28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
to those who love God,
God identifies Christians by two concepts concurrently:
o “those who love God”
o “those who are the called.”
God limits to believers the good that He promised in the previous part of the verse. “Those who love God” are not a special class of believers who love God more than others, but are simply believers. The description here is from the divine viewpoint, from God’s view of them as people who are “called.”
to those who are the called
The phrase “to those who are the called” added to “to those who love God” further describes the aspect of what believer means in each phrase. The “called” phrase clarifies the meaning of believer. Our love for God is due to the idea that He called us to salvation according to a plan. The “called” are those who have received an invitation and accepted it. They are of the “whosoever will may come” group.
The calling here is a summons that persuades people to respond with positive volition toward God. Those whom God called, He justified. However, justification cannot happen without faith (3:21ff; 5:1). God called us and brought us into His fold; He evangelized us by drawing us to Himself.
Ro 8: 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
God’s call and human freedom work together in perfect concert.
The essential rationale for all things working together for the believer’s good is that God’s purpose was to call us to ultimate salvation, the end of all things. This cannot be unfulfilled because of God working in a concursus way. God is the primary cause and His creatures operate as secondary causes. Although God providentially cares for His creatures, He must concur with everything that a creature does. Even though His creatures have causal ability, God must concur with them.
The idea of concursus is not entire dependence on God, because He gives us the authority to choose and act. However, the human being does not have absolute freedom to choose; God places events, people, and situations into our lives to direct us towards His ultimate end. Under this idea, God is the ultimate cause and people are secondary causes.
People do not have the primary and unconditioned right to determine the direction of their lives; they operate within the general concurrence of God. Therefore, God does not operate the same in relation to all kinds of events. He relates to the material universe in one way and to free agents in another way. God relates to those who operate in His will in one way and to those who do not in another way. He always functions in grace toward believers and He must relate to non-believers according to His eternal and unchangeable attributes.
Again, all of this does not deny human free agency; we act freely with choice. God does not coerce individuals. There is no contradiction between God’s sovereign providence and free agency.
o God does not deny the right of choice (secondary cause).
o The Bible admits the distinction between God’s providential concurring and free agency.
o The Bible denies that God’s concursus operates in the same way with righteous and with sinful acts or events. God is not the author of sin.
o Human free agency is true and real; man is no automaton and can originate actions of his own volition.