Having established that God is absolute perfection and stands as the fundamental principle by which all else has its origin, meaning, and purpose; we understand that “His eternal word stands firm in heaven. His faithfulness extends to every generation, and is as enduring as the earth He created. God’s regulations remain true to this day, and because this is true, ‘everything serves’ God and His plans.” (Psalms 119:89-91)
A servant is one under the authority of another. As the Psalmist indicates, we along with all else which has its origin, meaning, and purpose established in Him, serve God. Now consider the parable Jesus told concerning the ‘rich man’ going on a long journey and entrusting his great wealth to His servants. All three received something of great value and it was given them ‘according to their abilities.’ The first two servants prove the wisdom of their master in that they each invested the wealth in which they were entrusted with an understanding of the ‘plans’ of their master. Each one was rewarded for their servant hood.
I want to focus now on the third servant. Many respond that this parable doesn’t apply to them because they choose not to believe in God or His Word. That is not true. Choosing to believe a lie does not remove the reality of all that exist being under the authority of God. Choosing to believe the lie that you can live separate from God’s will without dreadful consequences only positions you to lose even the immense worth of common grace. This common grace is what enables everyone, regardless of what they believe, to enjoy the Goodness of God. Common grace is all that restrains the full expression of human sinfulness. God has graciously given us a conscience, which enables us to know the difference between right and wrong and to some degree places moral constraints on evil behavior (Rom. 2:15). He sovereignly maintains order in human society through government (Rom. 13:1–5). He enables us to admire beauty and goodness (Ps. 50:2). He imparts numerous advantages, blessings, and signs of His kindness on both the believer and the unbeliever (Matt. 5:45). All of these things are the result of common grace, God’s goodness to mankind in general.
This common grace ought to be enough to move unbelievers to repentance and recognize their position under the authority of God. Paul rebukes these unbelievers when he writes, “Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4). Even so, because of the selfishness of their hearts, the unbelievers despise the goodness of God.
Common grace does not pardon or redeem sinners, but it is nevertheless a sincere indication of God’s goodness towards mankind in general. Just as Paul also wrote, “In Him we live and move and exist… for we also are His offspring” (Acts 17:28). This takes into account all that exists and not just those who believe. God deals with us all as His offspring, all those made in His image. “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works” (Ps. 145:9).
If you question the love and goodness of God to us all, consider again the world in which we live; some say, “There’s a lot of evil and pain in this world.” The only reason evil and pain and heartache stand out so much is because there is also much love, joy and goodness. The only reason we recognize the horror is that God has graciously given us so much beauty. The only reason we feel the disappointment is there is so much in Jesus that satisfies, offering us rest.
When we understand as the first two servants did, that all of humanity is fallen and rebellious and unworthy of any blessing from God’s hand, it helps us realize how magnificent what He is graciously offering really is. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail” (Lam. 3:22, NIV). And the only reason God ever gives us anything to laugh at, smile at, or enjoy is because He is a good and loving God. If He were not, we would be immediately consumed by His wrath.
Because the third servant chose to reject even the common grace of God, and buried the truth of its worth far from his heart; when he was judged by his own choice, as all under the authority of God will be, he lost even the common grace and received the consequence of his desire to live separate from God and His goodness for all eternity. (Matt 25:26-30, Rom 1:18-32)
I guess this is where ‘choose wisely’ is really important. You will get what your heart desires most… yourself or God?
“In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord GOD is the eternal Rock. He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust.”
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.