Here is an excerpt:
The Apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 8:28 is one of the most cherished verses in all of Scripture. “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” The context demands that we understand the words to be referring to the sufferings of believers in the period of groaning and turmoil as we await the full realization of our adoption, the resurrection of our bodies (Rom. 8:18-27). But, it is important for us to come to terms with the fact that it is not simply the sufferings (i.e. persecutions, trials, tribulation, etc.) that are in view in the words “all things”–it is also the believer’s sin that works together for his or her good. This, of course, is not to say that there is good in sin, or that the believer is encouraged to go on sinning that grace may abound. Far from it, God commands believers to put sin to death in their lives. However, God’s wisdom in the work of redemption includes even working the sin and backsliding of believers together for their good. Consider several examples in Scripture:
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his comments on this passage, explained that the prodigal son wouldn’t have known the Father’s love and grace to returning backsliders if he had never left home for the far country. He wrote:
[For the believer the ‘all things’ in Romans 8:28′ “includes even our falling into sin, even our backsliding…God can turn it to the advantage of the Christian…when we truly repent He stands ready to forgive us…The prodigal son knew much more about his Father after he came back than he ever knew before he left home. He thought he knew before he left home but he didn’t. It was when he was received back, when he saw his father running to meet him–when he was yet a long way off–and embracing him. He never knew anything about this before. So you see, though he was quite wrong in leaving home and going to that foreign land–and all he did there in his riotous living–it was all wrong; but he was a very much better man at the end than at the beginning. He knew more about sonship; he knew more about his Father, he knew more about his Father’s love.