God is Good

Romans 12: 2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

This is a well-known verse; we spend a great deal of time and explanation on the concepts of transformation and renewal, as well we should. I wonder, however, if we ever pause and consider the last part of the verse, “that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Pondering this latter section brings to me two ideas.

First, believers often want to know what the will of God is. Well, here is a very good clue. When considering options we can always be assured that God’s will is in that which is good and acceptable and perfect. If any of those three characteristics are present then we may well be able to recognize God’s will in a situation. Always look for that which is good if you want to find God’s will.

Secondly, so often believers and others blame God when bad events happen in the world or in their lives but you see, bad things are not God’s will. We understand that now, don’t we? His will is that which is good, acceptable and perfect. Therefore, typhoons are not His will. Cancer is not His will. Everything which is bad is outside of the will of God. 

He made a perfect garden called Eden. That we would live in a perfect garden which had spread across the entire surface of the earth was His will. Unfortunately, we let sin and corruption into the world. Now we are faced with the ravages that corruption and decay have wrought on our planet. Sin was not God’s will. Humans had and have a will of their own. And there have been consequences to our acts as there ever will be. Whatever we sow into the earth is what the earth will produce. However, you can know what God’s will is and that will always be the thing which is perfect and whole. He wants for you perfect health and wholeness in your relationships. He wants good situations and blessing in your life. He is the God of good, acceptable and perfect. Anything less just isn’t God!

Entering the Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 7: 21 – 23

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you, DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.”

We are coming to understand that every person that says, “Lord, Lord,” will not necessarily enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus is a fruit inspector. He is looking at the fruit we produce in our lives. Today’s passage is a continuation of what Jesus was teaching about good trees producing good fruit and bad fruit coming from bad trees; trees representing people. So, if the fruit is good we can judge the tree as good. If the fruit is bad, steer clear. We can know good fruit by determining if a person’s character traits line up or are consistent with Galatians 5: 22.  

We are also learning that no amount of “good works” is going to impress Jesus. We may say to him that we went to church every Sunday for 50 years, attended every event and have performed all sorts of miracles in his name, even casting out demons but even still if the fruit of the Spirit is not evident in our lives he will say to us, “I knew you not.” This would be a very frightening passage indeed if Jesus had not just taught verses 15 – 21, that he will judge us by our fruit rather than our works. That lets us know that we do not have to perform in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  

If you live in a works mentality you will never believe that you have ever done enough to earn your way into heaven and you will be right because there is nothing you could ever do that is even in the smallest way, even microscopically worthy of all that Jesus has done for you. He did not suffer enormous pain and humiliation so that we could try to impress the world, or him, with our good works. Here is the ridiculous truth. He did it all in exchange for our hearts. Wow! Didn’t he get a bad deal? That is all that he and the Father have ever wanted, our hearts and as small an offering as that may at times seem it is the greatest gift one can give.

Jesus tells us that the secret passkey to the Kingdom of Heaven is doing the will of the Father. The will of the Father is not hidden. He gave us an entire book in order to reveal His will for us. That is not to say that the Bible is a list of thousands of things we must do in order to fulfill God’s will. No, that is a works mentality again. If you read the Bible cover to cover you will see that there has always been just one thing. Over and over and over again Father has said the same thing. His desire, His will is for us is to receive Him as our God and Father and for us to be the people of His hand. He has always wanted a family, a people who will not rebel and leave Him. He is the Father in the story of the prodigal son. He just wants us to come home and love Him and allow Him to love us. This is the will of the Father. If you will open your heart and receive His love and allow Him to set up residence in your heart then He will receive you into the Kingdom of Heaven. And if you really want to see this in its fullness, once He has established His residency within you and you are living in Christ rather than in the flesh He has no way to stop you from entering the Kingdom of Heaven because you are in Christ and He in you, the Father in you, you in the Father and there can be no separation. You will never be separated from Christ or the Father for there is no power that can separate you from the love of the Father so you will have automatic entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, which you will just call home.