Category: God’s Goodness

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 418

1 completed work of Christ

July 26

Two) Live by faith (cont.)

…Living by faith begins with faith applied to everything that Jesus has done for us in His death, burial, and resurrection.

There is no doubt that faith does have a future component. Scripture clearly teaches that our faith is applied to the Person of God and, often, to the promises He offers to us. The inspired writer of the letter to the Hebrews teaches us:

Hebr 11 6

But the essence of faith is founded on the principle of the character and nature of God – and the ultimate expression of His character and nature was demonstrated through Jesus’ redemptive work. We can trust God for future things because He has demonstrated His faithfulness in our past, through the work of His Son.

To “live by faith” must begin at the cross of Jesus and be applied because of His death, burial, and resurrection. It is through this work that God’s faithfulness is so clearly defined. It is because He has done everything that needed to be done to secure us as His devoted people, we can be assured that He will do everything that is needed in our future circumstances.

Christ did it all

True faith, Scripturally speaking, is not just “saving” faith – it is “living” faith. It is faith in what God has done, which gives us unshakable confidence in what God is going to do, each and every day of our lives. Faith, for each of us, must begin by looking back to our Savior and to all He has accomplished on our behalf. Although this is a faith that looks back, it applies to everything we believe in the here and now.

It is also this same faith that lifts our confidence into the future. The same God who supplied everything we needed for life and godliness will also supply everything we need for every situation we face in the future. This is our bold confidence in approaching God’s throne…

hebr 4 16

The God Who has shown Himself faithful in meeting our greatest need, will also show Himself faithful in every other need of our lives. Every true Christian should echo the apostle’s words: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 394

1 completed work of Christ

June 5

The Gift of… Everything (cont.)

Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2Pet. 1:4)

having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” This phrase is directly connected to the previous thought. In the fulfillment of being privileged to “participate” (connonly share) in the divine nature, we also (at that same moment and by the same divine power) completely escape the corrupting nature and power of this world.

escape

In the original language, this is a reference to something that has already been completed – something already a reality. Not only are we enabled to “participate” in God’s Own nature, but this “common sharing” of His nature accomplishes an indispensable subsequent effect. The work of Jesus has already fully enabled us to live our lives “having escaped” our slavery to sin. The gift of partaking in God’s Own nature also comes with the power to live our lives in complete victory over sin.

VICTORY-OVER-SIN

Sometimes Christians forget that Scripture confidently declares that the power of sin has been rendered powerless through the redemptive work of Jesus. This is exactly as the apostle Paul was inspired to record:

Romans 6 1-6

The gospel of the Kingdom of God tells us that the formidable prison of sin has been infiltrated by the power of a Holy God, its impenetrable gates have been forced open, and its prisoners have been completely liberated – “having escaped” this prison’s relentless and cruel captivity.

God has not only forgiven sinners, He has also liberated sinners.

Permanently.

Completely.

Set Free by Jesus

This is the immense power of the grace of God at work. The goodness of His very nature necessitates a full and complete provision for the task at hand. If our task and purpose, is to reveal God as He really is, then God is required, by His Own Covenant promises, to provide everything necessary to accomplish that task.

The New Covenant is the wonderful news of God’s full and complete provision to restore His people back to our original design and purpose.

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 390

1 completed work of Christ

May 31

The Gift of… Everything (cont.)

Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2Pet. 1:4)

In our current verse, two phrases describe God’s power-laden promises.

The first is translated as “very great.” The idea is that of surpassing or exceeding greatness. There is greatness – and then there are some things that go far beyond greatness!

Space

The apostle is led to use terminology that captures the grandeur and extravagant quality of God’s gifts. This is so often the nature of God’s promises to us – they are literally life-changing in scale and scope.

A second word is used to describe these exceedingly great promises given to God’s people – it is translated, here, as “precious.” In the original language, this word carries the connotation of extreme wealth, worth, and/or value.

riches

There are riches – and then there are exceedingly abundant riches! God’s promises are not just grand and magnificent, they are also of immense wealth, worth, and value to our lives. They are an extravagant treasure to be held in the highest esteem and honor.

The apostle’s focus is that God’s “very great and precious promises” make us a rich and supremely blessed people. It is through these two descriptive terms that we are to understand what God has done for us – and what He offers to us as His covenant people.

These “full promises” are in accord with the measure of the Person giving them. They are based upon the fact that there is One…

Eph 3 20

When we accompany the ultimate magnificence of Our God with the extensive greatness of the promises that truly reflect His Own splendor, power, and worth – then we begin to comprehend what the apostle is inspired to tell us. These promises are exceedingly great, and extravagantly valuable, because they are reflective of the unparalleled greatness and incomparable worth of Our God.

“so that through them…” It is through these “very great and precious promises” that our covenant with God is to be lived out on a daily basis. God’s promises are the means by which He extends His favor and blessing to us.

As covenant people, our task is to fulfill our commitment (our promise) to God, so in turn He will fulfill His “very great and precious promises” to us. The basis for our covenant with God is extremely simple. It is based upon our heart-surrender to His Kingship over our lives. He is the King. We are His devoted and faithful servants. Through our steadfast surrender and unreserved commitment to the Most High, His amazing promises unfold in, and through, our lives.

surrendered 1

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 388

1 completed work of Christ

May 29

The Gift of… Everything (cont.)

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.(2Pet. 1:3-4)

“by His Own glory and goodness.” This is where our hearts must abide. Ultimately, our objective as God’s people is to become enamored with God’s Person and character. The true Christian life does not flow out of human efforts in God’s Name – the true Christian life flows out of people who are deeply and passionately in love with God.

Two main aspects are the focus of those who truly love God…

glory of God“His Own Glory” describes Who He is in all His majesty and splendor. He is truly magnificent, beyond any words to adequately describe Him. God is infinitely majestic – and His incomparable magnificence captures the hearts of those who love him, in the core of their beings.

“His own Goodness” is a reference to what He does, and why He does what He does. God is Rainbow over wheat field, nature landscapeinherently good – and everything that is good, naturally proceeds from the goodness of His character. Those who love Him are captivated by His tender care, compassion, and concern. God cannot help Himself – He is infinitely good – and His goodness flows from His heart to all He has created (even to those who do not respond to, or recognize, His goodness!).

The apostle’s focus is that our divine calling is initiated, and extends, from God’s “Own glory and goodness.” Our response is to seek Him, and to know Him as He is, in all His glory and goodness – and to dwell in that “full knowledge.”

Our consuming passion, as true Christians, is always that God would be seen, known, and loved through how we reflect “His Own glory and goodness.” This is at the very center of God’s amazing provision “for life and godliness,” given freely to His people. His “Own glory and goodness” is the reason behind all the work He has done for us, through The Christ.

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 375

1 completed work of Christ

May 7

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His Own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)

The story is told of a man who was living a meager existence, struggling each and every day just to survive. But on one fateful day, this impoverished man received a life-changing notification in his daily mail. The communication revealed the existence of a distant relative, with great wealth, who had recently passed away – without any heirs to his estate. Being the deceased man’s only living relative, the rich man’s estate was bequeathed to this man of meager means. In one remarkable moment, a man of abject poverty became a multi-millionaire. All that remained was to step forward and claim what was now rightfully his.

last-will.jpg

But rather than claim his inherited wealth, the poor man threw the letter away, and went on living life as he had always done, from day to day – steeped in his poverty. He ignored or rejected all subsequent attempts, by the estate’s executors, to contact him. After some time, the notifications ceased coming. The poor man lived out the rest of his days, constantly struggling to survive.

Poor-Man

In the tale’s end, the poor man had been offered an incomparable fortune, but he refused to receive it. The man in rags had rejected his riches, and chose to live out his life in a constant stress and frustration. He had been offered means beyond measure – but made the choice to remain in his poverty.

We might conclude that a person who would make such a choice is terribly unwise – probably even foolish. To our way of thinking, it is senseless to continue to embrace our impoverished ways and refuse to live in great wealth when it is offered to us.

But in a very real sense, this is what so many Christians, all over the world, do every day.

We have been offered an inheritance of immeasurable wealth – but we continue to live our lives by our own impoverished ways and means. Scripture declares we are steeped in the abundance of God’s riches – but we live each day like we are spiritually penniless…

penniless

At the heart of the gospel message is the abundance of God’s goodness poured out to us because we have accepted the work (and the Lordship) of Jesus. This chapter explores all that God has done for us – and all that He has for us – because of the complete and completed work of Jesus…

Nine – Our Purpose, pt. 2 – p. 362

1 rule of God

April 16

Joy (cont.)

Concerning joy, the psalmist mentions one other thing of great importance. We don’t often think of it this way, but our relationship with God is immensely pleasurable. In the awareness of God’s presence with us, comes the awareness of what His presence brings to us. The Psalmist speaks of “eternal pleasures at God’s “right hand.”

Because of God’s loving relationship with us, He is moved to act in His power and authority on our behalf – to lead us, guide us, bless us, and surround us with His personal attention and affection. Those who truly know God, also know that He is not just to be seen as a King only to be strictly obeyed – He is an amazingly wonderful Person, in Whom we can delight, and find immense enjoyment.

pleasure-of-his-presence

And why not? He is good and kind, full of love, mercy and compassion, and abundantly eager to express these qualities towards those who draw near to Him. Why would we not find life’s greatest pleasure in the One Who made us, and Who designed us to respond so openly and delightfully to His Spirit? He is eager to love us, and the experience of connection to God’s unlimited and unconditional love fills us with an indescribable pleasure and joy.

The very essence of God’s love towards us is captured in the apostle’s words to the Romans:

open bible

The apostle is moved to remind us that in the midst of our most difficult circumstances, we are completely surrounded by God’s presence, and secured within His indescribable love. He has given us His sure promise:

“Surely I am with you always…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5; see also Deuteronomy 31:6-8)

Even in the midst of great trial and persecution, there is a profound joy in knowing that He is with us, and doing something valuable within us (and for us), in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves…

Nine – Our Purpose, pt. 2 – p. 339

1 Understanding our purpose 2 Rule of God

March 4

Jesus came to reveal The King (cont.)

Jesus came to put the King’s Person on display, to reveal His character and nature through all that He accomplished. This fact is confirmed in Jesus’ Own words:

John 14 11

Jesus not only claimed to be from the Father, and fully representative of the Father, He offered His Own actions as proof of His claim. Jesus’ works verified His words. Stated another way: His works gave irrefutable evidence that He was “The Word” of God Himself, dwelling among us. He showed us, each and every day, the character and nature of the One True King!

Jesus’ entire focus, in His time on this earth, was centered in one consuming passion: to bring attention to the One True King. One of the prominent ways He accomplished this passion was through the miracles He performed. It is so important to note that He did not come just to “wow” us with miraculous power – He came to offer us Himself, and His actions, as living proof of the unseen and almighty God and King. His wonderful works of healing, of deliverance, and of bringing life from death were the simple and undeniable proof of the power and intentions of the Great King of all kings. Jesus’ actions revealed the heart of the King to rescue, deliver, liberate, heal, and to make whole.

jesus healing man

Everywhere Jesus went, the “evidence of the miracles” exclaimed one loud and irrefutable truth: The God of heaven desires to rule over this earth – and in every place where He rules there is hope, healing, blessing, and wholeness. There is deliverance and freedom. There is comfort and peace. And there is life in abundance!

Jesus’ day-to-day ministry was a ministry of example and evidence: The Kingdom is here! Place your complete trust in the King, and He will bring you into the fullness of the blessing of His Kingdom. This was the assertion of our Master when challenged, by His adversaries, about His ministry of miracles: “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come to you.” (Luke 11:20)

Jesus’ mighty works were not intended as a performance in order to gather a crowd of followers. His mighty works were a demonstration of the very heart of the great King, Who sought to win the hearts of those who would see Him – and, in response, devote their lives to this loving and faithful King. At the very epicenter of all that Jesus did, was His desire to reveal the One True King and to display what His rule could accomplish upon this earth. Jesus did this by giving us example after vivid example of what this King’s rule would bring to our lives.

Eight – The Kingdom of God, p. 310

1 K of God ch 8

January 10

Real relationship with God begins with, and continues by, faith.

romans 1 17

But we must also understand that faith is more than just having faith in the fact that God exists, or that God is good. Faith must also be applied to the fact that God is able and willing to save, rescue, restore, make whole, strengthen, sustain, and provide for every soul who is living by faith in Him. “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Our faith rests in the fact that God is good. Our faith also rests in the fact that this good God is also the Almighty King over all things, and He desires to invest His goodness into our lives.

god is good

A good God, without the power to display and assert His goodness whenever He chooses, carries only a minimal benefit for the faithful. But a God Who is all-powerful, and good in all He desires to do, is a King worthy of our deepest devotion and highest praise. That is the kind of God we can unreservedly trust in the midst of whatever circumstances we may find ourselves. Scripture declares that this is the manner of King Who reigns over the Kingdom of God. He has displayed Himself as willing and able to extend the infinite magnitude of His goodness and power toward those who devote themselves to His love and care.

It is this kind of King that was the object of Job’s devotion. Job had discovered the secret to all of life in the fact that a full and complete surrender to the will of the King was the foundation for true life and blessing. Even when it might seem like our King has forgotten us, or even failed us, we can know beyond all doubt that we are in the perfect care of a good and powerful King. That is the place where true faith resides – it is a faith in the King who reigns perfectly and powerfully over all things.

god the king

Job’s perspective is essential for all who would seek a relationship with God, the King. He is God. He alone deserves to rule. His right to rule extends to everything we are, and everything we have. Our part is to accept His rule – even if we do not understand when hardship or tragedy envelops our lives. Our response to difficult and trying circumstances reveals the real ruler on the throne of our lives. If we are truly serving God, we are able to echo Job’s declaration of devotion to the King. But if our true heart is focused upon seeking for God to serve us, then we will be quick to cry out: “how could God ever let this happen to ME!” Our attitude and our words, in the midst of difficult situations, truly reveal who rules over our lives.

The book of Job teaches us an invaluable lesson in preparing us to receive the Kingdom of God. The true King is calling us to His Kingdom. He is calling us to embrace His rule over our lives. This is the foundational truth we must accept. This is the first thing first. True faith in God must flow out of the understanding that God is the King over our lives, and every facet of our lives. Job understood this truth, and lived by this truth. In the test of this truth, his tragic circumstances became a spectacle for all of heaven to observe – and all of us here on earth, to admire and imitate.

Eight – The Kingdom of God, p. 301

1 K of God ch 8

December 20

Jesus and the King’s will (cont.)

Second, Isaiah’s focus is centered upon what the true King desires to do for those who will recommit themselves to Him. Even in the midst of retribution for their unfaithfulness, The King’s deep desire is to restore His people back to Himself, and to reinstitute His loving dominion over their lives. He desires to reinstate His divine favor, or blessing, to their lives. The King’s will is to heal and deliver, to release and restore, to fill and satisfy, and to return His people to their proper place as His loyal subjects, faithfully serving their One true King. He eagerly yearns to return them to a state of dwelling in His divine care and royal favor. This is the heart of the Creator King, and the proper state of His Kingdom.

the-prodigal-son

We are not surprised to find that this is the supreme focus of the King’s Own Son when He came to visit us. The Lord Jesus came and pronounced His connection with Isaiah’s promise. He came as the true fulfillment of Isaiah’s words to bring the proclamation of the King’s favor to all who would embrace Him. He was sent (anointed) by the true King to accomplish the King’s will and to usher in the King’s Kingdom. He did not come merely with a message, but He also came with the power to bring what that message proclaimed.

Wherever He found broken souls in oppression and suffering, Jesus offered the deliverance and healing of the true King. To those in abject poverty, He came to proclaim and implement a Kingly decree of hope and divine provision and treasure – for only a Kingly decree could ever change their destitute situation. To those in bondage and slavery, Jesus came to announce and impose the King’s pardon and liberation – for only a Kingly decree can ever release the captives from their chains and prisons. To those in darkness, blind to any hope to ever again see the light, He came to bring the light of God’s absolute truth and to restore sight – for only an Almighty Kingly decree could bring a future and a hope to the blind and hopeless. To those beaten and broken by life’s unrelenting cruelty, Jesus came to bind up the broken, to heal the hurting, and to restore life in the midst of certain death – for only a Kingly decree could ever change circumstances and mend the broken, infirmed and impaired.

Jesus heals  jesus healing man  jesus-healing-the-sick

Everything Jesus accomplished, gave us an authentic look into the heart and will of God for humanity. Whenever He spoke, Jesus’ words resonated the truth of God’s Heart, challenging all falsehood, misunderstanding, deception, and pretension.

Whenever He ministered, Jesus’ works personified the will of God’s heart, changing, reshaping, restoring, and renewing the destitute, broken and helpless.

From the ministry of Jesus, we learn the invaluable lesson that God is a God of infinite love, Who deeply cares about our broken condition – and He is able and willing to do something about our helpless situations and circumstances. Through Jesus, we see the very heart of God and discover the wondrous truth that, in the midst of our hurts and sorrows, the King’s will is to reach out and touch our hurt and bring healing and hope to our lives. We find this affirmed so clearly in the pages of the gospels!

Eight – The Kingdom of God, p. 283

1 K of God ch 8

November 16

The Kingdom of God in the Old Testament

The essential concepts of the Kingdom of God are established in the very beginning of all things. Upon the creation of humanity (Adam and Eve), God sets the parameters of a Kingdom relationship. For any kingdom, there are certain things that are required: 1) A King to rule; 2) Subjects of the King; 3) Terms and requirements of the King; and 4) A territory of the King’s rule. All these things are a part of The Creator’s original design and setup.

When God, The King, created this world, He also specifically created a Garden in which to place His first subjects. This “territory” carries a special significance in that it was Personally “planted” by God Himself. We read: “Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed.” (Genesis 2:8)

garden-of-eden

In much the same way as the Creator had specially formed the Man (Genesis 2:7), He had also given special divine attention to where this Man was to reside. The term “Eden” literally means “delight” – so this special garden was a particular delight to God (according to His standards) and was certainly a magnificent delight to the Man He had formed.

Scripture makes the point to observe that at the very heart of God’s intent for this garden was pleasure and provision. We see that, “The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” (Genesis 2:9a)

trees-in-the-garden.png

This act of the Creator tells us that the Creator-King’s intentions are to supply the best of things to His people. God, the King, is good – and what He does, in relation with humanity, is a direct reflection of His goodness. This also tells us that the King does not just summarily demand servitude and obedience (even though, as Creator, it is something that He rightfully deserves) – He demonstrates His kindness, His favor, and His goodness, and then seeks the willing response of His subjects to His kindness, favor and goodness.

God is good

The fundamental foundation of the King’s Kingdom is the demonstrated best of all possible situations for His people. The guarantee of this foundation is the King Himself – everything that He does proves His worthiness to be lovingly and willingly obeyed.