The Condition Of The Bible’s Greatest Promise
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son … and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Romans 8:28 is the Bible’s greatest promise, but it is not a promise for everyone. Notice the condition: “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” The Bible says there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who love God and those who hate God. The only people who can know that God is working all things together for good are those who are properly related to God through faith in Jesus Christ. If you are not a Christian, Romans 8:28 does not apply to you. You do not have any assurance that all things are working together for good. The promise of Romans 8:28 is limited to those who know God, who are called according to His purpose.
Paul explained what he meant by that in verses 29 and 30. These verses have been called the five golden links in the chain of salvation. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son … and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
First, notice the word “foreknew.” In the Old Testament, “foreknew” meant to enter into a relationship with. Before the foundation of the world, God chose to set His affection on you. His choice had nothing to do with your good looks, your good works, or your potential. Second, the Bible says whom God foreknew, He predestined. That word “predestined” means to mark out the boundaries of. God set a pattern for your life. He determined your destiny. Third, the Bible says whom God predestined, He called. There was a moment in time that God called you to salvation. Fourth, when God called you to salvation and you responded in faith, He justified you. Justification is the judicial act by which God declares a sinner not guilty before Him. The moment you trusted in Christ as Savior, all your sins were forever forgiven. Fifth, those whom God justified, He glorified. Glorification is the time when God will give His children new bodies free from sin, sickness, suffering, and sadness. Notice that while our glorification is yet future, in this verse it is in past tense, as if it has already happened. Remember, God is not limited by time like we are. God treats our glorification as a done deal. You have already been glorified.
A final word I want to look at in this promise is “together.” The Bible does not say that God uses each thing individually for good but “all things together for good.” Like the ingredients in a cake, God takes the good things, the not-so-good things, and the terrible things in your life, and He blends them together in the right proportion, for the right amount of time, to produce good in your life. Together, they mold you into the image of His Son. Aren’t you grateful for a God who is able to do that? That is why Romans 8:28 is the greatest promise in the Bible.