Tuesday, February 14, 2017

All things work together for our good.

God is in the business of redeeming and using our poor choices to bring about our ultimate good i.e. our best. So in this sense we can never mess things up. He will always bring about our best no matter what we do or don't do.

But the way he brings about good results from bad choices is by allowing us to suffer the consequences of bad choices so we might freely turn from them and draw near to him. In this way God always brings about our best through all things, even bad choices. But indirectly, not directly.

Good choices on the other hand bring about our best, directly. The beauty of being a child of God is he is always working in all things for our good, even the bad things and bad choices. 

Our good choices are always best and preferred because this is a direct pursuit of what is best. When we make good choices (i.e. obey) we are spared the *consequences that result from making a bad choice. But even if or when we miss making the right choice (which is always best), he is still working for our ultimate good through the bad ones i.e. he still uses the bad choices (all things work for good) to bring about our ultimate best. We are just not spared the suffering that comes with the bad ones. At least not automatically or as a matter of course. 

God is not uptight

God doesn't stress over our bad choices. He is fully in control and uses them to bring about our ultimate good and his ultimate glory. Nothing is bigger then God or can thwart his purpose, even our sin or evil. Our loss (short term) and suffering is real nevertheless. But it is our suffering, not his. He cares about us but looses nothing in the ultimate sense by our bad choices; only we do (at least short term and not in the ultimate sense).

Job 35:6  If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him? And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him? 7  If you are righteous, what do you give to him? Or what does he receive from your hand? 8  Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself, and your righteousness a son of man. 

A free choice is a choice of love

God desires us to turn freely to him, not out of constraint or obligation. God desires we choose obedience but freely. If it is not free it is not true obedience and not done out of love. When we freely obey him it is an act of love and not of constraint. 

This is why he allows us to make bad choices. They may be bad but they are ours. Just as good choices are ours. When we learn from our bad choices and make good choices as a result, that is also ours i.e. it is really us, really learning (even Christ learned obedience through the things he suffered. His suffering however was never from bad choices but from living in a broken world cause by our bad choices). 

Aren't we obligated?

We are obligated to obey God but not in the sense of doing so for his acceptance and love (i.e. do it or else you will be rejected) but in the sense of doing so that we might draw near to him, experiencing all the benefits and joy that comes with those good/obedient choices and bring him the greatest glory through those good choices.

Won't we miss his will if we are disobedient?

Even when you are out (of his direct will) you are still in (his ultimate overall will) because God uses your being out to bring you further in. To us a modern expression, it's all good. 

Direct or revealed will: his spoken word/commandments (our direct best from good choices).

Ultimate will: to make us more like his son (our indirect and ultimate best brought about through bad choices or circumstances as well as good ones).

Rom 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good (even if they are bad), for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For (here's the reason why...are you ready?) 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. 

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*Though there may be another kind of consequence for obedience i.e. persecution. The difference between this consequence and the consequence of violating our design (disobedience) is we are promised God will honor (reward) the consequences of obedience and not the consequences of disobedience.



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Grace to you
Jim Deal