Deep Down in Your Soul

                If Deep Down In Your Soul You Do Not Believe That God Is Good,

                           Then Jesus Will Never Be Lord Of Your Life.

                                                   Jerry Bridges

     Walt Henrichsen, author of Disciples Are Made, Not Born, once stated that both God and man want the same thing.  They both desire what is best for mankind.  Their difference lies in the fact that mankind trusts in himself to achieve what is best, whereas God knows that only by trusting Him will mankind achieve that which is best.  Why does man trust himself rather than God?  The answer is found in Genesis chapter three.  The evil one posed a question to Eve.  “Did God really say ‘You must not eat from any tree in the Garden?’” (Genesis 3:1)  The evil one also said “You will not surely die,”  “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)  G. Campbell Morgan states that the devil introduced three thoughts to mankind with his question and statements.  He deceived them by causing them to “question the goodness of God,” to “slander the motive of God,” and to “deny the severity of God.”  In its rebellion, mankind lost its conception of the true God and of goodness itself.  Yet, the cry of the human heart continually was to find goodness.  This was expressed by David in Psalm 4:6.  “Many are asking, ‘who can show us any good?’”  G. Campbell Morgan, in The Crises Of The Christ, Hardpress Publishing, Page 23 states the following.  “Man, having fallen, demanded a god, and having lost the knowledge of the true God, has projected into immensity the lines of his own personality, and thus has created as objects of worship the awful monsters, the service of which, in process of time, has resulted in the still deeper degradation of the worshipper.”     

     The cry for goodness proceeded over the centuries until we see it reflected in the question posed by Nathaniel in John 1:46.  “Nazareth!  Can anything good come from there?”  G. Campbell Morgan relates the following in The Crises Of The Christ, Hardpress Publishing, Page 65.  “Man’s ruin was so terrible, and so profound, as witness the darkened intelligence, the deadened emotion, and the degraded will, that there was but one alternative open to the Eternal God.  Either he must sweep out and destroy utterly the race, or else in infinite patience, and through long processes, lead it back to Himself.  He chose the pathway of reconciliation in His infinite grace, at what cost the story of the Christ alone perfectly reveals.”  

     Scripture records various reasons for the appearing of the Son of Man.  These include “To destroy the works of the devil,” (I John 3:8) “To take away sins,” (I John 3:5) and “To testify to the truth.” (John 18:37)  It also states that one purpose was to reveal the Father.  “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)  The true picture of what God was like was seen in the person of Jesus Christ.  His Goodness was recorded in John chapter ten, where in two verses (eleven and fourteen)  he refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd.  In Mark 10:18 his question of the rich young ruler “Why do you call me good?”  and His statement  “No one is good-except God alone”  declare not only the character of God, but affirm His identity with the Father.   It is also recorded in Acts 10:38 that “He went around doing good.” Campbell Morgan again addresses this subject with the following comments.  “The God-man then is the gateway between God and man.  Through Him God has found His way back to man, from whom He had been excluded by his rebellion.  In Him man finds his way back to God from whom he had been alienated by the darkening of his intelligence, the death of his love, and the disobedience of his will.  God finds Himself in this person and is with men.  Man finds himself in this person, and is with God.  Through the God-man, Deity takes hold upon humanity.  Through the God-man, humanity takes hold upon Deity.”  The Crises Of The Christ, Hardpress Publishing, page 67. 

     Since Deity has taken hold of humanity, then, we can rest secure in the Lordship of Christ.  We can know and experience the truth of Romans 8:28.  “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.”  J. I. Packer makes the following comments about this verse in regard to His Lordship in our lives.  Knowing God, Intervarsity Press 1973, page 111.  

“Not just some things, note, but all things!  Every single thing that happens to him expresses God’s love to him, and comes to him for the furthering of God’s purpose for him.  Thus, so far as he is concerned, God is love to him-holy, omnipotent love-at every moment and in every event of every day’s life.  Even when he cannot see the why and the wherefore of God’s dealings, he knows that there is love in and behind them, and so he can rejoice always, even when, humanly speaking, things are going wrong.  He knows that the true story of his life, when known, will prove to be, as the hymn says, ‘mercy from first to last’-and he is content.”  

     The Lord also assures us of His care as our Lord in Romans 8:32.  “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”  J. I. Packer describes this verse as follows.  “The meaning of ‘He will give us all things’ can be put thus:  One day we shall see that nothing-literally nothing-which could have increased our eternal happiness has been denied us, and that nothing-literally nothing-that could have reduced that happiness has been left with us.  What higher assurance do we want than that?”  Knowing God Intervarsity Press, 1973, page 246.  

     When I was fourteen years of age, I was called into a room where my mother was lying in bed.  She was in the last stages of widespread cancer and had become so weak that she was no longer able to walk.  She looked at me and said “Richard, be good.”  Those were her last words to me.  Several days later she went to be with the Lord while in the hospital.  I think about those words occasionally and I wonder to myself what she  was really desiring to communicate.  Was I simply to stop doing bad things?  Did she want me to try to do good things?  Was her desire that which related to my conduct?  Was she, perhaps, referring to the formation of my character?  Since goodness is found in God alone, was she asking me to let Jesus be Lord of my life so that His Goodness would be made manifest?  As the Lord has said, there is only One who is Good.  This One is seen in the Trinitarian expression of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  It is only in the measure that Christ Jesus is Lord of my life that I am able to enjoy His Goodness, praise Him for His Goodness, and and allow His Goodness to be made visible in my life.  God is infinitely Good beyond any capacity of mankind to measure.  As eternity unfolds before us, we will be led into untold riches of His Goodness which will be beyond our comprehension even at that time.  During this brief window of what we call “time,” however, we are given but a moment, which James calls “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)  It is to your eternal benefit and His eternal Glory that you use this moment to acknowledge Him as the Lord of your life.  May the Lord manifest His Goodness to you and through you so that His Lordship of your life is increasingly made manifest until the day of His coming.  

In Christ,  Richard Spann                    

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