As we continue to look at our series on “Your Greatest Calling”, we look today at 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.” (KJV) This Scripture is very familiar among Believers.
As I was reading this verse today, the question came to me, “What is God’s purpose?” If we are called according to His purpose, what is His purpose? God’s main purpose is that all men come to salvation. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance…” (2 Peter 3:9-10 NIV) We are called to salvation, but He doesn’t force us to become Believers, we come of our own will. He calls us, He draws us to Himself. He puts opportunity after opportunity before us to come to Him. In this way, He gets the glory.
Another purpose of God is that of healing. Whether we are healed here on earth or whether we receive the ultimate healing in Heaven, Jesus took the stripes on His back for our healing. “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.” (2 Peter 2:24 KJV) In our healing, He receives the glory.
When we are persecuted for our faith, God’s purpose is that He receives the glory. There are several examples in the Bible of those who were persecuted, and God was given glory for the outcome. Joseph was thrown into a pit by his brothers, and they wanted to kill him, but God took him out of the pit and put him in a high position in Egypt to help save the world from a devastating famine. (Genesis 37:18-36, 39:1-45:8, 50:15-21) Paul was persecuted, thrown in prison, and stoned for preaching the Gospel, and yet God used Paul to write most of our New Testament and evangelize the known world at that time, and God received the glory for what Paul was able to accomplish through his persecution.
When we say all things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose, does that mean everything is good? No. My first husband’s suffering in sickness and then his death was not good, at least I couldn’t see good in it, but God worked it for His good because one of the nurses’ aides who took care of him became a Believer through watching him and seeing his strong faith in God despite the things he had to endure. That was God’s purpose, that she would come to faith in God and be saved, and God gets the glory for a lost soul coming to salvation.
When we face closed doors like a lost job, a relationship that ends, or we are feeling rejected, God takes that and opens doors somewhere else, and it is turned into something good in our lives. At the time it may not seem like something good, but when we look at it in hindsight, we can see God’s hand at work. He is working His purpose in our lives so that He gets the glory. Whatever a Believer goes through, God is big enough to use it or turn it around for His glory and our good. We may not understand it all, but God works in mysterious ways, far above human understanding. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Circumstances that seem horrible, can ultimately turn out for good because God is great enough to affect the outcome. God has a plan for each one of us, (Jeremiah 29:11) and He is working that plan out in our lives according to His purpose and He gets all the glory and honor.