Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's My Good?

I so like to think no one is watching me in my front row spot on Sunday mornings. Honestly, I don't think about it which was apparent this last Sunday (if not all Sundays really). Let me write this disclaimer first - I really like all the songs we sang last Sunday. And, I'm a pretty big fan of the groups who recorded the 1st 2 songs we sang - I purchase & download their music, I listen to them on Spotify. Are there times, though, when you're singing a song - and you may be like me and really like the song - but there's just a line or two and you just have this thought: is that really correct? Is it true theologically?

I had that thought last Sunday. (here's where my thought about no one watching me comes in) I had a chance to ask Johnny about a particular line in a song during the welcome time. Just briefly. We agreed that maybe it wasn't completely correct and talked about it later that afternoon. Then, we got to another song and I had the same thought and just looked over at Johnny and laughed a little. He knew what I was thinking. Y'all, after 25 years of marriage sometimes I believe we read each other's thoughts. I kinda love that.

This blog post is really about 1 line in a song: "You make all things work together for my good." It's likely a reference to Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes." The message of the song is good. It's just that I think that verse is plucked out and misused - not in relation to that song but in general. How often do you hear someone say just that one little part, "God works everything for good..."?

I don't mean to be particular but I guess I'm spoiled because I've listened to such good, exegetical biblical teaching over the last 25 years.  I so much prefer hearing a message preached or taught from a passage of Scripture where context and truth is considered as opposed to someone making an outline of general truths and plucking verses out to make his or her point. Really, it's just a personal preference. The truth of the Bible is finite and verses really need to be considered in context. But I'm getting off topic because I really am stuck on the whole of Romans 8:28 and what it means.

First of all, God works all things for good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. John Gill wrote it like this, "those who work in concert with the will of God." I'm sorry, but a general thought of God working all things for good for all people is just not truth. We can't be out in the world doing whatever we want and expect God to work it for good.

Sometimes God's good may not look like what we expect good to look like. God can use trials and suffering for our good. Certainly when we are suffering or are in trials we don't think that's good. Romans 8:31 reminds us that God is for us! Sometimes what's good for us doesn't feel like good. Good has to be in line with God's purposes. The note in my Ryrie Study Bible notes that good is "conformity to Christ." When we get to the end of chapter 8 of Romans we find that nothing, absolutely nothing - death, life, angels, principalities, things present, things to come, powers, height, depth, any created thing - nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.

What if our good is just that and only that - we can never be separated from the love of God? Not the good we desire or expect but that God is for us and nothing can separate us from His love. That in the process of making all things work together for good we are made into imitators of Christ.

What's good has eternal significance. God's love never changes and we can't escape it. That's good. God is working out things in my life so I become more like Christ and that's for my good.

Now if I can just get the part right where I'm always working in the concert with His will that would be really good.

Serving the King,


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