“We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose.” — Rom. 8:28
This chapter is like a string of pearls, every one of them more precious than another; if we might loose the string, and single out this one from among the rest, to take a particular view thereof, we may find an immense worth and preciousness in it. The whole of this chapter is consolatory; and holds forth some special grounds of consolation for supporting justified and sanctified ones against all evil whatsoever. We may take up the substance of the chapter in four heads.
1. We have comfort against the condemning sentence of the law, in the beginning of the chapter, to the fifth verse. Such as have union with Christ, have no reason to fear the dreadful sentence of the threatening part of the law.
2. We have comfort against indwelling sin that adheres even to them that are justified and sanctified; for, it shall never hinder the indwelling of the Spirit here, nor the glorious resurrection of the body at the last day, nor the eternal happiness of both soul and body; from the fifth to the seventeenth verse.
3. There is comfort against all afflictions, crosses, and tribulations in this world; from verse seventeenth to the thirty-third.
4. Not only comfort against all adversity, but against all adversaries whatsoever, and against all charges and challenges, insomuch that believers are brought in triumphing in the God that justifies, so as none can lay anything to their charge.
The chapter begins with no condemnation to the believer; and it ends with no separation from Christ; and, to be sure, the top stone has a solid foundation, for nothing can be more certain than this. That there is no condemnation to them, as to whom there is no separation from Christ.
This text is one of the pearls of the third part of this chapter; and it contains a sum of the believer’s comforts. There are two things especially that hinder the comfort and consolation of a Christian; the one is sin, the head of the serpent; and the other is affliction, the tail of the serpent: against which the apostle brings a sovereign remedy, taken from the providence of God, which is the daily executor of his purpose, “Working all things according to the counsel of his will,” and making them the means to help forward the happy end; nothing shall hinder, but rather everything shall promote their spiritual good and eternal happiness, “All things shall work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose.”
The words contain two general parts. We have, 1. A divine consolation, encouragement, and privilege; “We know that all things work together for good.” 2. A due limitation or restriction, specifying the objects to whom this comfort pertains; it is to them that love God and are the called according to his purpose.