In Paul’s Letter to the Romans, he writes: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” He seems to be saying by loving God we are promised only good things in this life. If one gives oneself to God the Spirit will take over leading us step by step, from one good to another good, and eventually to eternal glory. That would be the case if Jesus had not added a final condition. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God who are called according to his purpose.”
God doesn’t do things according to whim but with purpose. And he has a definite purpose for each of us. By fulfilling his purpose we will experience “all things working for good.” Notice, in this process of loving God he doesn’t promise it will necessarily be for my personal good. It may well be for the greater good of all who love God, which would ultimately include me.
For example, loving God “according to his purpose” could occasionally include suffering. A man’s wife is diagnosed with cancer. That’s not good for his wife or him. Yet they have always willingly loved God according to his purpose. However, what if this tragedy might have such devastating effects upon their grown children that they are motivated to reject their evil lifestyles and return to the Lord. The ultimate salvation of their children might be the good purpose why the Lord allows the mother’s illness.
For many of us our God is too small. It’s too easy to forget his purpose for becoming man. It was not that we might be spared suffering but that we might share in eternal happiness. And so reluctantly God is willing to allow many things, even sinfulness and tragedy to be part of life, so that his purpose for coming will be fulfilled. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
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