Friday, June 11, 2010

What Exactly Is The “Good”?

On of the most popular Bible promises is found in Romans 8:28 - "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."  Most Christians love to quote this verse, especially when things are going bad for ourselves or for our friends.  We cling to the idea that if we just hold on through our current problem, God has promised to make it good.

The question comes up, however, as to what exactly the word "good" means in this context.  I like (and agree with) what Mark Altrogge recently said at The Blazing Center:
"So what is the “good” that God is working in us? Ultimately, God causes all things to work together to:
  • Conform us to the image of Christ
  • Bring us into closer fellowship with himself
  • Sanctify us
  • Make us patient
  • Make us compassionate toward others
  • Teach us to trust him
  • Prove and purify our faith
  • Deliver us from temptation and sin
  • Wean us from the world
  • Make us long for heaven
  • Produce endurance in us
  • Drive us to the Word and prayer
  • Humble us
  • Teach us contentment in Christ
  • And ultimately to glorify us"
Notice that the "good" does not necessarily include our personal comfort, security or pleasure. Nor does it often include His bringing our personal situations back to the ways we want them to be. After all, the promise is grounded in His purposes, not ours.

Guess what - Christian spirituality is not easy, is not going to become easy, and shouldn't be portrayed as easy.  Holiness is hard!

But Jesus is worth it.