James H. Cagle
The Bible (KJV) says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8: 28, 29).
What should we list under “good?” Would it be good health, a good family, a good job, a good home, a good car, and a good amount of money in the bank? These things would be good if the prosperity gospel was biblically sound.
God’s purpose and predestination for the Christian is for them to be conformed, or molded into the likeness of Jesus Christ. All things, including the bad things work toward that which is good, the transformation of the Christian into the likeness of Christ.
According to our text, what God had in mind for His people was that they should be Christ like. That was what he purposed for them from all eternity. It is in relation to that that he made the world and directs it today. This world was made for the purpose of developing Christian character in it.
Whether or not all things, including the bad, especially the bad, end up being for our good, for our transformation depends on how they are received. If received in the spirit of submission and trust in God, then all things do work together for good. If things in life are not received this way, then what was intended for our good may prove to be a curse. God allows bad things to happen to us so that we will turn out good.
It is to those that love God, our text says, that all things work together for good. “The reason that all things work together for good to the Christian is that the Christian is one in whom the dominant motive and passion of life is to love God. Since this is the dominant force in life, everything in life causes it to grow. When one is properly related to God, everything in life draws one closer to Him and makes one more like Him in character. Love to God is the alchemy that has the power of transmuting all the baser metals of life into the pure gold of Christian character.” It is love for God that transforms us. What we love we gravitate toward and become more like.
That means it is usually the bad things that make us better if we respond to them rightly. Bad health, bad family, bad job, bad home, bad cars, little or no money in the bank, will along with the right attitude and response be for our good. And our response to the bad, that’s for our good, reveals whether we truly love God or not.
Loving God, regardless, and no matter what, is the key to a happy, victorious, and successful Christian life.