This verse, the “God works all things together…” verse, needs nothing other than its verse as the title for today’s post. Favorite verses are neither easy to preach or write about. A few comments can be made:
First, this verse is about those who “love God.” Now if you ask a 1st Century Jew about “loving God” one thing comes to mind: daily recitation of Shema (Deut. 6:4-5). It is the daily reminder an observant Jew, and the followers of Jesus in the form of the Jesus Creed, did to keep before them what was most important. That was loving God.
Second, for lovers of God, “all things work together” (the word is synergism and anyone who thinks this is The Clockmaker God of deism is simply mistaken: God is at work to bring things to their appointed end). That is, eventually all things come together as God plans.
Third, lovers of God are those who are called — and I’ll develop this in tomorrow’s post because this expression is unfolded in Romans 8:29-30.
Wright observes that 8:28 unfolds what has been said: it has to do with what happens in and to those who “love God” and who are “in Christ” and who are “in the Spirit” and in whom the Spirit is interceding.
The subject of “works together” could be God (subject of 8:27) or “Spirit” (subject of paragraph) or “all things” (KJV) or it could be intentionally unexpressed so that Paul can simply say “things work together.” If you press Paul on the latter, he’d say, “Of course, God is behind it all, but I just wasn’t that expressive.” Some early Christian mss added “God,” and they could be the earliest commentaries showing how they read the text.