Ah, this most famous of verses. It refers back to the previous verses with and. Remember, the Holy Spirit is helping us by interceding for us according to God’s will. Then we get to today’s passage. I like the translations that use the word together. God is working for my good in all things together, if I love God.
1. This applies only if I love God.
2. All things together. Individual occurrences may be painful and heartbreaking and even horrible – but taken as a whole it will be good in the end.
3. For my good. Not just for some greater good somewhere down the road, but truly for my good in some way. That is really hard to see in moments of hardship.
Then we get into some big concepts and big words. First, let’s point out that we are called according to His purpose. I don’t just add God to my live when I am saved, God calls me to His purpose. My purpose must change to His. Yes, in all things God works for my good, but I am not the purpose, I am not the reason. It is God’s purpose and God’s plan. And this is the plan:
1. God foreknew me – He knew me before I was born.
2. God predestined me – He not only knew me, He planned my life, every part of it.
3. God called me – He made Himself known to me so I could be saved.
4. God justified me – At the beginning of my salvation. Christ died to pay for my sin, and He gave me (imputed) His righteousness so I could be holy.
5. God glorified me – This will come at the end of my earthly life, when sin will finally be dead and I will have a new body. Even though it hasn’t happened yet, it is a definite thing.
The only big word left out of this list is sanctification, but the definition is here. It is the process on earth of making me like Christ, conforming me to the image of Christ. Go back to the part right after Paul talks about foreknew, and he gives sanctification as God’s purpose in the whole process, from before time began right up to the end of the earth, when all of creation will be made new. The suffering from several verses back is part of it as well. This is the purpose, the big picture, God’s plan for me: to conform me to the image of Christ, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. Kind of puts the suffering in perspective, doesn’t it!