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    Please read Romans 8:28. The context is simple in that Paul is comparing present suffering versus future glory in the broader context of life in the Spirit. However, I feel the depth and meaning of the verse is often lost in the study and not really something many can say it is true and personal to their lives. Therefore, it remains like so many other verses just another great quote or a brief reflection but no practical experience or application.

    So it begs me to ask is it really true that all things work for your good as the verse says? How can we find answers in the midst of some of the toughest trials we go through and with each day passing away the answers seem so distant? The leading is just not there and looking back and recalling the hand of God in our past hasn’t helped either. The passage as we know is written by Apostle Paul, who has a first hand account of suffering therefore we can be certain it was written with deep experience.

    To better understand this I was guided to read the story of Joseph. If you read Genesis chapters 37-45 you can easily see how Joseph’s experiences in life went from being Jacob’s son to the one of the most important officials of the pharaoh. Most often we stop at that and tuck into the back of our minds as yet another great Sunday school story. If we read these chapters slowly a more vivid picture comes to life:
    1. The life of Joseph is one of several reminders in the Old Testament of Jesus and His ministry of reconciliation
    2. It is also a confirmation that the plan to redeem mankind was in existence before the foundation of the earth
    3. Finally it is one of the best examples of God working everything for one’s good.

    Let us briefly look at the first two before spending a little more in-depth study on the last. Joseph’s story of being Jacob’s beloved son being sent to monitor his father’s assets inviting the envy of his brothers is a stark reminder of the Father sending His one and only Son Jesus to earth only to be crucified by His own creation. Joseph’s brother’s plans to kill him and their eventual plan to sell him for twenty pieces of silver again points to Christ when He was rejected and sold to the Jewish council for thirty. The false accusation at Potiphar’s house is strikingly similar to the false accusation Jesus faced at the Sanhedrin. As many of us are familiar the story goes onto a full fledged reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers and is often used as an example of the principles of forgiveness. He forgives unconditionally and he is given significant authority over Egypt (Gen. 41:41-44) once again pointing to Christ and His unconditional forgiveness to mankind knowing it was our ignorance and because of His obedience and servant attitude He was exalted to the highest place (Phil. 2:9).

    The second truth in the story of Joseph is that Jacob and all his sons escaped the great famine because Joseph was sent ahead as seen in (Gen. 45:5). This is a shadow of the redemptive plan God has for man. It is interesting to note that this plan occurs before the Laws are even written which is yet to come through Moses. So it is a clear indication that God’s plan to redeem man through His Son was in existence before the world began just as He said in Eph. 1:4.

    The third point in the story of Joseph is that you witness Rom. 8:28 in action. If you read Gen. 37-38 you will come across maybe around 10 challenges Joseph faced that we can reflect on and draw some parallels in our own lives. To itemize for short and quick reading they are:
    1. The brothers hated him
    2. Jacob rebuked him
    3. The brothers were jealous of him
    4. The brothers plotted to kill him
    5. He was thrown into the pit
    6. He was sold to Midianite traders
    7. He was then sold again to Potiphar’s family
    8. He was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife
    9. He was jailed
    10. He was forgotten by the cupbearer and the baker in the presence of pharaoh for interpreting their dreams and goes onto spend another two years in jail

    All of this happened in a span of 13 years. Imagine if these circumstances had occurred to us, it would have certainly made some of us to question and leave our faith especially in a society where man’s average patience is dwindling down to a few minutes. Yet Joseph never complained or made an effort to run back to his father. He submitted and was faithful to God in the midst of his life’s calamities with no clear future direction. While in jail he ministered to some as you can see in the text where he talks about who interprets dreams and the meeting with his brothers where he reveals himself. In the interest of keeping the article short I am summarizing.

    But the underlying theme in Joseph’s life is in Gen 45:7 after he declares his identity. He was sent ahead to preserve the family which goes on to become the twelve foundational tribes of Israel. This resembles the resurrected Christ revealing His identity, offering unconditional forgiveness, and a re-uniting with His believers whom we see is referred to as brothers in the book of Heb. 2:11. What a stunning ending and a fulfillment of Rom. 8:28

    If there is any genuine Christian reading this study suffering from pain of any sort both physical or mental and seem to have no hope let me encourage you that God has sent His Son ahead of you so you may have life. Even if an answer takes a long time maybe years or maybe never in your lifetime He still works all thing for your good and He permits unexplained circumstances so that you may have a stronger testimony around those who surround you, especially family. It is disheartening to see many of our families close their doors to evangelists and to those who distribute tracts in the communities thereby rejecting the gospel. If that is that case then the only access to our families is families themselves. Let us therefore persevere and follow the footsteps of Jesus whose circumstances while on earth never turned out to be good until He died, rose again, and His identity was revealed to us so that we may be preserved for eternity in His coming kingdom.

  • #2


    Romans 8:28-29 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. 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.

    If one includes verse 29 in consideration, the word "conformed" becomes interesting.

    If you can form a mental picture of God as a blacksmith and us as something he is working on, it might be possible to think that he would pick us up in his "tongs" and look at us and say, "This doesn't look anything like Jesus". After which he would put us back in the fire and work the bellows until we had reach the point of malleability. He would then pull us out of the fire and proceed to work on us with his "hammer" examining us to see how the process of "conformation" was going.

    Many Christians read Romans 8:28 out of context and think that all things happen for our enjoyment, happiness, pleasure, or contentment.


    • #3

      Tim is correct, it is always taken out of context. It really isn't even about us, it is about God... things work together to them that love God for HIS PURPOSE. He called us for HIS PURPOSE and things will come together to THAT END, not unto a material blessing which is how this is often presented.


      • #4

        ....for our eternal good.

        Striving to apprehend that for which I have been apprehended in Christ Jesus.

        מרן אתא

        Walk in the Light!
        התהלכו באור


        • #5

          I have a hard time with this one. Sometimes it's hard to accept God's will and follow our own path. The Bible never promises that things will be easy or that our rewards will be on Earth. Could use prayer for God to open (or even close) doors and put me on the correct path.


          • #6

            Originally posted by breadfirst View Post
            So it begs me to ask is it really true that all things work for your good as the verse says?
            Well FIRST quote the verse accurately - Rom 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.

            SO it's the "SUM TOTAL" of "All things" operating together that results in "The Good"

            But that's only a half thought - the "Good" is then identified in 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.

            The process has nothing to do with how "Blessed", or how Comfortable, or how "Prosperous" you may be - it's all about CONFORMING YOU to the image of Christ. ANd since YOU (or any of us) aren't that much like Christ AT ALL - obviously there's some SERIOUS processing implied.

            Paul didn't call 'em "Fiery Trials" (1 Pet 4:12) because they were "Minor inconveniences", y'know.

            30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
            31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?


            • #7

              Thanks, Bob. That's the first thing I noticed in the title. The Bible doesn't say that all things work for our good.
              "'s your nickel"


              • #8

                Bob and Jayne,

                Thanks for taking the time and reading my post; however, I am disappointed that you have not read my entire thread before commenting. I am a strong opponent of prosperity/health/wealth teachings. I used Joseph's sufferings to show that all things turn to be for his good and his families' and went onto tie that together to how it points to Christ. That should nail the conclusion that despite all odds that come against us it turns out for our good (not materially but spiritually). The good as correctly stated refers to the conforming us to the nature of Christ. Please also note that I purposely did NOT mention Joseph becoming a senior dignitary in pharaoh's office which will definitely lead believers to think that there is prosperity for those who follow Christ rather I highlighted the reconciliation with his family.

                There are many ways to explain scriptures brothers and sisters. Not just one as long as it adheres to the teachings and life of Christ and provide hope.

                My issues are:
                1)Jumping to conclusions by reading just the title which was meant to catch the reader's attention and not the verse in itself
                2)Little tolerance for folks outside of the US who may not have the linguistic skills and styles of writers common to US schooling system
                3)A perception that one needs to know the scripture beyond its simplicity along with its Greek and surrounding circumstances. Try explaining to the millions in this side of the world who barely can read a single verse.
                Last edited by breadfirst; Jun 6 2015, 11:17 AM. Reason: Addition to item #1


                • #9

                  Our relationship is based on trusting Him to take care of us even in the midst of our storms in life.

                  And even then, we need His help to help us keep trusting Him.

                  Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

                  1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

                  1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

                  1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

                  1 Peter 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

                  Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

                  Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

                  1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

                  Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.