|Volume 17 Number 1 January 2015||
Mark N. Posey
I was taught to pray, “God is Great, God is Good!” We sing and pray about it. Paul identified the “goodness of God” as a motivational factor in repentance (Romans 2:4). David said, “For the Lord is good, His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). What involves God’s Goodness?
God Is Infinitely Good
Infinity is the term used to describe something that cannot be counted or measured, and God is certainly limitless and immeasurable (2 Chronicles 2:5-6; Psalm 145:3; Jeremiah 23:24). God is good because this is His nature, and He is the standard of moral right. Yet, He also allows evil to exist. He is not the source or promoter of evil; He is the everlasting giver and demonstrator of goodness. His goodness is demonstrated by giving Jesus as the sacrifice for sin (1 Corinthians 5:7).
God Is Intrinsically Good
Intrinsic is the term used to describe something that is good-in-itself (i.e., good by itself). Thus, intrinsic good is good for its own sake alone; it is not a means to an end. It stands alone as being good, needing no aid or assistance. God’s “goodness” cannot be measured by human standards. It is so perfect and composed of so many numerous and diverse features or facets that it cannot be altered by outside forces. His “goodness” is eternal (Exodus 33:19; 34:5-6; Psalm 27:13; Matthew 19:17). God stands alone in supreme goodness.
God Is Instrumentally Good
Instrumental is the term used to describe something that leads to some other good (i.e., education leads to success; money leads to retirement, etc.). Outwardly, the goodness of God leads to humility, unity and service (Philippians 2:1-4). Inwardly, the goodness of God leads to His riches, forbearance and patience (Romans 2:4). David said, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Thus, God’s goodness fortifies our hearts, souls, minds and strength to focus on eternity, not on the pleasures of this world (Colossians 3:1-4).
The stanzas of an old refrain say, “God is so good; He’s so good to me.” We can all sing this song because He is good to all of us personally, in ways that meet our specific and individual needs. The provision of salvation is the great manifestation of God’s Goodness, so that we can truly say, “God is Good – All the time!”
First and Foremost!
Mark N. Posey
The word “first” pinpoints priority; it identifies the importance of success and happiness. Remember, success is getting what you want while happiness is wanting what you get. The “first things” in life declare what’s most important. Thus, what are the most important things to a Christian; what’s first?
Give God the first hour of each day. Begin each day listening to God (i.e., reading the Bible) and talking to God (i.e., praying to God through Jesus). Prayer and Bible study are irreplaceable. They are not mutually exclusive; they are totally and completely dependent one upon the other. Thus, meditate daily on God’s Word (Psalm 1:2) and pray with priority (1 Timothy 2:1).
Give God the first day of each week. Christians honor the day of Jesus’ resurrection: Sunday (John 20:1). We assemble on the “first day of the week” (Acts 20:7) as did the early church. We assemble each Sunday and remember what the Lord has done for us (1 Corinthians 11:24-25); we honor, praise and glorify Him (Revelation 4:11; 5:12). The exhortation we receive from regular and consistent assembling is strengthening (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Give God the first portion of your pay. Every blessing, physical or spiritual, is from God (James 1:17). He requires that we live as “faithful stewards” of all He gives us (1 Corinthians 4:2). Proverbs 3:9-10 communicates a powerful principle of priority: “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” God deserves our best, and our best are the firstfruits.
Give God the first consideration in every decision. Decisions are inevitable, and thus each one must be made with care. Joshua is exemplary in personal and collective decisions. In Joshua 24:15, he first chose for himself. Personal choice is decisive and influential. His first duty was for himself, and then he chose for his family. It is a powerful example when a man is able to speak for the decisions of his home. The greatest choice we can make, whether personal or domestic, is to obey Jesus.
Give God the first place in your heart. The object of our complete love (i.e., heart, mind, soul and strength) is God (Mark 12:30). Since God is in heaven, our affections (e.g., mind and heart) must be there centered (Colossians 3:1-4). As we deposit treasures in heaven, our hearts will focus less on earth (Matthew 6:19-21). If God does not occupy first place in our lives, He occupies no place.
In conclusion, be cautious and diligent to understand what God’s priorities are. Then, make sure they are the priorities you hold most dear.