WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT “ALL THINGS”?
I love definitions because they add meaning and colour to the words that I so often use without understanding.
Take, for example, the word “good” in Romans 8:28.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Romans 8:28 NLT
“Good” can mean anything I want it to mean, or it could mean nothing to me without a definition.
I found the meaning of “good” in Strong’s Concordance intriguing.
– Lexical: ἀγαθός
– Transliteration: agathos
– Part of Speech: Adjective
– Phonetic Spelling: ag-ath-os’
– Definition: intrinsically good, good in nature, good whether it be seen to be so or not, the widest and most colourless of all words with this meaning….
Another meaning of “good” according to ancient Hebrew understanding is “functional”, i.e., that which works.
So, God is working for us, in all our circumstances, good or bad, that which is functional, whether we see it like that or not.
Now, isn’t that comforting! This truth puts God in the centre of what is happening in our lives at any time. Nothing is accidental, coincidental, or purposeless, not matter how unpleasant or uncomfortable it may be at the time.
Of course, this does not mean that God causes our difficult circumstances. Sometimes we are the engineers of trial and trouble through our own foolishness. It does mean, however, that He uses the adversities, whether we cause them or not, for our good.
However, the meaning of “good” can be very broad. We need to read it in its context to understand “good” in greater detail.
Our problem is that we often don’t read enough to connect our word with its context. When we read on in Romans 8, the context focuses us in, like binoculars, on the purpose for the good God is working for us.
“For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
Romans 8:29 NLT
Suddenly, what was vague becomes clear. Again, like a pair of binoculars, we see God zeroing in on Jesus His Son, as the prototype of every person born into His kingdom. He requires that all His children should be perfect replicas of Jesus!
Wow? How is that possible? He does it by using “all things” to shape and prune us until everything that does not resemble Jesus, is removed. God is determined to bring many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10), sons who love, trust, obey, and submit to Him in all things, to be like Jesus who is the prototype of all His brothers.
We will never reach perfection in this life but, thankfully, John puts the final piece into the puzzle.
“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.”
1 John 3:2 NLT
That’s it! God will put the finishing touches to His work when we come face to face with Jesus. The sight of His glory, which we saw only partially in this life, will transform us instantly into HIS perfect likeness.
“So, all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT
So, what does this all mean for us?
1. Submit joyfully to God’s “all things”! Submit, submit, and again I say, submit.
2. Gaze unceasingly on the glory of Jesus. Gaze, gaze, and again I say, gaze!
We become what we focus on. Some believers see the devil behind every bush. It’s no wonder they struggle so much with sin! Others see Jesus in every dark cloud, and problems become opportunities.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 3:1-4 NIV