God is Good to All

Acts 14:17   (KJV)   Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”

Acts 14.17 - God's Goodness to AllGod is good–that’s His nature. His goodness isn’t selective; He’s good to those who know Him and to those who don’t.  Him giving rain, fruitful seasons, food, and gladness in everyone’s heart testify to this.

God’s love and goodness encompass all His creation. We don’t deny the huge differences between believers and unbelievers, but there are also huge similarities between them. We’re all created by God; we’re all sustained by Him; God wants us all saved; He loves all and is good to all.

People can be bad, but God is always good.  People change; God doesn’t. His nature isn’t dependent on the way people treat Him. We His children do the same. We love even those who treat us as their enemies; we give–we bless even those who despise us. And we do this with joy and peace in our hearts knowing full well that our value and worth don’t diminish just because of others trying to belittle us.

God’s, Good, and Godly

3 John 11   (KJV)   11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

It’s good to have examples we can humbly imitate and instructions we can follow. And praise God, we have a great cloud of good and godly witnesses—faithful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ who have left us with footprints we can walk on, lives that inspire us to 3 John 1.11 - God's, Godly, Goodshine our lives for God’s glory and honor. We also have the inerrant and eternal Word of God lighting our feet and illuminating our path.

God has lovingly given us eyes to see and ears to hear. He has even given us the inner witness of the Holy Spirit so we can discern those we can’t physically sense. We see very clearly that not everyone who teaches practices what they teach; not all who say they’re Christians are Christians. Good tree bears good fruit; bad tree bears bad fruit; true Christians bear the image—the character of Christ.

We aren’t blinded by hypocrisy, duplicity, lies, and deception. Through God’s Spirit living in us, we can spot the fake. Some of them are extremely easy to identify. There is no disconnect between who people are as God’s children, and what they do. God’s children are good and do good. Those who produce rotten fruits—ungodliness or anti-godliness—be they attitude or actions—prove they’re not Gods.

Distinctions

Exodus 8:23   (KJV)   23 And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.

There are similarities and differences in the experiences of God’s people and the world. God determines which is which. The world isn’t disqualified from all of God’s blessings exodus-8-23-distinctionsand goodness; God’s people aren’t exempt from tragedies. God makes the sun shine on both; He makes it rain on both. But there is a time when in God’s wisdom, He decides to create a distinction between those who are His own, and those who fight against Him.

Those are so many things believers do that unbelievers do; there are even miracles they can imitate; demonic forces are supernatural beings capable of extra-ordinary feats. But they can only go so far; they have limitations; our God alone is omnipotent. But yes, there’s suffering in the world, and Christians aren’t exempt from suffering. In fact, there are additional sufferings unique to believers; we do get persecuted for our faith.

God has sovereign plans for His people that will be accomplished no matter what. God has sovereign plans for the wicked that will be accomplished no matter what. The godly and the wicked may share the same blessings and experiences here and there, but there’s surely a demarcation line in this. God has a different destiny for the godly, and a different destiny for the ungodly. We’re excitedly waiting for our ultimate “tomorrow” when the difference will be total and final.

Discipline: Of Saints and Sinners

1 Corinthians 5:12  (KJV)   12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

Should we judge non-Christians? That’s a rhetorical question. It’s a given: we’re not tasked or entitled to judge unbelievers. But we are definitely responsible for rebuking and correcting believers. This has to do with judgment and not about sharing the Gospel. That one calls for a totally opposite response. We share the Gospel to unbelievers, not necessarily to believers.

If we’re among those who have not surrendered our lives to the Lord Jesus, we won’t subscribe to the same commands, precepts, statutes, teachings, and principles that the Lord holds His people accountable to. We will live according to what we see as right in our eyes. We will make our own rules and laws; define what’s right and wrong based on our personal opinions and/or feelings, governmental mandates and/or positions. Each one will have different standards because every person is different. We will do ungodly things and will not see anything wrong with them. In fact, we may promote our ungodliness with the most intense activism because we believe we’re right.

On the other hand, if we’re believers, we ought to expect to live under a totally different set of standards. We have the Scriptures as our authoritative source for belief and life. We willingly submitted ourselves to the Lordship of our dear Savior Jesus and to His Words – His commands. We can and ought to definitely call each other to it if we ever sway from them, either in our doctrine or in our ways. Why? Because we have a standard we expect each other to abide by. This is something we can’t expect from those who don’t subscribe to the same faith as we do. If I am a sinner, I will sin. That’s my nature. If I’m an unbeliever, I won’t believe Jesus or His Word. I won’t live according to it. That’s expected. But if I say I’m a follower of the Lord Jesus, I ought to follow Him. That’s expected of me and all His followers. And if we don’t follow, we really ought to have the courage to confront and rebuke each other. And if necessary, even to lovingly discipline those under our authority.

Dear God, our great and righteous Judge, You have given us Your Words that we may know what to believe and how to live. Your Words and ways are perfect; they’re wise; they’re the Truth. Please help us to live according to Your precepts, to be willing to be corrected when we’re wrong, and to be bold in lovingly correcting those who err, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Unbelievers in our Destiny

Acts 21:32  (KJV)   32 Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.

A Roman commander was instrumental in saving Paul from very probable death. The mob purposed to kill him. They started the process; they beat him up. But when the news reached the Roman commander about a riot, he plainly yet responsibly disposed of his duty; he went and eventually saved the apostle. The commander was just doing his job, but he ended up being a part of the apostle’s destiny.

Never discount the potential role of unbelievers in our destiny. Not every unbeliever is out to get us. In fact, some of the worst oppositions, attacks, and harm we’ll experience may come from religious people – even fellow believers. Ouch! That really hurts and that’s really bad, but it really happens. Yes, bad things happen to good people and bad things happen between good people. And yes, good things may result from the works of unbelievers. God has shown us that He can and will bring into our lives anyone necessary for us to get to where God wants us to be, and to do what God wants us to do. It’s an awesome truth. God sends us to them to share the hope of salvation, and God sends some of them to us to make sure we get to keep on sharing this message. Let’s continue to love them, God does. Let’s appreciate them; they do a lot of good things – even for us – directly or as an after-effect.

Hallelujah!!! Oh the depths of the wisdom and ways of God! How amazing! Our God of love and wisdom, we honor you for the way you orchestrate everything for the best of everyone. How you are able to do it is a testimony of Your greatness. How marvelous; how wonderful!!! We love You. Happy Valentine!!! – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Dangerous Disbelief

Acts 13:41  (KJV)   41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

These were Apostle Paul’s words. He preached the Good News of salvation to his audience. It was a very clear message showing that Jesus was the Messiah who was spoken of in the Scriptures. He would come, He would die, and He would rise again. Paul repeatedly showed them that Jesus was the fulfillment of very specific prophecies about the Messiah and that Jesus’ experiences fit those prophecies perfectly. And then he encouraged and cautioned them to be careful and to avoid missing out on this eternity-changing truth.

There are people in the world who just won’t believe the truth. It’s not that they haven’t heard; it’s not that they don’t know; it’s just that they won’t believe. They have positioned themselves against God. They have sufficient proofs, but no convincing evidence is enough for those who have convinced themselves that no evidence is convincing enough. They are more concerned about how to discredit anything that has to do with God, to arrogantly mock God and those who believe in God, and to rally others to share in their obstinacy. But let’s beware. The greatest shock of their lives will come. By then it will be too late. Their disbelief in the truth doesn’t make truth untrue. Just because they didn’t believe in God here on earth doesn’t mean they won’t believe in God after “earth.” Just because they don’t think God exists doesn’t mean God stops existing. Just because they don’t believe in the final judgment doesn’t mean God stops judging. There are more than sufficient proofs. That’s why there are thoroughly convinced believers. Yes, there are blind followers, and that’s not right either. But there are those who have found that critically important intersection of faith and reason. Instead of being consumed with trying to defend our position and attacking those who believe differently, let’s us openly and humbly believe, live out, teach, and keep pursuing truth.

Dear God, You are Truth. We pray that there’s where our growth will be. Help us to not be arrogantly immovable in our beliefs when there’s a possibility that we may be wrong. Help us to be always willing to surrender our erroneous doctrines. But that will require us to be willing to accept that we may be wrong. Help us to humbly admit the reality of our imperfections – even in interpretations. As we keep desiring, adjusting to, and aligning ourselves to the truth, we’ll find ourselves in the right place and in the right track. Thank You for leaving us Your Word and Your Spirit to guide us into all truth, in Jesus’ Name, amen.