Those in whom God delights

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The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Ps. 37:23

It is possible to project our experiences with other humans upon God. This has the most unfortunate effect of thinking ungodly thoughts about God. In particular, we can fall into the habit of thinking that God is too hard to please, that he is always waiting for us to mess up so he can zap us, that he cannot really like us.

We sometimes back these unworthy ideas with Scripture: after all, doesn't the Bible tell us that even our righteousness is filthy rags (Isa. 64:6)? If we are always such sinners, how can God love us or delight in us? And if "there is none good, no not one" (Rom. 3:10), how can Ps. 37:23 apply to anybody?

But it clearly does. To whom then does it apply?

Those who are good, are not because they are natively and inherently good, but because God by his grace (on the basis of the righteousness of Christ) is making them good through the work of the Holy Spirit in them. God through his Son really is reconstituting his image in us in holiness and righteousness (Eph. 4:24). God really is condemning sin in the flesh so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:4). In other words, all those who are united to Christ by faith are good.

That doesn't mean we are perfect. It doesn't mean we don't sin. After all, part of walking in the light means confessing our sins (1 John 1:7). But it does mean that God's good work is a good work in our souls by grace. We are not good in ourselves, but God is making us good.

Moreover, we must not think that our goodness is what initiates God's delight in us. We love him because he first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19). Grace drives God's delight in us, not our own righteousness.

But the bottom line is this: God delights in his people. He rejoices over them with singing (Zeph. 3:17). If you belong to Christ, in fact, you are included in the love of the Trinity itself, as our Lord indicates in his high priestly prayer in John 17. And that means that no matter what has happened to you or what will happen to you, you can be sure that you are the apple of God's eye, and that nothing can happen but what is ultimately for your good and his glory (Rom. 8:28). Your steps are ordered by the Lord, because he delights in your way.

By: Jeremiah Bass