God's Incredible Plan For Our Lives, P. 2
What, then, is the promise of this verse? It depends somewhat on your translation. KJV-“all things work together for good.” NIV-“in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” NASB-“God causes all things to work together for good.”
There is a significant difference between “all things work together for good,” and “God causes all things to work together for good.” The vast majority of the original texts with late dates support the rendering of the KJV, but in a few ms.,
which some scholars believe to be superior with earlier dates, support the rendering of the NIV and NASB.
But even if the word “God” is not in the original text, the context shows that God is the source of the good and is in control. As Paul states in vs. 29-30, God predestined us, called us, justified us and is the one who will glorify us. So certain is Paul that this will take place that he speaks of our glorification in the past tense! He uses what scholars call the “proleptic aorist” tense, a device in Greek when an author is indicating that “it’s as good as done.” God, then, is the orchestrator and controller of all things and whatever the promise of this verse, it is because of God.
Now if all things are working to our good, what is the good? (1) Some have the mistaken idea that God’s purpose is for us to be happy. We assume that happiness is our right and good. We have heard the saying, “It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re happy.” There is a song that says, “Don’t worry, be happy.” But this text of Rom. 8:28 does not say that God’s ultimate goal for us is to be happy.
(2) Others have the mistaken idea that God’s purpose for us is to be “successful.” Even some pastors don’t understand this truth, when they emphasize constantly numbers, money and buildings. In God’s eyes, being successful is being obedient to the known revealed will of God.
Notice that verse 29 defines the good that God promises. The good is not our happiness, comfort, wealth, success or health. IT IS CONFORMITY TO CHRIST!
God wants the ones in His family to be like Christ. Ultimately, all things work together to bring each Christian into conformity to Christ. Conformed to the image of His Son, is the key phrase in understanding that this ‘good purpose of God is an infinitely higher purpose than ‘making everything come out all right.’
We must be careful to note that God is not the cause of all things. In particular, He is not the cause of sin. Jas. 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” God is the Creator. As such, He created the universe, including this earth and all that is in it. God is the originator of many things. But in this verse, Paul is not speaking of those things which God brings into existence. He is referring to God as the orchestrator and controller of all that takes place in this world. While God permits things to happen, He does not allow anything to happen which is contrary to His ultimate goal of making us like Christ.