Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 4 Study # 5
Thesis: The "working" of all things together "for good" requires a phenomenal wisdom.
Introduction: In our study last week, we looked into the fact that Paul "qualifies" his declaration that "good" is going to be the final result of everything that happens. This, he says, is true for those who are loving God.
We spent some time dealing with the reality of this "qualification" so that we might understand that even "L"ove is a vanity if it is simply a one-way flow that has no equivalent response in the "beloved". People who expect good to arise in the absence of genuine, human, love for God are simply wishful dreamers and deceitful manipulators. This fact is: "good" can only "result" in a setting where being "loving" and "beloved" is both real and balanced.
This evening we are going to spend some time thinking about "things working together" to bring about "good".
February 12, 2008
- I. Our First Consideration: "Good" is Presented as a Final Result, Not a Present Reality.
- A. It is important for us to understand that what is does not at all look like what is to be.
- 1. One of the major characteristics of the Abrahamic Faith, according to Romans 4:17, is that the God, Who is the Object of our faith, calls things "not being" as "being".
- a. This means, first, that there is such a thing as the present not having at least some of the characteristics of the future.
- 1) This means, in our text, that "good" is not necessarily what "is" (No one has to say, "This is working for our good" if the "thing" is already seen as good).
- 2) This means, in our text, that real evil is in the midst of the "all things".
- b. But this also means, second, that God has decreed what shall come to be.
- 1) We still live in a cause/effect universe (sowing and reaping).
- 2) We still live in a "this" produces "this" universe so that "this" cannot produce "that" (what is sown is what is reaped).
- 3) But there is a "variable" in this cause/effect reality that consists of the "causes" deliberately inserted by God -- i.e., the actions He takes to bring about what He has decreed shall result.
- 2. One of the characteristics of "seeds", according to Paul, is that they seldom "look like" the plants they produce (1 Corinthians 15:37).
- B. It is important for us to understand that what is to be is the result of what is.
- 1. God does not suspend the character of His cause/effect universe.
- 2. The issue of the "good" that is to be is the issue of the interaction of God in the midst.
- 3. The point is this: our text says that "all things work together to a final end".
- II. Our Second Consideration: "Good" is Presented as a Final Result of a Mixture of Present Causes.
- A. We need to understand that though God does not suspend the character of His cause/ effect universe, His input does have a specific impact upon what will be.
- B. We are dealing with a mixture of causes: what multiple persons do.
- 1. Evil persons do evil and the impact of that evil is death upon all.
- 2. God does good, immediately and mediately, and the impact of that good is life to all.
- 3. The result of the combination depends upon two major factors.
- a. The potency of the seed and its ability to starve out other plants in the competition for the limited resources (not all seeds sown have the same ability to bring about the seed-intended harvest).
- b. The reactions of persons in the context of developing results.
- 1) If a "person" (divine, angelic, or human) reacts to evil with evil, the result is more evil seed sown so that the impact of Death increases.
- 2) If a "person" reacts to evil with good, the result is good seed sown in the same field where the evil seed was sown so that now there is a "mixture" and the harvest is going to be "mixed".
- 3) It is in this area of "reactions" that "good" can come of "evil".
- a) This is why Paul began this declaration of supreme confidence with the "qualifying" phrase: those who love God react to events differently than those who hate Him.
- b) The evil of another can be a basis for a growth in understanding in the heart and mind of one who loves God, and "good" results.
- c) The evil of one can actually accomplish the good of another: the same act can be used in two ways.
- i. Sometimes "intention" is the only thing that actually determines what is good and what is evil.
- ii. Understanding "intention" is often the main cause of the response that a person gives to a situation.
- iii. One who "loves God" believes in His good intentions and, therefore, responds differently than a person would who does not love Him, and does not believe Him.
- III. Our Third Consideration: It is God's Infinite Wisdom That Is Ultimately Required For the Exact Input That Will Underwrite the Good Result.