True Meaning of Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Many Christians take Romans 8:28 out of context, and tell people to just hang in there and their circumstances will improve. I believe that sometimes this does more harm than good, because sometimes a person’s circumstances just do not improve.

I am going to explain the true meaning of Romans 8:28 in context, and I pray it will be a comfort to you, as it has been to me.

I have written it so you can see each individual verse in order to make my point better.

Romans 8:

26 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

27 “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

What is that “good” in verse 28?

Most Christians interpret this to mean that in time our circumstances will get better, as Job’s did in the Old Testament.

This is not what that “good” means.

The Bible always interprets itself and usually within the same passage.

Now look at verse 29 again.

Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

It shows that after we get saved, God then predestines us to be conformed to the image of Jesus.

Therefore, “All things work together for good” means that all things work together to make us be more like Jesus. This is the “good,” not that our circumstances will improve.

The more like Jesus we are, the more rewards we receive in the next life in heaven.

Being a Christian is not about receiving material prosperity in this life, but about laying up treasures in heaven.

Jesus commands that we must forsake all to follow Him.

Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

But He promises that if we do, then we will receive a hundred fold in heaven, not in this life.

Matthew 19:29 “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”

In addition, in Romans 8:26-27 the Bible says:

26 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

27 “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

How the Holy Spirit helps us pray:

This shows that we do not know how to pray for what we truly need, so the Holy Spirit helps us by asking God to give us what we truly need according to His will.

Therefore, sometimes when we are praying for God to change our circumstances, like praying for healing of a health problem, the Holy Spirit is actually praying something like:

“God what they really need is for You to show them Your will, teach them what You want them to learn from this, use this to make them more like Christ, help them to accept Your will, and learn how to have peace and joy and faithfully serve You, in spite of their circumstances.”

Seek God’s will.

Therefore, seek God’s will in your circumstances, and pray for understanding. If God shows you that your circumstances are His will, then accept it, and ask Him to show you how He wants you to serve Him, in spit of your circumstances.

Your circumstances may not change any, but your perception of those circumstances will.

Your circumstances will become a blessing.

You will no longer see your circumstances as a hindrance, but as a blessing and a tool to serve God.

The example of Paul:

The Apostle Paul struggled with many hard circumstances including health problems, and he said:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

And remember:

Colossians 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

I pray this comforts you, and encourages you to stay faithful to God, no matter your circumstances.

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