Often I find myself reflecting on those verses that the Holy Spirit has made an integral part of me. And if you have been following my writing for any length of time you are well aware that He has me laser focused on Rom 8:29. And as I was thinking about our being conformed into His image I was drawn back to verse 28 and I began to focus on the word purpose. After all, in verse 29 the Holy Spirit made it very clear what His purpose is. But He opened up my thinking as I began to study the verse word by word, and I realized something about verse 28 that I hadn’t thought about that has a big impact on us, His bride.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
The first thing that got my attention were the words We know, and the thought popped into my head… how do we know? In the Greek the word is oida, and it means to know by perception. We know by the process of becoming aware through our senses, by understanding or interpreting what we see, hear and feel. I thought about that and we are the direct controllers of that process and it begins with what we “choose” to perceive. Or put another way, what we focus on and what we study. And for the bride that means as we focus on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit guides our “perception” of the truth contained in the Word. In this instance, all that follows… all things.
We have all heard someone at sometime use the statement that “the Greek word for “all” means “all.” In this case that is exactly what it means: panta; every kind, every variety. There is no exception as everything in the life of a believer works together (sunergeo; helps work or cooperates) for the good to those who love God. I have always known that this verse is speaking directly to the bride of Christ, but a couple of words He used got me to thinking.
The first thing that caused me to pause was just who the Holy Spirit was referring to with this statement… those who love God … those who are the called. The called are those who have been invited (kletois), and they are not “everyone,” they are the ones who love God with His kind of unconditional love (agapao). Then I noticed the fact that all things do not work together for our good by themselves… they “cooperate” (sunergeo) with us. That means that we have a part to play in the process of seeing that those things truly do work together for our good. But good isn’t what I thought it always thought it was.
Good (agathos) has a much more important meaning here, not just good in the general sense of well-being. The meaning is much more specific as it directly relates to God’s purpose, and that takes us to verse 29… He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. The meaning of “good” as used here refers to our character. It doesn’t mean for our general good or our overall benefit. It speaks specifically of what God predestined (proorisen; determined beforehand)… that our character is conformed into Jesus’ character; His image.
So, “good” in verse 28 and “image” in verse 29 speak directly to God’s divine purpose for Jesus’s bride… the transformation of our character. And those “things” that God orchestrates in our life are there for the express purpose of “cooperating with us” in that process, not in and of themselves “working for our good.”
After thinking this through, I came away with a much better understanding of “my circumstances.” I always understood that in the end they always work out for my good, but I have overlooked just how that works according to God’s purpose for my life. It has caused me to look a lot harder at those “circumstances” in light of the fact that they are there to “cooperate with me” in accomplishing God’s purpose of bringing out all that He has placed within me… The Character of Jesus. But that won’t be accomplished if I don’t look at my circumstances in the same way that God does and respond by following the leading of His Spirit according to His purpose.
Nothing happens in the life of the bride just By Chance!