All things work for the Good

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Principle for Bible Reading

Romans 8:28 is one of the most important and most treasured verses and promises in the Bible. In this lab, John Piper begins a series of three labs pulling apart the critical pieces in these twenty-four words for understanding and embracing our sovereign and good God.

View the outline.

What Does ‘Good’ Mean? (01:48–05:30)

“We do not know what to pray for as we ought. . .” (Romans 8:26). But there is something we do know (Romans 8:28). What do we know? We know that all things work together for good for those who love God. (Romans 8:28)
  1. What does “good” mean? First, “good” is to be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29). We will be like him one day in sinlessness and purity.
  2. Second, being conformed to him, we will be in a position to see and praise him, the one who goes before us and is lifted above us. (Romans 8:29)
  3. The last good of Romans 8:28 is our final glorification. (Romans 8:30)

What Are the ‘All Things’? (05:30–11:03)

  1. All things — positive or negative, painful or pleasurable — are by his design, and sustained by him, and for his glory. (Romans 11:36)
  2. God will work all things according to the counsel of his will, and his will is for our good. (Ephesians 1:11–12, cf. Romans 8:28)
  3. Everything we need in this life will be ours, including painful things that are necessary to bring us to glory. (Romans 8:31–34)
  4. Even death is yours. Death itself will serve our ultimate, lasting death. (1 Corinthians 3:21–23)
  5. All our sufferings will serve our future glory. (Romans 8:18–22)
  6. All of our groaning will work together for our good (Romans 8:23–25). At least one way this happens is that suffering produces hope (Romans 5:3–5).

Study Questions

  1. Try to define “good” in Romans 8:28. Clearly, it does not mean comfort or ease or health or prosperity. So what does it mean here?
  2. When Paul says “all things, ” what kinds of things does he have in mind?
  3. Read Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 3:21–23, and Romans 5:3–5. Do those verses change or shape the way you read Romans 8:28? If so, in what ways?
Piper: “We will have everything we need in this life, including painful things necessary to bring us to glory.”

‘The Greatest Chapter’ Series

This lab is part of a series through Romans 8. Taking a verse or two at a time, John Piper unfolds the other-worldly realities in these thirty-nine verses, all along pointing out general, practical principles for understanding and applying the Bible’s meaning. Visit ‘The Greatest Chapter’ series page to see all the labs in this series.

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

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Q&A

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What is the bible verse that says God works all things for the good of those who love him ?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

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What verse of the Bible says 'all things work together for good'.

Roman 8:28- And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called to his purpose.


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