In the last few posts Paul had been discussing the hope and groaning that believers go through while waiting for the redemption of the body. Paul now turned to begin his explanation of why we go through this suffering.
Romans 8:28 (KJV)
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.
Paul first stated that all the things that believers go through are for good. This does not mean that believers only experience "good" things, but that God can take the most difficult and terrible things and use them for good. In fact, we can trust that God will only allow those things in our lives that are beneficial and fit in with His purpose.
Paul also said that these trials and difficulties are meant for good to them that love God and who are called. Paul was making the claim that all believers love God and are called. Unbelievers do not have this same assurance.
Many Christians have memorized this verse, but often stop before the final phrase. Believers are called according to His purpose. Health and wealth, and other, gospel preachers will teach that God will bless His children with whatever they desire. This often comes from taking Psalm 37:4 and other verses out of context.
Psalm 37:4 (KJV)
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Instead, God's main purpose for believers is His own glory. We bring glory to God by increasingly becoming more Yeshua-like and God will do whatever is best to achieve this goal. As God has promised, eventually we will come forth as refined gold ready for eternity. In other words, God is in the process of creating and saving a people for Himself. This is how we are called according to His purpose.
Paul continued his thoughts in the next verses. Stay tuned for the next post!