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.
according to His purpose [plan].
Christians have confidence in the outworking of God’s pre-temporal and concurrent purpose for time. Paul will discuss this point in the next three chapters (9-11). God’s purpose controls everything.
Ro 9: 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),
It is important not to interpret 8:28 as “everything will turn out okay.” Although the “good” is an eternal good and a temporal good, God’s eternal purpose is the principle. His purpose is grander than the mitigation of problems in life.
Eph 1: 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Eph 3: 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
2 Ti 1: 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
God directs the affairs of our lives toward His intended purpose.
God works in an all-embracing way in the circumstances of our lives. He works toward a “good” end. Knowledge of God’s working everything toward good carries encouragement.
Joseph is an example of how God concurs with affliction that comes on a righteous man. His brothers were exceedingly jealous of the attention their father gave Joseph. He was favored by his father. His life was pleasant until his brothers began to hate him and then sold him into slavery to Midianite traders.
The Midianites in turn sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt, where he became a slave. Falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife of sexually assaulting her, he spent two years in jail. God eventually raised him to political power and prominence in Egypt. God used him to save tens of thousands of lives in Egypt and other places during a famine. God’s hand was clear in all these reversals to bring Joseph to a place where he could save many people from hunger. All these adversities worked together for good. Joseph later gave witness to what God was doing:
Ge 45: 5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves [Joseph’s brothers] because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Joseph clearly knew the purpose of why God put him through all these trials.
Years later, after Joseph’s father Jacob died, his brothers were filled with terror, not knowing what Joseph would do to them. He said to his brothers that it was not they that sent him to Egypt, but God. Note that he said that God sent him to Egypt and made him a leader in Egypt. Once again Joseph put his life into perspective before them:
Ge 50:19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.