Paul presents a powerful promise to a powerless people. It gives us confidence and encouragement. It should cause us to sing and rejoice. Evangelist R. A. Torrey (1856-–1928) said that the promise of Romans 8:28 “is a soft pillow for a tired heart.”
- The promise is knowable, comprehensible, plain (“We know”). It is beneficial to us. Not only is it certain -- else we could not know -- but we reap the benefits of knowing we have God's promise, that God is at work for our good.
- The promise is complete (“all things”). Not some things. Not a few things, but all things. All things are not good, but in all things God is working good.
- The promise is controlled by God (“work together”). Things do not haphazardly, randomly or accidentally work together. “God works” -- He is the cause of the promise and the cause behind the promise. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” Ephesians 1:11
- The promise is beneficent (“for good”). It confers benefits through God's kind action and benevolent purpose. We don't live in a world where things just happen, but where things happen for a reason, under the good hand of God.
- The promise is distinguishing, directed to a specific people (“to them that love God, to them who are the called”). God can do all the good He wants to anyone He wants at anytime He wants -- but this promise is not to everybody. It is to those whom God has called, to those who love God because He first loved them. These specific people can depend on it, all the time.
- The promise is intentional, directed for a specific purpose (“called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son”). God's work is “for good,” but that alone is not the sole purpose. God's purpose is also described as bringing those He foreknew and predestinated in conformity to the image of His Son. “...be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2