“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”1 Thessalonians 5:24
A recent children’s anthology I read described Christianity this way: “[Christians] believe that God watches over them and wants them to be good.” Wow. While this is an extremely accurate description of how modern culture views Christianity, it is a far cry from the true character of the God of the Bible and His message to the world. In other words, the people who wrote this summary have probably never read the book of Genesis.
How good are God’s people? Well, according to Genesis 12-50, we have a host of scoundrels to present to you; a family of rebels. We have brothers selling a brother into slavery. We have wives in their barrenness offering up other women to their husbands for the sake of continuing their family line. We have husbands offering their wives to Kings, saying they are their sisters to protect their own skin. We have polygamy, incest, murder, rape, lying and cheating. People laugh at the promises of God. Mothers and fathers pick favorite children. God is watching over them? Maybe they believe that. But still, everyone tries to self-protect at all costs even when God has told them He will protect them.
Is being good really God’s ultimate desire for His creation?
God’s desire for His people is so much bigger than wanting them to “be good.” (Thank goodness!) He wants you to be made new. He wants you to be whole and wholly filled with Him, the satisfier of all our longings. He wants our fullness to overflow into praise back to Him. He wants your heart to soften and expand to love as He loves, and He wants your actions to reflect the joy and freedom that you have found in His rescue. As for goodness, He actually wants you to know that “none is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11). He wants you to acknowledge your not-goodness so you can receive His gift of Jesus’ goodness in your place.
Ultimately, the point of Christianity is actually not our goodness. The point is God’s goodness. The riches of His love extend to the worst of the worst who believe in Him and receive Him by faith. If we are in Christ, He declares us good, and then proceeds to transform us into His image, bit by bit, till we see Him face to face.
Genesis 12-50 is the continuation of our family story. We see this difficult walk of faith and repentance through the expanding family of God in all its twists and turns, the crude exploits of his forgetful followers and the gracious mercy of their God. The beautiful, yet complex narrative of Genesis tells us about a promise-making and a promise-keeping God who does the work of building and renewing and forgiving a people that will lean on His goodness instead of their own.
Are you ready to learn more about that God? Because He has some good promises to give you.
Let’s receive them together as we lay our sin and our goodness at His feet, expecting Him to fill us with more than we could ever ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).
We’d love to have you join our Bible Study as we delve into the second part of Genesis. Click here for more information and to sign up!