“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [H]is purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
While it is true that God works things together for our good, the passage found in Romans 8:28 speaks to the verses prior to it. Romans 8:26 and 27 tell us that we do not know what we should pray for as we ought. The Spirit, however, will intercede on our behalf and will form our requests and petitions in acceptable prayers. The Spirit, we are told uses groanings which cannot be uttered. These groanings seem to be a language that is spoken between the Godhead. We learn further that God will search the hearts of the pray-er and the [M]ind of the Spirit thusly the spirit is making intercession on our behalf and our prayers. It seems that these are the things that work together for our good and the good of our prayers.
Having said all of that, it is still true that God will work all things together for our good. it is kind of like when an athlete makes a sports drink. The athlete will mix eggs, protein, celery, creatine, and others nutrients together, he will shake them up and will pour it down his throat and this drink will work for his good. I doubt the sports drink tastes very good and I doubt that the athlete enjoys the drink or the drinking thereof but he knows it benefits him.
This is true of life’s events, even the ones that taste bad. Many a Christ-ian can look back at difficulties, hardships, tough times, trials, tribulations and say, “It was worth it because…” This is why the passage says, “And we know…” This “we know” does not mean we will know all things concerning difficulties but for the believer it is good enough knowing that God has promised.
What about sin though? Is sin one of the things that work together for our good? This, I confess may be hard for some to swallow but, yes, sin will work for our good. God is a Sovereign and All Wise and All Good God and because of this He can, will, and does work sin together for our good. While God hates sin He is still Sovereign over it. If God were not sins Sovereign God would not be sovereign, for when we say God is sovereign we are speaking in terms of absolutes. The nations upon this earth are said to be sovereign entities. However, this is not the same as God is Sovereign over all nations and all nations are less than nothing to God (Isaiah 40). God is absolutely Sovereign over all things. Nations are sovereign within their borders and no other nation can cross those borders legally without invite or allowance. But God is Sovereign in Heaven and upon earth, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” “God sits in the heavens and doeth as He pleases.” “None can say, “What doeth [T]hou.” “Who is His counsellor?”
Therefore, God can subdue sin and use it as He pleases. God did not introduce sin but now that it is introduced it is subservient to His will. This can be seen in a court of law. A judge may forbid a piece of evidence from being used by the prosecutor but if the defense brings it in by mistake, the presecutor may use it against the defendant. God did not bring sin in to the picture, (s)atan did. Now that it is in play God will use it to bring glory to Himself and he will use it to benefite His people.
Let me ask you a question. What if you overcame all the sin in your life? Even those pet sins or those sins that refuse to die? If you could do that you would feel great and you would maybe feel a bit too proud? God uses sin to keep us humble. God uses sin to keep us vigilant against that sin and other sins.
God uses the sinners sin against the sinner. Look at Haman in Esther. Haman hated Mordecai and all the Jews. Haman came up with a way to have Mordecai and the Jews killed. Haman had everything…riches, the king’s favour, and family, and high position in the palace but instead of dwelling upon all that he was obsessed with the fact that Mordecai the Jew would not bow to him. Haman was overcome with hate and vengeance. He had gallows put up for Mordecai to hang and he had the king sign a declaration allowing all Jews to be killed on a certain day.
However, God turned this around. Esther brought all of this to the king’s attention and it was Haman and Haman’s sons that would hang on the gallows and it was the Jews that were afforded the right to destroy those that would have destroyed them. They were given an extra day as well!!! God used the hatred and murderous heart, and great pride of Haman to bring an end to the enemy of His people. As for the Jews, God took the sin of murder and genocide and changed it into self defense on the part of the Jews and God was greatly glorified in the Jews’ victory.
Does God not use our sin in order to bring us to Him? Isn’t it through repentance of sin and belief in Christ that God saves us?
Isn’t sin the thing God will use against (s)atan and all sinners to send them away to eternal torment? (s)atan introduced sin to mankind and it is sin that will bring about his doom.
Isn’t Christ’s victory over sin the cause of great delight and the cause for hope?
God uses all things to bring Himself Glory and to bring good to His beloved people, even sin. An analogy: A robber breaks into a home. The home owner is awakened and investigates. The owner finds the robber and they wrestle for the robber’s gun. The home owner wrests the gun away from the robber. The home owner, who dislikes guns, will use the robber’s gun against him. He will use the gun to keep the robber subdued so the police can take him away and lock him in a cell to await judgement.
Think about this… employment is due to sin (Man kept the garden prior to sin but this is not the employment we speak of). Government is due to sin. Labour pains are due to sin. The breakdown of all things is due to sin. Sickness and death is due to sin. The weeds in your lawn are due to sin. the hatred that is in the world is due to sin. Sorrow and sadness is due to sin. Mental and emotional troubles are due to sin. The break-up of families is due to sin. Selfishness, self-centeredness, and pride are due to sin.
Even though God is Sovereign over sin and He uses it or our benefit, we should in no way, shape or form tolerate sin in our lives. There should never be any warm affection for sin except a burning hatred thereof. We must continue to mortify the flesh through the Spirit. We must mortify the flesh as it cries out for and lusts after all manner of sin. We cannot mortify sin but we can mortify and subdue the flesh that sin appeals to. We must reckon ourselves dead to sin and all it’s temptations. For we are, in fact, dead to sin as we died with Christ at Calvary. One who is dead does not suffer temptation. [We] are crucified with Christ. We are risen unto new life with Christ. We must now serve righteousness as we served unrighteousness in the past.
Reader, You and I will not be sinless in this world but we will sin less in this world as we walk with God and as God continues to work all things together for our good. All the pain, all the suffering, all the persecution, all the afflictions are part of our predestinated end…Christ-likeness. All the negative mentioned in the last sentence is the backdrop for all the good we enjoy in this life and praise God!!!….there is so much good in this life in spite of sin and isn’t the goodness part and proof of Christ’s victory over sin and God’s reign over defeated sin?
O’God, My God, Thank you for all the good and all the bad that you are using to make me more like my Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus. O’God, my God, Thank you for allowing me to see you work things together for my good. My faith has grown and has become stronger and has developed into hope. O’God, my God, Thank you for being my Center, my Anchor, my Refuge and my High Tower. Thank you for being my Strength and my Hope. Thank you for being my Whole Armour of God. Thank you for being my God, O’God. Thank you for being my LORD and my Lord, Thank you for being my Saviour, my Redeemer, and my Surety. Thank you for being my All in All and for being that which defines me and my life.