28And 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, NIV)
Romans 8:28 makes it clear that God is at work for good in all things. Though God’s goodness might be experienced by those who do not recognize Him, the focus of v. 28 is on those “who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
According to this verse, we are called according to God’s purpose. The Greek word for “purpose” means “plan, purpose, resolve, will.” This word also appears in Ephesians 1:11, where it says, “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” In Ephesians we are “destined” according to God’s purpose. In Romans 8:28 we are “called according to His purpose.”
What is this purpose that led to our calling? It certainly includes God’s intention to save us through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. But God’s purpose is broader than salvation, as wonderful as that might be. In Eph. 1:10 we learn about God’s purpose “to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” Through Christ, God is saving, not just souls, but also the whole broken cosmos. God is restoring that which has been shattered because of sin.
Immediately following this astounding revelation, Ephesians notes that we have been “having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Eph. 1:11). God’s purpose is not only to save us from the destruction of sin, but also to enlist us as partners in His saving purpose. This is made even clearer in Eph. 3:10-11. There we discover God’s plan for the ages, namely, that “through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known … according to His eternal purpose that He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The people of God, you and I, are essential to God’s purpose of letting the whole cosmos know of salvation through Christ.
God’s purpose includes restoring all that was broken because of sin, as well as saving fallen human beings. Yet that’s not all of God’s purpose. His plan also calls human beings together as the church so that we might participate in God’s saving, restoring work in the world. His purpose for us involves saving us from sin and death and mobilizing us as His partners. Just as we were once charged with helping the world to be fruitful and full (Gen. 1:28), now we are charged with helping the world to experience the full salvation of God.
Because you have been called according to God’s eternal purpose, your life has an eternal purpose. Your calling is more than your career, your family, your creativity, or your volunteer work. It is God’s summons to join in God’s work in the world. The more God’s cosmic purpose resonates in your soul, the more you’ll be able to live into this purpose in your career, your family, your creativity, and your volunteer work. God’s purpose will shape all that you do . . . and all that you are as you walk in the good works He has designed for you (Eph. 2:10).
Gracious God, thank You that You calls us to be part of Your plan.
Let everything I do, Lord, glorify You as I walk in the good works
You have planned for me to do.