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. (Romans 8:28 NKJ)This is one of the most often misquoted verses in the Bible. People typically use it as a justification for anything bad that happens in their lives. However, it is not an across-the-board blanket excuse for God to bring evil on you.
"Well, I have the flu, but 'all things work together for good.'"
"Well, I lost my job, but 'all things work together for good."
Instead, to fully understand this verse, you need to do two very important things.
- Do a study on WHO God is.
- Read the entire chapter.
The first 14 verses talk about not walking after the flesh but after the Spirit. What does this mean? Well, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 refers to the spirit, soul, and body. Man is a spirit with a soul who lives in a body. The Bible plainly says God is spirit and man must worship Him in spirit. (Jn 4:24) And when Christ enters the heart (a word referring to the spirit man) of someone at salvation, He creates a new spirit man. It is not a refurbished unit, but a brand new one. (2Co 5:17) So it is with this new spirit we worship God and pray to God.
Our flesh and our soul, however, remain the same. Romans 12:2 talks about "renewing the mind." The mind, which is part of the soul, is renewed through meditation on God's Word. This is how we get things into our spirit man. We are a fleshly people. We live on earth and to function here we must function through our body and with our mind. When I take a piece of God's Word - for instance when I was full of fear, I meditated all day on Scriptures about peace. I quoted them over and over. Do you know what happened? The more I spoke about God's peace, the more I believe it, the more I knew God's peace was mine, and the better I felt.
This is NOT positive thinking. This is putting the power behind God's Word to work in your life. The Word of God isn't just words on the page. That is the mistake many make. I made that mistake myself. It is how I got myself into the mess I was in. No, each Word of God is a container of the power that raised Christ from the dead.
"WHAT?," you say.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
Ah! We are back to Romans 8. You thought I was lost. :-)
How can this be? How can the very Holy Spirit, the power of God, that raised up Jesus dwell in me? And furthermore, what will it do to me when it's dwelling in there? It quickens! It brings life!
We also see this in Ephesians.
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) (Ephesians 2:5)
We are saved and filled with enough power and life to even quicken our mortal bodies.
So what does it mean in verse 12 of Romans 8 when it says by living in the flesh we will die? It means that outside of God, living outside of His commandments of love and purity, operating outside of His rules about how we treat other human beings, is walking outside of His life-giving power. It is a choice we make. We can walk in our flesh and ignore God, or we can walk in the Spirit, hand in hand with God.
There are more hints at God's personality in Romans 8. Verse 18 refers to the glory revealed in us. Verse 21 says "glorious liberty." Verse 24 and 25 talk about hope. Then in verse 26, we begin to have a key about what the "things" are in verse 28. These two verses, 27 and 28 are talking about prayer. Prayer through the power of the Holy Spirit, following His leading, listening to Him who IS God, who knows the mind of God, and prays the will of God for us, brings God's purpose to pass in our lives. It brings, verse 28, GOOD to our lives.
Was that flu good? Was not paying your bills good?
"But," you say, "Look at what I learned through that."
Sure, you did. What I learned from panic attacks was I hate fear. Was, I need God in my life. Was, I need people praying for me. Was, if I'd have kept my act together in the first place I could have skipped the entire thing. That was NOT God's will for me. Nor was it for my GOOD.
"But I'm still not sure you have that verse interpreted correctly."
Then read the end of the chapter. Don't take my word for it.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is the true heart of the Father. That is what God wants for you. He is with you, holding your hand, and will walk with you every step of the way. You are a conqueror surrounded by the love of God and the power that raised Christ from the dead.
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.