The Biblical Meaning of “for your good”

One of the problems that plagues our current age is an incorrect understanding of what is meant by God’s good for our lives.  Unfortunately, just like many groups of God’s people throughout human history, we are allowing the world’s definitions to infiltrate, influence, and redefine biblical terms like: unity, judging, love, kindness, and God’s good.  Over the course of time I will be examining many of these redefined terms.  Today we will examine the concept of ‘God’s good’.

Assuming you are not a day old in the faith, you are probably familiar with Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  This is a comforting verse, isn’t it?  Let’s begin with what it doesn’t mean.  It does not mean that God is promising that everything will turn out right, according to how people would define “right”, this side of heaven.  God is not promising your best life now.   It also does not mean that when something bad happens, God is promising a positive outcome at some point.  He’s not saying he will take your lemons and turn them into lemonade. It also is not saying that God will do this for every person who ever lives.  This is a promise that is exclusive to believers.

What it does mean, is that God engineers every circumstance and event in a believers life to achieve HIS purposes for them; His good.  And what are His purposes?  You have to read the following verse; verse 29 “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;”.  The scripture is saying that God’s purpose is for believers to become more like His Son, Jesus.  God is promising that no matter what happens in a believers life, He will use it to conform that individual into increasing Christ likeness.  That’s the promise.

God isn’t against good things in our earthly life.  James 1:17 tell us “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”  God wants us to enjoy life and the good things that He has given, in as much as they point us back to Him.  He gives good gifts to all people to evidence Himself and bring about the knowledge of truth.  Think of the beauty of His creation.  The point of that is not just our enjoyment.  It is also that we will recognize God’s creative attributes and give Him praise.  See?  It isn’t about us and our temporal enjoyment.  It is about our recognition of the One who made all things and His worthiness of worship and praise.   God certainly wants us to enjoy His blessings, but He is far more interested in our learning to look past this earthly life to eternity with Him.  He is invested in our eternal perspective, and He often uses adverse circumstances to not only cultivate Christ likeness but to loosen our grip on this earthly life and quicken a longing in our hearts for eternity in His presence.

A worldly perspective says God’s good for our lives is everything working out how we want it to here and now.  A biblical, heavenly perspective says that our earthly lives are about our sanctification; becoming more like Jesus.  And we can take heart that when bad things happen, God will use those things to bring about our sanctification, and to shift our eyes from the here and now to our future eternal home with Him.  And that my friends, is a much better promise!

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