GOODNESS – CARING HOW GOD FEELS ABOUT OUR MORALITY IS GOODNESS
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,patience, kindness, GOODNESS, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things, there is no law. Galatians 5:22 (ESV)
Genesis 39:1-10 (NIV) Monday
Joseph in Potiphar’s House
1 When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.
2 The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. 3 Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. 4 This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. 5 From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. 6 So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat!
Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, 7 and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded.
8 But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. 9 No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”10 She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible.
Genesis 39:6 makes the statement that Joseph was “well-built and handsome.” But Joseph’s spirituality was even more rugged than his physique, and so when Potiphar’s wife seeks to lure him into a sexual entanglement, Joseph answers her out of a sense of his own moral goodness. “My master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care … How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
Goodness is that fruit of the Holy Spirit that does not hesitate to label all immorality for what it is – sin. Goodness never allows categories of sin and righteousness to become fuzzy by using more acceptable definitions of sin like goof-ups, no-no’s, or indiscretions.1Joseph knew immorality for what it was and was not willing to widen his definitions of sin to the point that he could call any kind of evil good. Goodness is the art of measuring ethical values with ethical norms. Goodness never excuses immorality by seeing it in some new and broader way.
So in the character of Joseph we see a man whose goodness rises higher than those around him. Some scholars think of Joseph as the Jesus of the Old Testament. He was not perfect, as Christ was and He is, for Joseph was a mere man. But sinful people can live a righteous life, and Joseph was very much like Jesus in that he sought the pleasure of God with a life that never confused the categories of good and evil.
BLESSED WITH SUFFICIENCY
Daily Devotional – 02/06/2018
Ephesians 1:3-8 NLT ”3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.”
In Ephesians 1:3, Paul first praised God, saying that all believers praise God. God alone is worthy of praise and worship. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because we as Born-Again Christian believers belong to Christ, God has blessed us. The verb “blessed” occurs hundreds of times in the Old Testament, revealing that God enjoys blessing His people. Here Paul used the past tense (“has blessed”), indicating that this prospering of believers had already occurred – even from eternity past. God has blessed us by allowing us to receive the benefits of our Lord Jesus Christ’s redemption (Ephesians 1:7) and resurrection (Ephesians 1:19-20). God blessed us through our Lord Jesus Christ’s death on the cross on our behalf.
Because by faith we belong to our Lord Jesus Christ, we have every spiritual blessing – that is, every benefit of knowing God and everything we need to grow spiritually. These are spiritual blessings, not material ones. Because God has already blessed us as Born-Again Christian believers, we need not ask for these blessings but simply accept them and apply them to our lives. Because we have an intimate relationship with Christ, we can enjoy these blessings now and will enjoy them for eternity.
The phrase heavenly realms occurs five times in this letter (Ephesians 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12) and refers to the sphere beyond the material world – the place of spiritual activity where the ultimate conflict between good and evil takes place. This conflict continues but has already been won by our Lord Christ’s death and resurrection. This is the realm in which the spiritual blessings were secured for us and then given to us. Our blessings come from heaven, where our Lord Jesus Christ now lives (Ephesians 1:20), and our Lord Jesus Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit, the source of all spiritual blessings, came as a result of His ascension to heaven (Ephesians 4:8). Paul was making the point that these blessings are spiritual and not material; thus, they are eternal and not temporal.
That God chose us forms the basis of the doctrine of election – defined as God’s choice of an individual or group for a specific purpose or destiny. The doctrine of election teaches that we are saved only because of God’s grace and mercy; as Born-Again Christian believers we are not saved by our own merit. It focuses on God’s purpose or will (Ephesians 1:5, 9, 11), not on ours. God does not save us because we deserve it but because He graciously and freely gives salvation. We did not influence God’s decision to save us; He saved us according to His plan. Thus, we may not take credit for our salvation or take pride in our wise choice.
The doctrine of election runs through the Bible, beginning with God’s choosing Abraham’s descendants as His special people. Although the Jews were chosen as special recipients and emissaries of God’s grace, their opportunity to participate in that plan arrived with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, their promised Messiah. But many didn’t recognize our Lord Jesus Christ and so rejected Him. God’s “chosen” and elected people are now Christians, the body of Christ, the church – all who believe on, accept, and receive Jesus Christ as Messiah, Savior, and Lord. Jesus himself called his followers “the chosen ones” (see Matthew 24:22, 24, 31; Mark 13:20, 22, 27).
God chose His people before He made the world. The mystery of salvation originated in the timeless mind of God (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9). Before God created anything, His plan was in place to give eternal salvation to those who would believe on His Son. Before God created people, He knew sin would occur, He knew a penalty would have to be paid, and He knew that He Himself (in His Son) would pay it.
Election is in our Lord Jesus Christ because of His sacrifice on our behalf. We have blessings and election only because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. Election is done for a specific purpose – that we would be holy and without fault in His eyes. What God began in eternity past will be completed in eternity future. God’s purpose in choosing us was that we would live changed lives during our remaining time on earth. To be “holy” means to be set apart for God in order to reflect His nature. God chose us, and when we belong to Him through our Lord Jesus Christ, God looks at us as though we had never sinned. Our appropriate responses are love, worship, and service – in thankfulness for His wonderful grace. We must never take our privileged status as a license for sin.
In His infinite love, God chose to adopt us as His own children. People were created to have fellowship with God (Genesis 1:26), but because of our sin, we forfeited that fellowship. Through our Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, God brought us back into His family and made us heirs along with our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). God did not do this as an emergency measure after sin engulfed creation; instead, this has been His unchanging plan from the beginning. Under Roman law, adopted children had the same rights and privileges as biological children. Even if they had been slaves, adopted children became full heirs in their new family. Paul used this term to show the strength and permanence of believers’ relationship to God. This adoption occurs through our Lord Jesus Christ, for only His sacrifice on our behalf enables us to receive what God intended for us.
God’s goal in the election of us as Born-Again Christian believers was that we would praise Him. Therefore, the ultimate purpose of believers’ lives is to praise God because of His wonderful kindness. Without it, we would have no hope, and our lives would be nothing more than a few years on earth. Instead, we have purpose for living and hope of eternal life. His kindness was poured out on us. It was a free gift, not something we could earn or deserve. God’s favor to us is realized by our union with His dearly loved Son. We could say that God’s love for His only Son motivated Him to have many more sons – each of whom would be like His Son (Romans 8:28-30) by being in His Son and by being conformed to His image.
All people are enslaved to sin, but God, so rich in kindness, purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son. Our Lord Jesus Christ paid the price to redeem us, to buy our freedom from sin. The purchase price was His blood. To speak of our Lord Jesus’ blood was an important first-century way of speaking of Jesus Christ’s death. Our freedom was costly – our Lord Jesus Christ paid the price with His life. Through His death, our Lord Jesus Christ released us from slavery and our sins are forgiven. When we believe, an exchange takes place. We give our Lord Jesus Christ our sins, and He gives us freedom and forgiveness. Our sin was poured into Christ at his crucifixion. His righteousness was poured into us at our conversion. God’s forgiveness means that he no longer even remembers believers’ past sins. We are completely forgiven. Jesus became the final and ultimate sacrifice for sin. Instead of an unblemished lamb slain on the altar, the perfect Lamb of God was slain on the cross, a sinless sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven once and for all.
God’s kindness is showered on Born-Again Christian believers. When God gives, He gives abundantly and extravagantly. In the phrase with all wisdom and understanding, the word “wisdom” is the ability to see life from God’s perspective. Proverbs 9:10 teaches that the fear (respect and honor) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The word “understanding” could also be translated “insight,” referring to the ability to discern the right action to take in any given situation. Wisdom and understanding are given to us for us to know God’s will.
In the Holy Spirit’s presence, we can develop an intimate relationship.
“Father God, in the name of Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, thank You for never leaving or forsaking us. Guide us along Your prefect path, Amen!”
Praise our Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you Lord.