Yesterday I introduced the series that I’ll be blogging through this week. It aims to biblically answer the question, why do bad things happen to good people?
Today is part one:
1. There’s no such thing as a “good” person. All we enjoy is pure, unmerited grace.
The question why do bad things happen to good people is flawed from the start– there is no one good. Romans 3:10-12:
No one is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good, not even one.
There are nice people, no doubt. But nice doesn’t not equal righteous. Nice does not permit you to stand justified before a holy God. Even nice people are sinners. Every person starts life with a sinful nature and a natural bent toward rebellion against God. All have turned aside and deserve to be tossed aside by God. The better question to ask would by why do good things happen to bad people? Each person deserves condemnation. God would be completely just to let me starve in a frozen cell for the rest of my life– that’s all I’ve ever deserved. Thank God there is another side of his character that triumphs over judgment: mercy.
There’s no such thing as a righteous person. When Christians are saved, it is not by their own qualifications. It’s completely by God’s work on our behalf. It’s God redeeming, God forgiving, God cleansing, God clothing me in Christ’s righteousness. I simply accept the grace by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
If we understand the gospel, we will enjoy grace because we know that it is a free gift we have not earned. We will hold that both God’s kindness (Romans 2:4) and God’s severity (1 Peter 5:10-11) is meant to draw his people into a closer relationship with him. All God’s acts toward his children are loving. Even the ones that temporarily cause pain.
Every ounce of enjoyment we have ever received is pure, unmerited grace.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Enjoy a sunrise lately? Grace. A laugh with a friend? Grace. A deep breath of mountain air? Grace upon grace. It is something good to enjoy we have not deserved. These are gifts from God.
God is the creator of life. The creatures he made have turned against Him. God has the divine right to take life whenever he pleases. He chooses when to pull the plug– he can do it one whenever and however he wants. He will do it to everyone, eventually– we all die. He is not unjust to take some sooner than others.
God has all our days numbered. When the time comes, we die. In the meantime, we enjoy things that we have not deserved. He does not owe us another breath. If you are a believer, he is giving to time to accomplish the “good works he has prepared for you beforehand” (Ephesians 2:10). If you have not yet been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, he is giving you time to repent of your sins– for “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Praise God that there is a way to make death not so final. Praise God that there is access to free grace for whoever calls upon Jesus Christ for salvation. There is a way to stand guiltless before the Almighty. This is the gospel. It is the ultimate act of free, unmerited grace. It is the message of life.
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Tomorrow’s point is that “The highest good in the universe is God’s exaltation, and therefore everything God does is toward that end.”
To understand the sovereignty of God in suffering we must grasp why God does what he does. Certainly God has the power to stop all suffering. Why doesn’t he?
The Bible shows pretty clearly why God acts. We are going to look at how God does everything for his own glory.