Thursday, March 16, 2006

"He's not safe, but He is good"

“He is not safe, but He is good.” This is the statement made about Aslan at the end of the book and now famous movie The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe written by C. S. Lewis.

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him! Ps. 34:8

The Bible talks a lot about the goodness of the Lord. What is good? I mean when we say something is good, what do we mean? I had some blackened salmon last night that was good. I am at Disneyland right now, and the hotel I am staying in is pretty good. Someone dropped something at the restaurant yesterday and said, “Now that was really good.” I mean, we use the word so much in so many different ways to comment on so many things, we may have to take a fresh look at what it means to be good.

The follower of Christ is told to allow God’s Spirit to control his life and He will produce “goodness” in him. This goodness doesn’t mean being a wimp either. The same Spirit that produces goodness in the Christian today also came upon Sampson thousands of years ago and caused Him to kill an entire army with only the jawbone of an ass in his hand. Talk about opening a can!

Evil is the opposite of good. That means good opposes evil. He takes a stand against it. God is producing a stance in our hearts for good and against evil. It may not be safe to be good—it could be very dangerous.

It is certainly not safe to be evil either. We are also told that God is a just judge and will discern between a good and evil life. Being in opposition to God is an even more dangerous place to be…

“For there is going to come a day of judgment when God, the just judge of all the world, will judge all people according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who persist in doing what is good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and practice evil deeds.” Rom. 2:5-8

If I understand the truth contained in the verses directly above, then goodness is what the judge will look for in granting eternal life. Since evil is the opposite of good, those who practice evil will experience the opposite of eternal life. They will be eternally separated from God’s life and become the objects of His wrath.

It seems to me that kindness and goodness are very similar. So why does the Bible distinguish them so often? I think that it is because kindness is more of an action while goodness is more of a condition. Think of it like this: If you go into a room by yourself, you cannot be kind because kindness needs an object other than yourself in order to be kind. But you could be good in the room because goodness defines itself more by the condition of the subject not the object.

God is producing His character in us. It becomes a fusion of who He is and who we are.

"I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are— I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one.” John 17:22-23

You cannot become one with God without being fundamentally changed. He is progressively transforming our lives into something truly good. Good like He is. The word in the Bible connotes virtue; moral excellence and goodness of character; moral strength and moral courage. It means becoming a person who “overcomes evil with good”. Greater is He that is “in me” than he that is in the world!

I would like for God to do this “in me”. I certainly don’t want to be evil. I want to be good. But I see so much in me that I know is not good. It concerns me sometimes. How is God going to do this thing called goodness in me? I obviously can’t do it on my own.

We are going to discuss this over the next several days and in our weekend services.

Be good,

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