What Exactly Is The “Good”?

Artist Studio: James Cospito / Dumbo Arts Center: Art Under the

Artist Studio: James Cospito / Dumbo Arts Center: Art Under the

We know that God causes all things to work together for good for his children. But what exactly is this “good”?

Is it earthly pleasure and comfort? An easy and prosperous life? No. Romans 8:28 must be viewed in context of verses 29 and 30:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.? For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (RO 8.28-30)

So what is the “good” that God is working in us? Ultimately, God causes all things to work together to:

  • Conform us to the image of Christ
  • Bring us into closer fellowship with himself
  • Sanctify us
  • Make us patient
  • Make us compassionate toward others
  • Teach us to trust him
  • Prove and purify our faith
  • Deliver us from temptation and sin
  • Wean us from the world
  • Make us long for heaven
  • Produce endurance in us
  • Drive us to the Word and prayer
  • Humble us
  • Teach us contentment in Christ
  • And ultimately to glorify himself through us

These things are our “good” – and what could be better than being conformed to and knowing Christ?

photo by see-minglee


  • Tom says:

    Mark, you must have some prophetic gift….cause that was incredibly apt!!!

    I've been listening to a song by Chris McClarney all week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFMwsFbg1oM – and it has the verse "You make all things work together for my good" during it. I can't get it out of my head and I've had times to think on it this week and try and trust it and believe it.

    Often reminded that God's best for us isn't our best for us, it is better. It can just take a lot to really trust that and live in that trust.

    Thanks for the great word, here on Monday morning in the UK.

    Have a good week.

  • BethAnn Laub says:

    Wow, so timely for me as well, thanks, Mark. Your list could be my list…"Ways God is Working in my Heart & Life"….NOW! (said Jack Bauer style, of course!). It's overwhelming at times, this Christian walk, but comforting to know that it IS all for good. Thanks for defining and clarifying the "good". That really made sense to me this morning. So many ways I need to grow and change. I'm so glad God is in control, what could I ever accomplish? Just going to continue to trust & obey, as the old hymn says. May even print out your list and d post it on my fridge! Have a great day! Thanks for all you do! BethAnn

  • Tai Sophia says:

    That was great! Our pastor just talked about this in his sermon yesterday.

  • @paultu1985 says:

    Good stuff! I'm always so quick to assume that "our good" includes selfish gain or self preservation, which it does not. God is consumed with displaying His glory, and amazingly enough, "our good" is ultimately the glorification of God in Christ. Convicting for me though is to consider that "my good" is daily being fleshed out in the circumstances and situations of life, but I am blinded to God's perfect will by seeking my own glory.

    "All things work together for good" is always working – but our ability to see it and appreciate it depends largely on our overriding desire for the glorification of God.

  • lisa says:

    Good, good stuff.

  • Petra Hefner says:

    Earthly pleasures, ease, and comforts are what I think most of us secretly wish we could have, and oftentimes God's mercy grants us comforts we don't really deserve. However, the good that God works in us is for our ultimate best, even if we don't agree and kick against the goads. Thanks for the reminder! I may print or memorize your list to have handy to keep from fleshin' out!

  • Megan says:

    Ok, except for the last bullet point – I believe God's 'ultimate' is to totally display His glory through us, therefore glorify himself, NOT US.

  • Elaine says:

    Wow! @bethann – posting on the fridge is a high compliment at our house! :-) I may follow suit.

    When I worked as a pediatric nurse, I would often have to serve as a witness for doctors when obtaining consent for procedures which sounded completely barbaric but which were designed for the children's physical good. I know it is simplistic but the Lord reminds me of those times when He is walking me through a difficult situation. And it is a walking through – He never abandons us but always carries us through.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Mark.

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Excellent Megan, I'm going to change it – tho what I meant was that in Ro 8:30 God says he glorifies us, but you are correct his Ultimate is his own glory. thanks!

  • @pmckinney04 says:

    It is pretty awesome to know that God has determined that I should be conformed to the image of Christ.

    This definitely helps in motivating me to be more serious about being conformed to the image of Christ.

    Thanks for this post, Mark.

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Thanks Tom! I'll have to check out the song. I like what you said – "God's best for us isn't our best for us, it is better." Great way to put it.

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Thanks so much BethAnn! I'm grateful you were encouraged. I'm glad God is in control, too, and that he knows what he's doing!

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Hi Tai, God must be underlining this for you!

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Hey @paultu,

    Excellent point – our good is "daily being fleshed out in the circumstances and situations of life." We always need to remember this.

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Thanks Petra! You're right – so often we "kick against the goads" which God gives us for our good. I want to quietly and contentedly submit to all God's good will.

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Hey Elaine – great illustration! Thanks!

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Hey Patrick,

    Yes, what could be better? Thanks!

  • Caroline says:

    Me agree wid Tom too, definitely have a prophetic gift. Was meditating on the same verse this morning. The list will not go on my fridge but on my personal soft board at work, to remind me always what God's "good"is :) Thanks

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Hi Caroline,

    I don't know if I have a prophetic gift, but I'm grateful that the post encouraged you! Thank you for letting me know.

  • Chris Land says:

    I know for me God works a lot of good for His glory and my growth. I have to remind myself that even in tough ministry times, which I am dealing with, God does work everything out.

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am sorry to hear that you are going through tough times in ministry–I have been through plenty myself–and you are so right, God does work out those tough times for his glory and our growth. It is so great that you know this! And for you to go through tough times trusting God brings him much glory!

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