In Part 3 of this series of meditations on Romans 8:28, we determined that the good that God is causing is not about you or your problems, it’s about you being a part of God’s greater good, God’s will. And our individual and collective lives then acquire significance by becoming part of God’s grand plan and purpose for His creation.
The aspect of Romans 8:28 that we haven’t yet considered is the great promise it holds for our lives. In Part 1 of this series we observed that the promise in this verse is often over-applied to all the difficulties of our lives.
While Romans 8:28 holds a great promise for our lives, the promise it holds is not limited to providing resolution to our problems. The great promise of Romans 8:28 that God causes all things to work together for good also provides a comprehensive explanation for God’s character and His redemptive purpose in His creation and for working His good will in and through our lives.
In other words, God causes all things–difficulties, problems, tragedies, and even happiness and joy–to work together for good because God is good and where His will prevails, His good prevails. His good can’t be separated from His will. If His will is at work, then His good is at work. So the focus of Romans 8:28 is on the fact that God is working His good will through our lives, not necessarily that bad things, or even good things, happen to us!
One way to think of it is like this. I used to have some ceramic figurines sitting on the dresser in one of the bedrooms. One day I knocked one of these pottery dolls onto the floor and its head broke off. So I applied some glue around the edges of the broken piece and fitted the piece against the torso of the doll and held it in place until the glue dried. When the glue dried, the broken piece stayed attached. It was permanently repaired.
What I did with the broken ceramic figurine is what God does for us! He permanently repairs us, but the end result doesn’t necessarily occur in our lives on this earth.
God applies the glue of His grace to mend our broken lives and Romans 8:28 promises that God will hold all the pieces together while the glue dries! So God is reattaching and holding all the broken pieces of our lives together until we enter into eternity with Him!
God’s promise of what He will do for us is also the explanation of what His plans and purposes are in His creation and in our daily lives when our will is to do God’s will. The promise of good is the explanation of His redemptive activity. God’s promise and God’s will is redemption, restoration, good!
And what’s “good” for God is exceedingly “good” for us!
God’s good work is the promise for our eternal salvation, our glorification.
God is holding the pieces of our broken lives together by His grace. And, according to Romans 8:28, whenever another piece of our life gets broken off, God applies His “grace glue” and then holds the broken pieces in place while the glue dries. And God continues to hold all the broken pieces of our lives in place until they become permanently attached in eternity!
So, with that metaphor in mind, here’s my paraphrase of Romans 8:28: “For those who commit their will to doing God’s good will, God holds all the broken pieces of our lives together into eternity!”
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NASB).