Romans says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” As believers, God gives us a wonderful, hope-filled promise that He will cause all things to work for our good. Notice that things don’t work for our good by themselves or just as a matter of chance. It is a privilege and benefit of knowing Christ that God works on our behalf to cause all things that come into our lives to work for our good.
Romans continues by saying, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (italics mine). We can trust God that He is working all things in our lives for our sanctification. The Holy Spirit never rests when it comes to making us more like Christ, for such is God’s will (1 Thessalonians 4:3). No matter what happens in our lives, God will cause things to work for our spiritual benefit. That is not to say that He does not work things also for our temporal benefit in terms of finances, health, etc., for we could all likely testify to a great many instances of God’s provision and protection. God looks out for His children’s welfare, both spiritually and practically, only allowing purposeful things into our lives which He will work for our good. But this verse is not a guarantee of perfect health, wealth, and prosperity of all kinds. The Bible explains that trials will be a part of this life (John ), so we should not expect everything to be smooth and easy. However, we can expect that God will use all things for our good. Even when things might not be pleasant circumstantially, God will be working for our sanctification, which is always a good thing.
God knows that the deepest longings and desires of our hearts are met in knowing Him and in enjoying Him forever. Thus, His purpose is to orchestrate all things in our lives so that we come to know Him better, to love Him more, and to reflect Jesus more accurately. As this becomes more of a reality in our lives, we will look forward to eternity more because we will be increasingly conformed to what we will be when Jesus returns when God finishes His sanctifying work in our lives and glorifies us to be forever with Him in heaven. God knows that being like Jesus is the best thing that could happen to us and the thing that is required for us to experience the greatest joy and happiness. Thus, in His great love, He takes all things, even disappointments, attacks of the devil, and our own failures as means that can be used for our good as He uses them to make us like Christ. Because of God’s sovereign hand in the lives of His children, mockery and insult are ultimately for our gain. What others do that is an offense to us is ultimately for our profit. The evil which befalls us is actually transformed by God into a blessing. It is not that the righteous don’t suffer or have travail in this life, but the promise is that God will use those things to bless us as He makes us more like Christ.
It is important to note that those who do not love God do not have the hope and promise that God is working behind the scenes to orchestrate all things for their good and sanctification. They don’t even know God, for they have rejected the truth. They are left to fend for themselves and to try to maximize their pleasure in this world. They have no inheritance and no hope of eternal life with God in heaven. Thus, it makes no sense to tell an unbeliever that things will work out or get better. They may or they may not. Quoting Romans to them wouldn’t matter because it doesn’t apply to them. This is the hopelessness and horror of life without God. We as believers, on the other hand, can have great hope and rest knowing that God is always working things for our benefit. Sometimes we might think we should take a certain job, move to a certain place, or get to know a certain person only to see God close a door as a means of protecting us or leading us to something much better. The unsaved person has no such backstop to their own short-sightedness and humanness. Christians have the benefit of a God Who knows everything and sees across time to be able to access every available resource in the universe to help us in the present. No one can thwart Him or interfere with His plans and purposes. Even our own infallibilities and failures can be used for our good. It doesn’t even seem possible that through our failures God can make improvements and cause things to result in good, but that is exactly what He does. This is a potent, potent truth filled with hope for the child of God! Next time we are blindsided by disappointment or difficulty, let us immediately recall this verse to mind. When we are wronged, let us remember that even this will work out for our good. What a God we serve that even that which we encounter that is not good He can make work for our good. Satan must be really discouraged by this verse, but we should find it highly encouraging.