I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from You." Psalm 16:2
"I'm sorry," I said.
"It's all good," came the response.
No. It's not all good. That's why I apologized. Here I was expecting a response indicating either forgiveness or not -- maybe even a shot at reconciliation. Instead, I received what was a generic statement excusing all things under the generic statement "It's all good." That just didn't feel right. How does that sound to you? I guess if you've ever wanted to be off the hook, it might be fine, but is that what the world needs today: a generic response of "It's all good," in the face of all the wrongs we do to each other?
The psalmist David didn't think so. He said, "I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good thing apart from You.'"
I have no good apart from God. Do you believe that? Do you believe the only good in your life is God? Or do you consider your life to be filled with lots of generic good things, among which one good is God? Perhaps you place Him as the highest good. But more people today would probably argue that God isn't really that good at all.
David challenges us to live differently, to live a life in which God is the only good for us, for all. How would your daily life change if you looked to God as the only good that you have? How would your life be oriented if you believed that God is the only source of any good you have?
Jesus lived that way. He lived believing that only God is good. And how did He live? It was by one word: love. He loved God. He loved others. Jesus lived love. Because God was His only Source of good, because loving God was His Highest Good, Jesus lived love. Jesus died in love because He was ultimately the good of God for this world. God raised Him from the dead because He is good. And life is good because of Jesus.
Jesus is not just an example of how to live in the light of the goodness of God. Jesus is God's goodness given to you. In place of your sin, God gives you His goodness in Christ. Faith delivers to you God's good gift of forgiveness in Christ. Repentance, forgiveness that's what's needed in people's lives if they seek God as their only good!
That would look like a life of love, of truth, in love. It would be loved by God in Jesus and loved by those God has given you as part of His goodness. It's loving those in your life because God loves them and has given them to you to love. Your life -- when based on God's goodness -- is a life of love.
So, when you repent, when you say you're sorry, God doesn't just say, "It's all good." He forgives you. He removes your sin and gives to you the righteousness of Jesus Christ. God doesn't excuse your sin. He doesn't ignore your sin; He removes it from you. And He treats us as if it never happened at all.
God's goodness is yours because of Jesus. That is good. And when other things aren't all good, we need to take them to the foot of the cross, take them to the Lord in prayer, and follow His lead in humbly speaking the truth in love to others or serving them in His Name. Now that's good, very good, news indeed! Put that to work in your life today.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, what the world needs now is love, not some generic kind, but love in and through You. Let that love be mine; let me know it, believe it, and live it so that real good, real lasting good might be evident in my life, for others. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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