The goodness of God overwhelms me sometimes. It hasn’t always, though. There have been many times when I was indifferent, untrusting, or oblivious to his incredible goodness. His goodness, however, isn’t contingent upon my acceptance, belief, or awareness of it. That’s what’s so good about it!
I used to think that God, in his holiness, was very very angry at this awful, disgusting, sinful world. I think I almost even believed (if I was honest) that God liked it when we messed up so that he could take his anger out on us. I actually believed that God not only expected, but maybe even wanted me to fail. He wasn’t really for me. I was too sinful. How could he be FOR someone so sinful? Surely he was, in actuality, against me. It definitely felt like it sometimes.
Thank God, I was wrong. My theology–and I knew a lot of theology–was wrong. As it turns out, God is more loving, kind, and good than I ever thought possible. I would have likely said these words to you even before, but they wouldn’t have resonated deep in my spirit. These aren’t just theological attributes of God that I cling to in my mind and declare with my lips. It is the very substance of who he is and I have encountered HIM! I’ve experienced his personal love, kindness, and goodness for me. Do you know that he has a portion of his love on reserve for you? He will not give it away to another. He has encounters with his presence, with his heart that he has designed and prepared just for you. He longs for you to receive them. Encountering him will ruin you for anything else in this world. His love is better than life. I would give up anything to receive more of him. He’s that good. He’s intoxicatingly, invigoratingly GOOD! It’s his heart! These aren’t just cliche sayings. He’s more loving, kind, and good than I will ever comprehend in all eternity, but I delight in knowing that he will spend all of eternity revealing more of his heart for me! Yipee!
He really is for us. He never desired for a single one of us to perish. God is love. God is love. God is love, beloved of God. From the moment we came under the curse of Satan until now, God has not ceased, he hasn’t even taken a break from his perfect plan to restore everything that was stolen from us. We are his children. None of us are accidents. Each of us was made and is loved by this God, our Daddy. Now that Jesus has come, his anger against us is gone. Completely gone. It has taken me months to believe this.
He is not angry at you. You are not a disappointment to him. 1 John 2:2 says, “He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but for the sins of the whole world.” I used to feel like he was so disappointed, so angry at me when I made mistakes. I was doomed to be a failure it seemed. He was judging me, waiting for me to mess up. It was just a matter of time after all, right? No, beloved. That’s the job description of the enemy. If you feel this way, you are listening to and agreeing with the wrong voice. The enemy watches us like a hawk and accuses us of sin. He points the finger at us. This is the accuser of the brethren, but not our God. God pointed the finger at Jesus as he bore ALL sin on the cross. It really is finished. He forgave all of your sin before you ever committed a sin. If you are in Christ, you are a new creation that is no longer a sinner by identity. There is no wrath and no condemnation for you and there never will be. Period. You are a saint, a prince, a princess, a holy one. Holy isnt just how he sees you, it is WHO you are whether you are able to believe that right now or not. When you make mistakes, he loves to pick you up. He delights to dust you off, set you on your feet, smile at you and say, “Try again.” He is more concerned with you learning that you are loved than he is concerned with you learning how to do things rightly.
When you look at yourself, who do you see? Whose decree are you agreeing with concerning yourself? God’s or Satan’s?
He has been for us from the beginning and he will see it through to completion. He loves you more than you love yourself. He speaks more kindly of you than you could ever imagine. He wants you. He longs for you to experience the fullness of his goodness, his joy, and his abundant life that is yours in Christ Jesus. I want to close looking at a passage from John 16:7-11. Jesus is talking to his disciples preparing them for his departure:
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
I won’t unpack all of this in a tiny blog post, but there is something that I MUST share. The Greek word for “convict” means convince. If you have grown up in the church like me, you have probably been taught that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to convict you of your sins and all the ways you need to improve. Look at the grammar in this passage though. Remember that he is speaking to his disciples (representative of all believers). Note the words I have put in red. For conviction of sin, he says, “they”, not “you”. Conviction of sin is for the unbeliever in order to become a believer. He says judgement is for “the ruler of this world”. Judgement isn’t aimed at people. God desires none to perish (hence, why Jesus gave the great commission). Judgement, his wrath is upon Satan. Beloved, if you are in Christ, neither the conviction of sin nor conviction of judgement are for you! In speaking to his beloved disciples, the only time he says, “you” is when he discusses the conviction of righteousness (or right standing before God). The Holy Spirit’s role is to convince you of your righteousness, your holiness. His role is to teach you who you actually are as a new creation. His role is to reveal the Father’s transforming love in and to you. Telling a Christian over and over where they are messing up will lead to legalism and mere external sin management. Telling a Christian who and whose they really are and how immensely loved they are will change them from the inside out. Which sounds more like the Holy Spirit’s role in a believer’s life?
Beloved, God is good, he is love, and he is for you. I pray you embark on a journey of knowing his heart for you in a deeper way. Thanks for reading. Bless you.