The Goodness of God - David Mitts
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Faith is the power of belief that is based on how and what we know to be true about life and our choices that arise out of that understanding. In a very real way, what we believe to be true about life determines what we will do with what comes about in our experience. This is true faith, a faith that is validated by the actions that arise out of it.
The opposite of true faith or what the Bible calls dead faith is a “faith” that is in our heads but not truly in our hearts. We know it isn’t a heart faith because it doesn’t line up with what we do.
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."(Jas 2:14-18)
Saving faith is expressed by saving works. If we say we believe in Yeshua but don’t live consistent with that belief, then we are not truly in “living faith” but in dead faith. True faith always means the heart has been transformed by a belief that is now “one” with the person who has it. In this faith is conceived in our hearts and will birth what is believed, the implanted seed of faith.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2Co 5:17)
Actually the description “in Christ” is one step after the process of transformation. It is describing the butterfly. The preceding step would be that “Christ” comes into me and we become one. The seed of Christ, the word of salvation comes into my heart and I am transformed.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Gal 2:20)
This is the transformed life. Paul no longer lives as Paul, but as the transformed man, which is by faith of the Son of God, or by the implanted seed of salvation.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:1-2)
Paul connects our continual transformation with the “renewing of our mind” which he ties to “proving the will of God” which he calls “good, acceptable, and perfect”. Most have focused on trying to renew their minds. The problem with this strategy is that the thoughts of the mind follow faith. What do I mean by that? We will not think thoughts that are different than what are. Caterpillars don’t think of flying because they can’t. Butterflies don’t think of crawling. Their state of being determines their thinking. Trying to change your life by changing your thoughts is a circular process. The thoughts reveal the condition of our hearts. We cannot change our thoughts with just our thoughts or the cross would be unnecessary.
"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.(Luk 6:45)
What Yeshua is telling us is that the heart has to be transformed. Is what He means when He speaks about fruit and trees:
"For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. "For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. (Luk 6:43-44)
It’s not the thoughts of the tree, but the nature of the tree that produces the fruit. So it is with us. If we want to change the fruit in our lives we need to experience a heart transformation, not merely a change of heart.
So, what is the key? Well Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2. The transformation comes about by the renewing of our mind. But, wait. You said it wasn’t our thoughts that did the trick. That’s true. It’s not the thoughts. It is a transformation of the container of the thoughts. The secret to that is at the end of the verse, the will of God being good. You see it is the goodness of God that brings about our transformation. It began that way and continues to be that way.
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Rom 2:4)
The problem with most people’s understanding of repentance is that they think it means to feel bad about your sin your mistakes. That is NOT repentance. It might be conviction or guilt, but NOT repentance. The Greek word for repentance is “metanoia” which is itself often defined as a change of mind. The word metamorphosis is the word transformation. It is defined as a change of form, and the example used is the caterpillar to the butterfly. Repentance is not just a change of mind but an entirely different mind. The goodness of God doesn’t just change your opinion about something it transforms your heart about it. God doesn’t debate with you and win you to His perspective. No!, When you receive the seed, of His Word, you are transformed. You have a new container for your thoughts a new wineskin, a new purse.
This the result of a God-encounter. His goodness is not persuasive. It is transformative!
Then Moses said to the Lord, "See, You say to me, 'Bring up this people.' But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.' Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people." And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Then he said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth." So the Lord said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name." And he said, "Please, show me Your glory." (Exo 33:12-18)
Moses knows that it is the God encounter that transforms reality. God confirms this by declaring His Presence will be with Moses and in that Presence is the rest, the Shabbat. The Hebrew word for repentance is teshuavh, which is the same root as the Shabbat, the rest. So the God-encounter brings the seed of God into intimacy oneness and the result if repentance or rest. There is no rest apart from Him. Yeshua calls this bearing fruit. It is the same reality. The fruit is the rest, called abiding.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (Joh 15:4-5)
Can you hear the cry for intimacy? For a God-encounter? This is where the transformation occurs. This is living faith.
How does God answer Moses?
Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." (Exo 33:19)
His goodness is His Glory! His goodness is the revelation necessary for transformation! It is by His goodness that we are drawn to repentance to the state of oneness, the abiding reality where true fruit comes from the heart that has been truly transformed.
Great question! If we go back to the beginning we see that God’s goodness and His will are the same. As He spoke creation into existence, he defined each action as “good”.
Every day of creation except day 1 was called good. Day 1 was about Light. He didn’t have to declare light good because light was part of what was needed to know what was good. But every other day was declared good. Good equals the acts of God. When we come into revelation of God acts, God-encounters we are transformed by those encounters. Our role is just to be hungry, like Moses. We can no more transform ourselves that the caterpillar can. What we need to know though is that it is His revelation of His goodness that will always draw us to repentance. The repentance will lead to a new heart and a new heart will have need thoughts, actions, and results.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Php 4:8-9)
It is possible, that meditation of the heart can open the door of transformation. By becoming thankful, we can attract the goodness of God.
Purses that do not wear out. Purses that are a transformed kind of purse. What is a purse or a wallet? It is the container of financial power, money or cards. What Yeshua is speaking about isn’t adding more money to the purse. No, He is speaking about a transformation of the purse. What does the purse represent? It represents our attitudes and beliefs about provision in our lives. Thieves and moths are destroyers in the realm of the finite. The world is based on scarcity. Our environment is scarce. Our finances are scarce. Yet God is wanting to transform us. How? By revealing Himself to us as good. He doesn’t want us to have more money but to be stewards over His resources which are infinite. He will get it to us as we prove faithful stewards over what He has already given us. This is what the tithes and the offerings demonstrate our trust in Him.