God Is Good All The Time
God is Good All the Time
God is good all the time. There have been a few times in my life where I felt as if God was not good. Upon much learning and great humbling, I soon realized that I was the one who was not good. I am a sinner that is separated from God because of the choices I have made. I have also come to find out that God, in his goodness, has saved me through His loving election. What do I mean by election? I would define election as the free act of God, prior to creation, choosing those who would be saved not based on their future actions, but solely because he is good. The truth is that election, according to Scripture, is salvific in that God chooses to save. Only through the salvific intent of God in election can salvation occur to spiritually dead sinners. My aim is that we would see the goodness of God in election and the calling of the Father.
Attitude of the Bible
A quick word search in your Bible app would bring up the word elect, or some form of it, anywhere from 15-20 times. The authors speak of the elect as God’s possession (Romans 8:33), God’s purpose (Romans 9:11), obtaining what Israel failed to obtain (Romans 11:7), enduring hardship (2 Timothy 2:10), and many letters begin with the authors introducing themselves as servants for the elect (Titus 1:1, 1 Peter 1:1, 2 John 2:2). Further, Jesus used particular language when differentiating between the world and those who were chosen before creation (Matthew 22:14, John 13:18). In the letters from Paul, we read phrases such as: a remnant, chosen by grace (Romans 11:5), as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved (Colossians 3:12), brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you (1 Thessalonians 1:4).
The examples are numerous regarding Scripture’s attitude of the electing of saints. Election is not the rejection of people who deserve heaven. Rather, election is the gifting of heaven to undeserving people. Paul gives a simple explanation in Ephesians 2:1 that we need salvation because we are dead from our sins. He goes on to tell us in verse 8 that we have been saved by grace. How did we receive that grace?
The election of the saints was done in love, through Jesus, under the will of God, for His praise, and our blessing. The goodness of God is that when we were spiritually dead, He came to save those who didn’t deserve Him.
How could God not choose those who were spiritually dead? If they are spiritually dead can He just leave them out to dry when it comes to salvation? The common Reformed pushback is Romans 1. In this passage, particularly verses 18-23, Paul instructs the church in Rome that God has made Himself known to all the earth and we are without excuse. The fact that we are sinners who trade the glories of God for the things of this world is found throughout Scripture. God’s common grace to mankind is that even when sin entered the world we are given life and He reveals himself in His creation.
We also read that we are made in the image of God. Genesis 1, or at least the story of Creation, is familiar to most people in our contexts. God is not a mindless creator but is very intentional with what He is creating. God approves of what He has created before the day ends. He also creates everything in the first few days for us in order that we may worship Him. He not only created everything for us and for His glory but He also created us differently, in His image. This was done because He loved us! We often share the Gospel and point to the cross as the originator of God’s love. However, love did not originate in our salvation but rather our salvation came because of the love that was given to us at creation. Election is the love of God displayed to those who don’t deserve it through the work of Jesus that was planned before creation. We were created with a salvific love of God.
Repent and Believe
Scripture speaks of election as a glorious and God-ordained act. Further, we are without excuse because, in His goodness, God has shown us Himself. We choose sin over the goodness of God. A miraculous event must occur in our heart for our perspective to change. We do not wake up one day and decide we need God. If we pay close attention to Genesis 1-3 we find out that given the choice we will be enticed by sin, ignoring the warning of death, even if we have already experienced the presence of God. Our hearts must be changed by God, through the loving sovereignty of God, and directed to God. Through this work of God, dead people come alive for eternity. Never in Scripture does it occur, nor is it taught, that those who truly repent and truly believe are rejected. All those who repent and believe are those in whose lives God has done a great work. This is accomplished through the Holy Spirit and was planned before the foundation of the world. May we find great joy in God not choosing us because of our deeds. The goodness of God is seen when our spiritual blindness is lifted through His work and through His love. The authors of Scripture write to the elect telling them to have much joy in their salvation and all the time, God is good in that election.
Wesley is a bi-vocational youth minister at Meansville Baptist Church. He is also a Student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary finishing his Bachelor's degree.