October 29, 2007
Morgan (Then Sings My Soul; The Children’s Daily Devotional Bible) devotes his pastoral heart to the well-known New Testament verse Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” First Morgan puts the verse in context and then dissects it phrase by phrase. He puts emphasis on the “fine print” fact that this verse isn’t “for universal distribution without conditions,” but is instead “only for those who meet the requirement of loving God.” Morgan moves beyond this oft-quoted passage to delve into the verses that follow, spending time on issues such as predestination and justification until concluding with Paul’s final words in Romans 8, “the most soaring, breathtaking poetry in all his writings.” Morgan also looks closely at verses in Genesis and Ephesians that add depth and detail to the Romans passage. He sprinkles real-life examples and hymn texts throughout, creating a Bible study book that is both profound and simple, loving and firm, hopeful and helpful. We have, says Morgan, “a God-given assurance that every single circumstance will sooner or later turn out well for those fully committed to Jesus Christ.” (Feb.)
THE PROMISE: How God Works All Things Together for Good
Robert J. Morgan
B&H Publishing Group
Bestselling author Robert J. Morgan (THEN SINGS MY SOUL) has developed an in-depth model for dissecting one of the Bible's most well-known and oft-quoted verses: Romans 8:28. "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God." This single promise, many theologians agree, could well be the most hopeful, vital and power-packing verse in the Bible.
As Morgan shares again and again in his text, every Christian has the opportunity to view his or her life and circumstances through the lens of faith, believing that even the vilest, most heart-wrenching occurrence eventually will be turned to good. Or, believers can turn away from God in the midst of their pain, refusing to exercise the power of their faith in His unfailing promises to bring a good result in His time and in His way. It is at this pivotal juncture that Morgan exhorts fellow believers to immerse their heads and hearts in scripture and believe.
Certainly, Morgan's experiences as a pastor, husband, father and friend have exposed him to life's tragedies on a regular basis. With real transparency, he recounts his own periods of emotional disbelief and heartache when the unthinkable happened to those he loved and has shepherded in his church. Yet Morgan doesn't leave readers wondering what happens next. He goes full circle and tells his reading audience both the before and after; how life must be lived in the now by faith, but in the "after" we frequently understand the purpose behind our suffering.
Each chapter offers multiple and engagingly written real-life accounts of people who faced circumstances so unthinkable that none believed it could be transformed into good. And by the story's end, God indeed brought about such benefit, personal growth and spiritual insight that the participants thanked Him for the trial. The author takes apart each key word of Romans 8:28 and details chapter by chapter what the words mean, how they fully impact other sections of the verse, and how all things do work out for our good.
Morgan then changes the focus a bit by delving into other parts of scripture, which he terms "echoes of Romans 8:28." Readers will become more fully cognizant of how God works things out in conformity to His will, for the good of others, for the deepening of the soul, for the spreading of the gospel, in situations where there are multiple distresses, and even unto death.
In a very appropriate way, Morgan closes his study of Romans 8:28 with a final word on what to do (and think) when it seems as if things aren't working out, by providing a careful and thoughtfully written expose of Psalm 44. Again, he takes apart each heartfelt cry of anguish and brings hopeful encouragement and timely perspective to today's pain. Christians will value and appreciate this deep look into the wondrous promise from God to make all things good, for its message is surely a timeless one.
--- Reviewed by Michele Howe