Summary: God calls us to a partnership in causing all things to work together for the good He has purposed us for.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
If this is not the most frequently misquoted verse of scripture it must be close to the top of the list. You’ll hear people say on occasion that money is the root of all evil. If you read your Bible you know how ‘off’ that is, so I won’t go into it now. If you don’t read your Bible enough to know then you need to read your Bible.
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. Well, taken out of context those words are in that order, but they are grossly misapplied; especially in movies of the Old West.
Then there are other things said that simply aren’t in the Bible, but many people think they are. “God helps them that helps themselves”. Bunk. Not only is it not in the Bible, the very thought contradicts everything the Bible says about God.
Well, here in Romans 8:28 is one that is said a number of different ways and applied to any number of contexts, most of which are wrong and/or incomplete.
One of my Bible College instructors said that he once spoke to a Pastor’s seminar, and before beginning his sermon he asked everyone in the audience to take out a piece of paper and write Romans 8:28 on it from memory.
The answers he got back were both astounding and a little discouraging, considering the profession of most of the people in the room. He said the wording of the verse, done from memory, varied from paper to paper. But the one thing that was common to all of them was that none of them included the first three words of the verse, “And we know”.
Well, I am years too late for that conference, and I’ll probably never know any of those pastors in that auditorium.
But in memory of that fine instructor who is now gone to be with the Lord and was always careful to stay faithful to the text, I will endeavor here to do some justice to those three words as we enter into the study of this verse today.
AND WE KNOW
William R. Newell, in his “Romans Verse by Verse”, points out that the term ‘we know’ is used repeatedly in the New Testament epistles in reference to those who are saints of God and as such know whose they are and where they are going in the surer, higher sense.
It tickled me that as though he didn’t want to come off harsh or too confrontational in his narrative, yet hardly able to contain himself, he added in a footnote at the bottom of the page:
“As for the ‘Modernist’, his shallow, ignorant, blatant boast is, ‘We do not know; we are not sure’, thus giving continual open evidence that he does not belong to that company of whom John writes: ‘We know that the Son of God is come and hath given us an understanding, that we know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ.” Romans Verse by Verse, William R. Newell, Moody Press, 1938, pg 328 (1979 reprint)
What causes me concern though is not the ignorance of the unbeliever, but the evident ignorance of so many professed believers in Christ and the Bible.