Tuesday, September 22, 2015

God's great goodness and grace

“and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.” Ephesians 3:9-12 (NRSV)

“So they (Joseph’s brothers) sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:16-20 (NIV)

The mystery that Paul is speaking about in the Ephesians passage is the great good of God—grace. If there is one theme that prevails in the Bible, it is this great goodness that God extends toward man. God uses Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to remind us of this grace. In verse 11, we find out that God’s grace has an eternal purpose, which is to give us access to God forever.

Although we are constrained by the frame of time, eternity encompasses this time frame. This gives each moment of our lives on this earth an eternal connection. We may mess up very badly, but this great goodness of God can take even the grievous of sins and turn it in to a greater good—an eternal goodness.

The story of Joseph in Genesis is a wonderful picture of the great eternal goodness of God. Joseph recognized that in spite of his own suffering—rejection, slavery, and imprisonment—God still used him to save millions of people.

God does this for all of us. In spite of our addictions, God can use each moment of our lives to accomplish His great good. In spite of our greed, God can use each moment of our lives to accomplish His great good. In spite of our unemployment, God can use each moment of our lives to accomplish His great good. Think of it--the Apostle Paul ordered Christians to be murdered at one point in his life, and God still used him for the great good! God's great and eternal power is more than enough to work in a mighty way in each of our lives. Let’s thank God often for the eternity impacting moments that make up each of our lives.