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Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Father Knows Best What is Good for Us

Because the three Persons of the Trinity are identical in nature, what makes them distinct must relate to their respective roles.  One of the Father’s roles that we considered last night is that the Father is the giver of every good and perfect gift.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17).
What good thing do you have that you did not receive from the Father?  Nothing.  From the smallest good to the greatest good, all good things comes to us from the Father.
And this includes the gift of the Son, whom the Father gave to save us from the wrath to come:
"For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1John 4:10).
The Father’s good gifts include the Spirit, as well, who teaches us, intercedes for us, and testifies to us about Christ:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Rom 8:26).
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me” (John 15:26).
The gifts of the Son and the Spirit prove the Father’s benevolent heart toward us.  As Paul wrote in Rom 8:32, He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  If the Father did not withhold the greatest gift, the greatest sacrifice, why would He withhold lesser good gifts?
Still, we may on occasion regard God the Father to be a stingy ogre, who only begrudgingly gives us good gifts when He is absolutely sure they won’t make us happy.  We regard Him this way because we perceive that He withholds from us things that we believe are “good” for us.  God certainly denies us things we want, but He does this because He knows better than we do what is good for us.  We tend to equate what will make us happy with what is good for us.  God is wiser than that.  The things that may make us happy for a moment are often the worst possible things for us. 
How many of us, in our fallen state, would have chosen the gift of the Son over our own idea of what is good?  None of us would have.  Paul teaches in 1 Cor 1:18 that the word of the cross – the gift of the Son – is foolishness to the world.  Left to ourselves we never would have chosen this greatest Gift.  And we only regarded that gift as a wonderful blessing after the Father opened our eyes and gave us repentance and faith.  Praise the Father that He knows better than we do AND that He did not leave it up to us to see the desirability of the gift of Christ.
If the Father knew better than we did regarding the gift of the Son, certainly we should trust Him with all lesser things.  If God withholds a certain thing from us, it must not be good for us, at least not at that particular time.  After all, if He did not withhold His Son, “how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”
The extravagance of the gifts of the Son and Spirit should indicate to us that God's great desire is to lavish His children with good gifts.  If He hasn’t given something to us, it is because He knows best what is good for us.  But the things He has given us, particularly in Christ and the Spirit, are of inestimable value.

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