About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Instruments of Goodness


I often wonder how Christians perceive God as being good when they affirm that He is good, and that He is good all of the time.  The word "good" is a relative term.  Good may mean something different to you than it means to me.  The Apostle Paul used the word "good" in Romans 8:28 when he said this:       


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."


I believe Paul was saying that in all things, whether good or bad, God works for the good or the benefit of those who love Him and participate in His plan and purpose.  Does this mean we should expect God to lavish us with what our western culture calls the good life?  Are we entitled to claim, almost demand, from God everything our culture has taught us to be good?  Paul's life proves that is not the case.  In the midst of sorrows, stonings, floggings, imprisonment, hunger, and more, Paul maintained that God was working for his good.  Knowing Paul's life experiences, that makes no sense to our western-world mindset.       


The word "good" in Romans 8:28 is associated with love for God and our participation in the implementation of His purpose in and through our lives.  I suggest, then, that the word "good" as Paul used it here has everything to do with how God defines good.  It has nothing to do with how we may define good, and besides, I am far from convinced that we know how God defines any word, including the word "good". 


If we let Him, God can work His ideals of goodness into our lives through all that comes our way, whether good or bad, as we define good and bad.  We are thus instruments of divine goodness, not cultural goodness, in the midst of a world where goodness is simply self-centered. 


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