to indicate what he is entirely unable to carry through, as in Acts 27:13: They supposed "that they had obtained their purpose," but the ship was wrecked. In the saints, their purpose is carried on by Divine grace, often with many failures: Acts 11:23, "He exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord." And in II Timothy 3:10, Paul refers Timothy to that "manner of life, purpose, faith," which the apostle had shown at Ephesus, a purpose carried out to final victory in finishing his course. But, as he says, "By the grace of God I am what I am."


In God, however, purpose is absolute, - wholly apart from contingencies. In the very next occurrence after Romans 8:28 we read, "that the purpose of God according to election might stand: - everything subordinated, and the end prediccted. We read also in Ephesians 3:11 of a "purpose of the ages" which God has ordained and will carry through, just as our salvation is referred to as "not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages" (II Tim. 1:9).


Therefore, we beg the reader in examining the great verses 29 and 30, to distinguish the things that differ, utterly refusing to confuse or mix them: 1. First, we shall find many Scriptures in which the consent of man's will is asked, and blessing is contingent upon his consent; and some ("rocky ground" people) will receive the Word "immediately with joy, and for awhile endure," but in time of tribulation or persecution "fall away." 2. Second, we shall find plainly written in Scripture the purpose of God according to which He works effectually; and all His elect are brought safely in, and there is no separating them from His love which was given them in Christ Jesus, in whom they were "chosen before the foundation of the world."


Now do not seek to mix these two things; and still more emphatically we say, do not try to "reconcile" them! Profitless controversy and partisan feeling will be the only result. Who told us to "reconcile" in our little minds, these seemingly contradictory things? Have we ceased to believe where we do not understand?


Every system of theology undertakes to subject the words of God to categories and catalogs of the human intellect. Now, if you undertake to "reconcile" God's sovereign election with His free offer of salvation to all, you must sacrifice one truth or the other. Our poor minds may not "reconcile" them both, but our faith knows them both, and holds both, to be true! And Scripture is addressed to faith, not to reason."



Heavenly Father,


When I opened today's study with my prayer, I started to type something that had been laying on my heart the past few days, but ended up erasing it because I wasn't quite sure how to adequately describe it in the written word. But, after doing today's study, verse 28 in it's own, unique way, confirmed it, so I just wanted to thank You for the tiny little thing that You laid on my heart a few days ago that left me in tears...


I've always wondered why I was so rebellious for so many years...why there would be times in my life when I would try to draw near You and times when I would run as fast as I could away from You. I have been pondering that 'fear' was many times the motivation with that running...fear of being in trouble with You, fear of what You might ask or want from me that I didn't want...many, many reasons I guess.


And then, just a couple of days ago when that thought was crossing my mind, I realized, at least one of the reasons I ran, and that was because I didn't KNOW You then, like I know You now. I didn't have a relationship with You then, like I do now. I believed in You, I believed all You say, I accepted Your Word as Truth, but the one thing that was missing, was the 'relationship'. I began to wonder if I had had the relationship I do now, back then, I don't think I would have been able to run or to shut You out of my life because I love You...I genuinely do. It's a feeling that wells up in my heart that is real, and because I do love You, I don't think I could have hurt You, or dissapointed You, or whatever it would have been, because I wouldn't have been willing to give up how important You are in my life. This relational thing is born out of love Father, and we both know it. You broke me to reach me. And when I was broken and had no hope, no belief, no nothing left, is when You began to do a work that causes me many times to not even recognize myself.


So Father, when I was doing today's study and read what Watchman Nee had written about the 28th verse, "Loving God causes us to care for His desire and to be willing to coordinate with Him. God's working needs our coordination, and our coordinating with God confirms that we are called by God according to His purpose.", it just confirmed what You had been showing me just days before.


Bless all who read this study today Father...may their hearts be filled with Your holy peace and may Your Spirit accomplish the work You desire in their hearts.


In Jesus Name I pray,

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In the rvbv paragraph about All Things Work Together For Good, it's describing all the billion variables that surround the happenings of our lives....the enormity and complexity of it .....which our finite minds cannot even comprehend. .....and then concludes with this wonderful observation:


...then, to have God say, "All things are working together for your good," - reveals to us a Divine providence that is absolutely limitless!




But of course the catch is that it's not some CareBear sort of "Be Happy; Life is Always Going According To Your Purpose". No, it goes according to God's Grande Purpose. I had a really long, hard time with this simple piece of logic. Long ago I was sorely pressed by life's circumstances...to the point that I was completely convinced that God was not taking care of me as I thot He'd promised He would. Breach of Contract, I called it. I only got it untangled when I took out the two words "I thot". What I defined as good; what I defined as keeping His promise....this was of no matter. HE is the one to define that good.




A young couple bought a peach farm and with the great & idealistic hopes of youth, worked very hard. The frost came and destroyed the first year's crop before it ever began. The next year fungus rotted the fruit that had seemed so promising. They persevered and worked harder. A violent wind took down most of their trees in the third year just before they could harvest. In despair they sobbed out to God...."WHAT are you doing? Where is our protection from YOU? We're trying to grow some peaches here!"


And God said to them, "But I am not growing peaches. I am growing two people that I love very much."




So I'm improving in this quest to always let HIM define the goodness HE sends my way; let HIM chose what to protect me from and what to let occur. And when irritating, exhausting MS-impairments of my brain flare up and..... I leave the tomato plants out in overnite temperatures that now drop below 20 degrees... :( Well, instead of remembering all the work I've invested into them and how they are *just* about to set tiny cherry tomatoes..... I remembered the peaches. I remembered also, lest I panic that my garden was nearly a total bomb this year, Matthew 16:9-11. Jesus is trying to make the disciples "get it". "Sheeeeeesh, guys. It's not about the bread. So WHAT if you only brought along one loaf of bread. Didn't I show you that I can multiply bread and fish and....whatever? C'mon Beloved ones. I'm trying to teach you something important! " {loose paraphrase, of course ;) } The bottom line is, so many years later, I am really starting to look at "disasters" and {fairly} calmly say to God: "Ok, so where are we going with this one?"



LOL, however....when I'm in pain and afraid and fighting wind/snow/cold/and an unmanagable tarp in a desperate bid to make emergency shelter for my new donkey in an unseasonable snowstorm..... :busted: Well, *that* overwhelms my calm trust that God is working for my good......until I get to think about it later. Then, like the disciples, I "get it".




((((((Darlene))))))) Such an important distinction for Christians. It's not about Rules&Regs and Facts&Logic nor even about and emotional high. It's about an ongoing RELATIONSHIP.




MtRider [learning...ever learning & growing... ]

Edited by Mt_Rider
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" It's not about the bread. So WHAT if you only brought along one loaf of bread. Didn't I show you that I can multiply bread and fish and....whatever? C'mon Beloved ones. I'm trying to teach you something important! "

The other day I was fretting about circumstances and went outside to clear my head. There on the porch was a piece of bread about the size of a golf ball. Immediately, I was reminded of the folks in the Bible that God provided for. At that moment, I knew I really had no right to fret about things, because He promised "And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, to them that according to His purpose are called ones." , and He doesn't break His promises.

Edited by Annarchy
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Oh the beauty, the depth, the comfort, the truth, the power of Romans 8:28


Since Darlene started this study on Romans I have been waiting for this day when we could take a look at the scripture that I call my own. :)


The Lord does not promise that everything FEELS good, LOOKS good, or ALONE is good. But, that HE will work this things together, combining them into something glorious and beautiful that will be the essence of good in our lives. Praise the Lord!! :pray:

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