March 17 (Reading for March 14-20: Romans 8:24-39. I will comment as I did last week on two consecutive days. Today, I will cover verses 26-31).
“We know that God causes all things to work for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). To understanding this verse, we must consider what comes before and after the verse. First, verse 26: This promise is given in the context of a close, intimate relationship between a child of God and the heavenly Father, which is supported by deep, fervent prayer. Paul described a situation where one is so weak — or broken-hearted — or stressed, that they don’t know how to pray. In such a time, the Holy Spirit is the Helper: “The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Second, verse 27: The Spirit intercedes on our behalf to the Father, “He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is.” We communicate with the Spirit on a deeper level than our minds can understand, and the Spirit reveals this communication to God the Father. He knows us better than we know ourselves! Then we see a key point: the Holy Spirit “intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” So, when we read that “God causes all things to work together for good,” this is a reference to the work of God in our lives “according to the will of God.” Add to this what the last part of verse 28 says: this promise is given to those “who are called according to His purpose.”
So, we can say this: to claim this promise that all things will work for good in our lives, we must be among those who are praying in the Spirit, who love God, who are living according to His will, and who are allowing God to fulfill His purposes for our lives. So, what is this purpose to which He has called us? “To become conformed to the image of His Son” (verse 29). We were chosen for this purpose. God knows everything about us, including exactly what it takes for us to become more Christlike. God is behind the scenes “orchestrating” (working things out “for our good”) so that we will resemble Christ as we faithfully live in obedience to His call. In Philippians 1:6, Paul described this as God perfecting, or completing, His work in us. But he gave a qualifier: “He who began a good work in you…” He can only perfect, or complete, what He begins! This dismisses our efforts of the flesh to serve Him.
This process may sometimes be difficult; that is why Paul mentioned the “groanings too deep for words” (v. 26). But we are assured that anytime God intervenes in our lives, it will be “for our good.” Think of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were thrown into the blazing furnace, only to find that God was there! If I love Him, if I am called according to His purpose, I will be communicating with Him through prayer and His word, and He will reveal His will and purpose to me. These truths culminate with, “If God is for us, who is against us?” (v. 31). This question should permeate our daily lives and keep us grounded in our faith. We will never face anything without God — He will always “have our back!”
– Al Gary