What Things and What Purpose?

Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv

Romans 8:28-29, 31 NKJV

28 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. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:28 is one of the most well liked and often quoted scriptures by many believers in Jesus Christ. Because it is so encouraging, it’s easy to understand why so many Christians have adopted it as their favorite scripture. Unfortunately, it is often only partially quoted; “And we know that all things work together for good…” If that were all there were to this great statement, it would be the favorite verse of people both in, and out of the church. Who wouldn’t want all things to work together for good in their life? But there is an exclusivity to this verse when it is read in totality. It is not addressed, or promised to everyone, but only, “…to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

That part of this verse, if taken at face value, could easily promote Christian elitism or political incorrectness. It’s clear that those who love God and are called according to His purpose have a reason to feel special when they think about all things working together for their good. But this verse cannot be taken at face value. It must be examined with consideration to verses 29 and 30. That’s where the exclusivity is purposed. Those verses clarify verse 28 by declaring each of these persons are already known by God, that they have been targeted, called, justified, and will be glorified into the image of Jesus Christ. They are commanded in this text to live like Jesus, to be conformed, or transformed into His image.

To those who are transformed into the image of Christ, God commands all things to work together for their good. He does that so that the believer is endowed with the same spiritual characteristics that Jesus has, love, joy, peace, forgiveness, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-restraint. This is part of the process that takes the believer from predestination to glorification. In other words, when someone is conformed, changed into the image of Christ, everything in life works together for their good. That goodness goes from the earthly to the eternal. They are justified on earth then glorified in heaven. I like to tell people that those who love God and are called according to His purpose cannot lose. The vicissitudes of life cannot prevent their glorification, they only prepare them for that grand and magnificent day.

The summation of all of this is made quite apparent when Paul asks the question, “If God is for us, who can be against us? When God is for us, He uses ‘what things,’ all things, for our good. When God is for us, His purpose is to conform us into the image of His only begotten Son. All of those ‘things,’ are for that ‘purpose.’

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of J. Loren R Consulting, LLC, providing Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Facebook LIVE, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Email us at mattersoffaith.mof@gmail.com. Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book at www.BookBlues.com/books/view/993177.

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