I think now I finally understand Romans 8:28... And yes, of course, it doesn't mean what most people read it to mean. The key, I think, is that in the phrase "all things work together for the good for those who love God", the word 'things' is not in fact in the Greek - an object is implied there because of the 'all'... usually translators just add 'things' on the end. However, there are three meanings of the word 'all' here are ambiguous in the Greek, and may not necessarily imply 'things'... so what could it be referring to?
Now suppose I said, "Robert, Jo, and Sarah were sitting at home. All went together to the supermarket." How would you interpret that? Clearly, you'd say: "Robert, Jo, and Sarah were sitting at home. They all went together to the supermarket. "
You would not, suffering from a rash of incomprehensible stupidity, say: "Robert, Jo, and Sarah were sitting at home. All things went together to the supermarket." No, you would be an utter and complete moron to think that all things - your toaster, your oven, your telephone bill, the theory of quantum physics, the deeds done to you, and the deeds you have done - ALL go together as one massive collective to the supermarket. No, you would think, "He's just been talking about Robert, Jo, and Sarah, so he probably means them." You'd realise the CONTEXT.
So why, after Paul has been writing about how the God helps people to do good things, do people suddenly think he's not talking about the God working together with people? There is practically no difference between saying "all things work together for the good of those who love God" and saying "all things went together to the supermarket."
Furthermore, how can we believe that "all things work together for the good of those that love God" when it is blatantly obvious that bad stuff happens to everyone - including those who love God? The bible even says quite clearly that bad stuff happens to good people. Most of the apostles were executed or imprisoned - countless early Christians were burned at the stake! Surely it takes a massive and completely ignorant leap of stupidity to say that such things were 'for their good'.
If someone held a loaded gun to your head and said - 'this is for your own good'... I doubt many people would believe it! Likewise, when a drunk driver crosses the centerline and makes a great person of God a tetraplegic, it would be the most insensitive, ignorant, senseless, false, and blatently dim statement to say, "oh, it's OK - it's all for your good." Some people go further, saying, "Not only is it for your good - but God wanted it, in fact, God did this to you just to make you a better person on the inside."
Tripe! I couldn't possibly imagine higher levels of stupidity.
It now seems exceedingly clear to me that Romans 8:28 says that the Holy Spirit works together with those who love God to accomplish good things. I doubt any Christian with a head even half-on would say this statement isn't true. And guess what Paul says - he says "We KNOW"!!! Certainly, all Christians know that the Spirit helps Christians to bring about good... surely that is 'working together'.
But don't you think it's a little strange to say "we know all THINGS work together for good" if there is a great multitude of evidence that seems to contratict his statement? You'd think perhaps he'd explain himself if he was saying something that seems to most sensible and unbiased people simply untrue!
So, this is but a small example of some of the things I am finding as I go through Romans. I am using the Greek as best I can, but I find the KJV usually follows it accurately - but lots of the words are out of use or have lost their original meaning. So, I'm using the Greek Lexicons (Thayer's and Strong's) and also looking at how the words are used throughout the whole NT. I also have a really mint (and really FREE) Interlinear Bible package which can be downloaded from here.
Alas, I fear many church doctrines these days have been fabricated over the decades or centuries to explain millennia-old sentenses they cannot understand. It has taken words that originally have quite a simple meanings and turned them into whole doctrines - with masses of literature to clutter the bookshelf, and clutter the mind into confusion. Fortunately, the core essense of the Gospel still remains - though dirtied by the mud of people's religious imaginations. It is there just as clear as it ever was, in the Bible and in people's hearts:
Don't devote yourself to pleasing yourself, because it will only destroy you. If you are devoted to yourself and not to God, you clearly do not want to belong to God. Instead, devote yourself to God and He will graciously accept you no matter what you have done, because it will lead to real life now and forever. This is what it means to belong to God.