Do all things work together for good?

Episode 3

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Carl Joseph

Carl is a biblical scholar, minister, husband, father and life coach. In his mid-twenties he had a powerful encounter with God and saw miraculous healings as a result. He passionately shares these stories and empowers others to fulfill their God-given potential.

Never has a bigger lie been spoken than, ‘all things work together for good.’ Whenever it comes to biblical interpretation, context determines meaning. If ‘all things are working together for good,’ then God is complicit with murder, rape, kidnapping and fraud which are all supposedly ‘working together for good’ according to some Christians. This is offensive to a loving God who died for our sins. In this podcast we shall study Romans 8:26-28 and reveal that things are working together for good, only for a specific set of people who qualify. Join Carl now for this revealing podcast…

Here is a complete transcript of the podcast…(below)

“Well, you know what the Bible says, what’s that you might ask? That all things work together for good, or at least that’s what someone told me the bible says. Well friend, I’ve been witness unfortunately down the years, especially at funerals to some of the most bizarrely unscriptural consolations offered to the grieving families of those who’ve died tragically in some accident or other. Let me paraphrase what some ministers have said, “Well we don’t really know why uncle Bob and aunt Sue and their 3 kids died in the car wreck, but we know God has a plan and the bible does say God works in mysterious ways. Perhaps God needed some more angels in heaven so we’ll never quite know why they went home so soon.”

Friend, this is nothing but religious drivel! Think about it for a moment; what a bizarre and needlessly dis-compassionate statement. Sometimes the minister would offer consolation by sharing this scripture (Rom 8:28), stating that ‘all things work together for good,’ so they needn’t worry because God has a plan in the big scheme of things. Now, let me park the bus right here and right now by saying, that God is not the author of death in this dispensation of Grace, better known as the church age. No Friend, Heb 2:14 makes it plain that the devil has the power of death, not God. In Acts 17:25-28 and 1 Tim 6:13, it clearly states that God is both the author and sustainer of life not death! For Him to be party to killing folk or especially his children, would be in complete contradiction to His word. Jesus also stated in John’s gospel the tenth chapter, that it’s the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came that we might have life and more abundantly. So, friend, let’s not get them mixed up.    

The passage in question, that I’m talking about today is namely (Rom 8:28) and the focus of our discussion. It says “all things working together for good” But if we read this passage in its proper context, it’s talking about prayer and specifically ‘praying in the spirit’ and no other topic. The context of; ‘all things working together for good’ can only be attained if certain prerequisites are met and these are laid down within the text. The incorrect hermeneutic of taking simply one passage and making a doctrine out of it, is clearly implausible and downright misleading. The Bible says that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses every word is established and it’s the same when establishing doctrines in God’s word, we need several scriptures to establish orthodox doctrine. God plays no part in tragic events that end in death, trauma or destruction, though He is ever ready to assist or deliver us from them at any stage, should we seek Him. Even though some might quip God works in ‘mysterious ways,’ He never sanctions or authors evil for His own benefit or His children’s, but evil is unfortunately an inherent part of this world, until Christ returns to set up his kingdom. Evidence of this is found in 1 Jn 5:19, where it says, “that the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One.

We should also realize that we can gain a better understanding of God’s ways by reading His word particularly; consequently, His ways will not be so mysterious to us after all. A cursory knowledge of the Bible reveals that God never sides with evil, to produce his desired outcome but there are certainly bad consequences for some people’s decisions in this life. People have unfortunately been severely and emotionally traumatized and their trust in God shattered by religious quips at funerals, which literally make God out to be a murderer. Statements like these are a gross affront to God’s character and integrity and display nothing but the ignorance of the minister who espoused it. God gets blamed for so many things in this world that He has nothing to do with. The devil also gets far too much credit also for things that should have been resolved with diligence like checking car brakes or tire pressures, following safety codes or taking fire precautions, etc.

Tire blowouts are not always ‘the work of the devil,’ but running them too low is often the common cause for blowouts. I’m not discounting the numerous machinations of Satan and his minions, which can do bizarre things on occasion but our general attitude however in daily living, should be one of diligence, which is a key component of successful living and is spoken of extensively in the Book of Proverbs. We live in a cursed and sinful world. We have also been redeemed from the curse of the law by Christ Jesus which is poverty, sickness and spiritual death but we have not been redeemed from the curses in the earth and as a result this creation is prone to accidents from time to time, as the bible states.

If a God who warns his people not to do evil or succumb to its temptation, then utilizes that same evil for His own means, then He has become the ultimate hypocrite. It’s most assuredly not God’s will that any Christian suffer these tragic events, if they’re listening to the Holy Spirit and His warnings. But if they do occur, these events are definitely not ‘working together for good’ as some claim, when we consider the aftermath of both the physical and psychological suffering inflicted upon the victims and their families. The loss of an entire family in a traffic accident is just awful and possibly could have been avoided through safety precautions and by heeding the warnings of the Holy Spirit but if it occurs, we can’t blame God for it, or posit that it’s all a part of his mysterious plan. Some Christian leaders have succumbed to cowardice and given into religious excuses in public forums to obfuscate the real cause of tragic fatalities to people within their congregation.

These accidents are a manifestation of the ‘cursed earth’ in which we live (Gen 3:17, Gen 8:21), as evidenced by the fall of the Tower of Siloam in which eighteen people died or witchcraft that empowers the demonic realm when Pilate mingled blood in sacrifices and caused the death of Galileans. Proper maintenance of machinery can also assist in avoiding accidents that lead to tragedy and mitigate the curses in the earth. These topics are covered in the first part of Luke chapter 13, and I would urge you to read these accounts for yourself. Christ offered no insight into these tragedies or claim they were a part of ‘God’s mysterious plan’. Now let’s read this passage in its entire context from the KJV of the Bible (Rom 8:24-30):

“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

As with all good examples of exegesis, the answer to this puzzle of what precisely causes, ‘all things to work together for good’ is found in the context of scripture. The verse, Rom 8:28 is talking about prayer and no other topic. Verse 26 begins with the fact that we don’t know how to pray but the Holy Spirit does, and He assists in praying or supplicating on our behalf, as we pray in tandem with Him. The onus, therefore, is on us to pray, and He provides the words, but if we don’t pray, then He is unable to assist us. The Greek word for ‘intercession’ means: ‘to plead on behalf of another, act as a mediator or personally make petition. In this passage, the Apostle Paul is asking the Romans to pray in the Spirit potentially for three groups: 1) for themselves, 2) for other Christians and 3) and for non-Christians. The Spirit is groaning on our behalf, and provides utterance for us, but we must utter what He provides, or it is no prayer at all. The Spirit is pleading on our behalf or someone else’s, according to God’s will. Only when this has been accomplished, do ‘all things work together for good, for those who love God AND are called according to His purpose.’

Now The Greek word ‘infirmity’ does not mean sickness in this passage (v.26) but it can mean sickness in some rare instances of scripture elsewhere. Its purest definition however is ‘weakness‘ and that is how it’s translated in the AMP, CJB and NASB. It can also mean impotent, which means ‘lacking in strength, vigor or power.’ On a simplistic level, sick people go to an infirmary to be lodged and treated, not an infirmity. Infirmity means ‘weakness’ or ”inability to gain success’ in the modern vernacular. The same root word is used in Jeremiah 6:1 and describes a ‘stumbling block,’ which would be ‘an obstacle to progress, or an impediment to belief or understanding.‘ In a nutshell the Holy Spirit basically helps us overcome our obstacles to progress in our Christian walk and any hindrances to our understanding about a situation when we pray in the Holy Spirit. The point being is we don’t know how we should pray about certain situations but when we pray in the Spirit; God helps our inabilities and weaknesses. Praise be to God for such an awesome gift.

Looking at the word structure of this passage the conjunction ‘and’ in verses 27 and 28 joins all these sentences together. So, both verses 27 and 28 follow on from what was said in verse 26. ‘Praying in the spirit’ helps our infirmities (our inability to gain success) and by praying this way, we’re praying the perfect will of God for our lives. Only then, once these conditions have been met, can God cause ‘all things to work together for good.’ Accidents, terminal diseases and sudden death are not spoken of in this passage nor are they labeled ‘good’ anywhere in the Bible, no matter how mysterious or synchronistic they might appear. These verses start out by discussing ‘praying in the Spirit’ and have nothing to do with car accidents or sudden deaths that some suggest is God working ‘mysteriously’ behind the scenes.

All things’ do not come from God; the scripture simply states that ‘if’ we pray in the Spirit, we know for sure that we’re praying the will of God for ourselves or others, And, ‘if’ we love God and ‘if’ we’re called according to His purpose then and only then, will ‘all things work together for good.‘ Friend, we have to take the context of any passage of scripture that we read, and we simply cannot take something away from it that it does not say. Christianity is not like Islam, where they believe, “All is as God wills it“; this is a fatalistic view. All things do work together for good but only precisely as God’s word describes it will and no other way.”

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