King James Version
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.
English Standard Version
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
New International Version
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 Commentary
All things working together for the good of those that are Christ’s. It might be objected that, notwithstanding all these privileges, we see believers with all kind of problems and afflictions; though the Spirit makes intercession for them, yet their troubles are continued.
It is very true; but in this the Spirit’s intercession is always effective in that, however it goes with them, all this is working together for their good. Note that those who are interested in this privilege are here described by such properties as are common to all that are truly sanctified. They love God. This includes all the out-goings of the soul’s affections towards God as the chief good and highest end. It is our love to God that makes every providence sweet, and therefore profitable. Those that love God make the best of all he does, and take all in good part.
They are the called according to his purpose, effectually called according to the eternal purpose. The call is effectual, not according to any merit or desert of ours, but according to God’s own gracious purpose. The privilege of Christians, that all things work together for good to them, that is, all the providences of God that concern them. All that God performs he performs for them, Ps. 57:2. Their sins are not of his performing, therefore not intended here, though his permitting sin is made to work for their good, 2 Chr. 32:31. But all the providences of God are theirs – merciful providences, afflicting providences, personal, public. They are all for good; perhaps for temporal good, as Joseph’s troubles; at least, for spiritual and eternal good. That is good for them which does their souls good. Either directly or indirectly, every providence has a tendency to the spiritual good of those that love God, breaking them off from sin, bringing them nearer to God, weaning them from the world, fitting them for heaven.
Work together. They work, as physic works upon the body, various ways, according to the intention of the physician; but all for the patient’s good. They work together, as several ingredients in a medicine concur to answer the intention. God hath set the one over against the other (Eccl. 7:14): synergei, a very singular, with a noun plural, denoting the harmony of Providence and its uniform designs, all the wheels as one wheel, Eze. 10:13. He worketh all things together for good; so some read it. It is not from any specific quality in the providences themselves, but from the power and grace of God working in, with, and by, these providences. All this we know – know it for a certainty, from the word of God, from our own experience, and from the experience of all the saints.