Romans 8:28 – “We know that Yahweh causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him and are called in accordance with his purpose.”
This verse does not say that everything that happens is good. Paul believes that Yahweh is a faithful Heavenly Father who, because he is both omniscient and omnipotent, is able to cause even unfortunate happenings to work for good to those who love him. In contrast to the Greek view of “the good” as an ideal, the Biblical concept focuses what Yahweh has done and is doing in the lives of Yahweh’s people, and his providential shaping of events.
- Yahweh calls Abraham, and declares him righteous. ↔ Genesis 15:6
- Yahweh will forgive those whom he calls. He will heal them. ↔ 2 Chronicles 7:14
- Yahweh planned things long ago. He designed them, and made them happen. ↔ 2 Kings 19:25
- Yahweh is the one who justifies our lives. ↔ Job 40:8
- Yahweh determines all our days before we are born. ↔ Psalm 139:16
- Yahweh has determined a time for every thing and every action. ↔ Ecclesiastes 3:17
- >Whatever happens was planned long ago. ↔ Ecclesiastes 6:10
- Yahweh commanded those people whom he separated as his. He called them. ↔ Isaiah 13:3
- Everything will happen exactly as Yahweh planned them; as he set them up. ↔ Isaiah 14:24
- Yahweh’s counsel, declared from the beginning, will accomplish his purposes. ↔ Isaiah 46:10
- Yahweh vindicates those whom he chooses. ↔ Isaiah 50:8
- Yahweh glorifies those whom he wants to. ↔ Isaiah 55:5; 60:9
- The people will be called the ones Yahweh chose. ↔ Isaiah 62:4
- Yahweh will do as he has predetermined. ↔ Jeremiah 51:12
- Yahweh will call his people for service. ↔ Ezekiel 38:8
- Yahweh has done what he planned; he has kept his word. ↔ Lamentations 2:17
- Yahweh exalts (glorifies) the humble. ↔ Luke 18:14
- Yeshua also already knew what he planned to do. ↔ John 6:6
- Yeshua was delivered up according to the plan and foreknowledge of Yahweh. ↔ Acts 2:23
- Yahweh justifies those who accept his call and do his good works. ↔ Romans 2:13
- People are justified by Yahweh’s grace as a gift. ↔ Romans 3:24
- People are justified by faith apart from works. ↔ Romans 3:28
- Yahweh does not reject his people whom he foreknows. ↔ Romans 11:2
- Yahweh’s wisdom was decreed before the ages for our glorification. ↔ 1 Corinthians 2:7
- No man is justified before Yahweh by the law; only by Yahweh’s grace. ↔ Galatians 3:11
- Yahweh accomplishes all things according to his predetermined purpose. ↔ Ephesians 1:11
- We will be glorified in Ha’Mashiach, by Yahweh. ↔ 2 Thessalonians 1:10-12
- We are justified by Ha’Mashiach: our righteousness is impugned, not our own. ↔ Titus 3:4-7
- Those who are chosen and destined by Yahweh are sanctified. ↔ 1 Peter 1:2
- Yahweh makes known what he has predestined at the proper time for our sake. ↔ 1 Peter 1:20
- Yeshua is the first among those raised from the dead, to whom we will be conformed. ↔ Revelation 1:5
These three verses, Romans 8:28-30, come in the middle of Paul’s discussion about how the love of Yahweh is inseparable from his creation. The good toward which Yahweh works is the redemption and salvation of the whole creation, from which nothing, “neither hardship, nor distress, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword, nor angels, nor rulers, nor even death can separate us” (Romans 8:35-39)
Each event that happens in a persons life may not, necessarily, be a “good” event on the personal level. However, for those who trust Yahweh, all events that transpire can be used by Yahweh towards the eventual redemption, justification, and salvation of that person. Yahweh often works through our troubles or disasters to strip away the things we cherish, so that we may have a glimpse into the better treasures he has in store for us in his heavenly realm.
Yahweh’s foreknowledge of how people will act under various circumstances precedes his actions. This foreknowledge encompasses both Yahweh’s actions and the understanding that his people have the choice to reject or accept the plan which he has set forth. This foreknowledge does not preclude his people from being individually responsible for their choices and actions, however.
Yahweh has predestined that he will work towards the salvation of his people, without their prior knowledge that he is doing so. All things will ultimately transpire to conform to his purpose. Predestination presumes that salvation is a gift of Yahweh alone, and is not dependent upon his people’s works. Despite his people’s rejection of his plan, which leads ultimately to death, Yahweh has predetermined that it will be otherwise. He has predestined us to justification, righteousness, and glorification.
The law, which Paul talks about in Chapter 7, was never intended to save or sanctify people. No one can make themselves acceptable to the Holy One of Israel, Yahweh, by observing or keeping the law. Therefore, Yahweh has offered this as a gift. His foreknowledge set forth a process that predetermined Yahweh’s actions which in turn, lead to the cross and crucifixion of Yeshua, his only Son. Through this, those who trust in him through faith are justified and called righteous. Once called righteous, Yahweh perceives each person as “not guilty” and honors, or glorifies, them as if they had never sinned.
The real application of this scripture will be in remembering not to get upset when things go wrong: to keep my eyes on Yeshua and remember that in all situations, it is only one’s trust in Yahweh that matters. It is easy to trust in Yahweh when everything is going well. May it also become just as easy to trust and believe when the bowl of cherries turns out to be full of pits!
Prior to Yahweh’s final act of redemption, when the whole creation, including our bodies, is freed from bondage to decay, it is Yahweh’s love in Yeshua which sustains and empowers us, even in the midst of and in spite of our experiences which seem to be in conflict with this. The “good” is the final and complete realization of Yahweh’s love for creation, the complete conforming of us to the image of his Son. Yahweh works in all things toward that good purpose, but only those who love him know that, because they are participants with him in the working of that purpose. What Yahweh chooses, he cleanses. What he cleanses, he molds to his purposes. What he molds, he fills. And what he fills, he uses. Nothing Yahweh has predetermined will fail to come to fruition. All things, both the good and the evil, work to bring us to the realization that only by Yahweh’s gift can we be made righteous, and be glorified.