I don’t know why, but it struck me this morning how comforting it is that God uses our sins for good.
I’m not saying our sins are good, obviously. I’m saying He takes our stupid decisions and eventually uses the results for good purposes.
Of course, the go-to verse on the subject is Romans 8:28. Paul is going on and on about how the Spirit prays on our behalf, and then Paul writes, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
And what, pray tell, is “the good” to which Paul is referring? Next verse, “…to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.”
God works ALL THINGS–including our sinful choices!–to make us more like Jesus.
I kind of want to jump up and down and celebrate this. Because I sin a lot. But God is too good to waste my disobedience.
That’s about all I had to say on this subject until I went to Bible study this morning, and God brought the topic up again. (Yes, God attends my Bible study.)
We are studying Ruth, and it turns out her story is the prime example of God working sin for good.
Back in the day God was very clear to the Israelites that they were not to marry non-Israelites. He knew if they did those foreigners would draw the Israelites into idolatry.
God was trying to protect the Israelites from the gravest sin of all–worshiping something other than Him–by saying, “Hey, you guys? We’re gonna go ahead and call ‘intermarrying with Gentiles who don’t worship me and me alone’ sin because it will hurt you if you do it, and, also, it will dishonor Me.”
[Side note: these are the two reasons God labels anything sin. He’s not trying to ruin our fun or pull rank for the sake of pulling rank. He’s trying to PROTECT US and ensure He is properly glorified. If we could only get that through our ridiculously thick heads…]
All that to say, the book of Ruth opens with an Israelite family moving to a foreign land and the sons of the family immediately marrying foreign women. In other words, SIN (we have no evidence Ruth was a Yahweh follower). Mahlon’s decision to marry Ruth, a non-Israelite was a direct violation of God’s law.
Fast forward to the end of the book and we see that Ruth, who has since become a Yahweh follower (1:16), births a son named Obed via her second husband, an Israelite man named Boaz. Obed grows up and has a son named Jesse, and Jesse grows up and has a son named David. As in King David, the greatest Israelite King of all time, and the ancestor from whom Mary and, subsequently, Jesus would come.
DO YOU SEE WHAT JUST HAPPENED HERE?!
God used one man’s sin not just for “good” but to PROVIDE A WAY FOR ALL OF HUMANITY TO BE REDEEMED.
Are you kidding me, God?!
I really want to jump up and down and celebrate this one!
Ruth had Gentile blood. Boaz had Israelite blood. Their son, Obed, had a bit of both. And all the descendants after Obed–including Mary and JESUS–had mixed blood as well.
Why should we even care about Jesus’ blood type?
I think it is PROFOUND (clearly, given the amount of all caps I’m using in this post) because Christ didn’t just come to save the Israelites; He came to save Gentiles and Israelites.
God has always been for all people groups (this is a theme throughout the Bible, starting with the Abrahamic Covenant back in Genesis 12), even though He had a “chosen nation” in Israel. He has always wanted to redeem any person of any race who wanted to follow Him.
And you know how He did that?
Not via a pure Israelite Messiah. Nope. By a Savior who had blood ties to Gentiles and Jews alike!
If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is. (Actually, the latter is not related to the former in any way.)
Anywho, reeling myself back in, my point is TAKE HEART; God can and will use all of our sins for good purposes.
BUT DON’T STOP THERE!
See the silver lining, and trust God to use the results of your sin for eternal good–the formation of your soul (and the souls around you) to look a little more like Christ than you did before you sinned.