Faith in the Goodness of God

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) 6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Last time we saw that God could not reveal his goodness to Moses until the Ten Commandments were restored to Israel.  Moses had broken the stone tablets upon which the commandments were written in response to Israel’s sin.  God told Moses in the beginning of Exodus 34 to cut new tablets so that God could once again write the commandments.  It was in chapter 34 that God fulfilled the promise to show Moses his glory made to him in chapter 33. 

In Romans 2:4 Paul tells us that God’s goodness leads us to repentance.  1 John 1:8-10 tells us that when we repent, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we repent, the goodness of God can once again flow freely in our lives producing blessing and prosperity.  If we do not repent, sin will continue to allow death’s influence to hinder the manifestation of the goodness of God. 

We must walk in repentance to keep the goodness of God flowing.  I want to look at another thing we must do to accomplish this.  We must believe in the goodness of God.  I know that seems obvious, but I have been in ministry more than 40 years and I can tell you that most of us do not believe in the goodness of God as a driving force in our lives.  We believe in it as a theory or as a theological truth, but not as a present reality.

There are many reasons this is true.  Past experience or the influence of parents can produce a mindset in us that tends to expect the worst out of life.  Certainly, abuse can cause us to think we are not worthy of good things.  Whatever causes us to feel that good things are not working for us, the solution is the same.  We must choose to believe in the goodness of God as a force at work behind the scenes of life.

Most of us evaluate the goodness of God based on our life experience.  We may do so consciously or subconsciously, but we do.  If we are going to walk successfully in the goodness of God, we must begin to evaluate life experience based on the presumption that the goodness of God is at work.  This would change our whole way of responding to the challenges of life. 

Later this week we will see this at work in the life of Paul.  First, let us ask the question, “How do I change that perspective.”  The answer is faith in the goodness of God.  Romans 10:17 tells us how to build faith for anything the bible teaches.

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) 17  So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.  The implication here is not just that the Word of God went into your ears.  The implication is that there is an acceptance and understanding of what is heard.  The more we meditate on any promise in the Word, the more we build faith to receive that promise.  The promise of the action of the goodness of God in my life is no different.  I must find the goodness of God in the bible and meditate on it until I know in my heart that God’s goodness is at work in every area of my own life.

The bible is full of the goodness of the Lord.  We can look at God’s dealings with Old Testament characters and see his goodness at work.  We can hear David declare God’s goodness in the Psalms.  One of the best places to see the goodness of God at work is in the ministry of Jesus.  We see him healing sick people, casting out demons from the oppressed and preaching good news to all.  Look at his words in the beginning of his ministry.

Luke 4:18-19 (NKJV) 18  “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

This is what Jesus said he came to do and when you read the story of his life you will find that this is what he did.  He was the goodness of God incarnate. 

I want to take a moment to look at one of my favorite scriptures in light of the goodness of God.  It is the verse quoted above.  In my bible, I have this verse underlines in this way.  6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 

I believe many people subconsciously believe that God is more a punisher than a rewarder.  That is what religion teaches and it is what many people have learned to believe due to the life they have led.  Nevertheless, this is not the truth.

God is predisposed to be a rewarder.  God’s desire for his children is to reward them.  This truth is even evident in the Old Testament.

Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV) 19  I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

It is God’s sincere desire that we choose life and blessing.  He wants to bless you right now.  It is never his desire to see bad things happen to you.  Hebrews 11:6 is clear that if we are going to come to him in faith, we must believe that he is going to reward us.  Rewards are never bad.  They are always good.  When I come to God, I must do so with the understanding that he is not going to give me anything or do anything to me that is not good.

How does this relate to faith in the goodness of God?  This scripture assures us of his goodness.  As I meditate on this verse, I cannot help but build faith that the goodness of God is at work in my life.  He is a rewarder.  He is rewarding my diligence in seeking him.  As I seek him, his will and his ways, the goodness of God is going before me working in me and in my circumstances to produce good things. 

That is not to say that everything that happens will be what I want.  That is not to say that everything the goodness of God produces will be things I initially like.  It is true that everything God does will produce good things in my life sooner or later. 

I want you to take some time today to think about this verse.  God is a rewarder.  God is working to bring reward into your life today.  That reward will be the highest good possible for your life.  When you look around and see things that cannot be described as good, know that God’s goodness is at work changing those things.  His goodness is at work in the bad thing to bring about a higher good for you than you could imagine yourself. 

The goodness of God is a driving force in the life of a believer.  Goodness is like light.  Darkness cannot dispel light.  Nevertheless, no matter how dark the darkness becomes, just a little light will drive it back.  Evil cannot dispel goodness.  No matter what evil is at work, the goodness of God can dispel and destroy the evil. 

We must believe in the power of his goodness.  It is at work in your life and circumstances right now!

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