For the Christian, no magic wand exists for effective soul winning. We have been given the Person of the Holy Spirit as our helper, along with tools such as using the law, wisdom, prayer etc., to guide us in our efforts to obey the Great Commission. However, all of our feeble efforts must rest upon the foundation of God’s nature. Just like the foundation of a building must be strong to allow and sustain its erection, so too must Christ-followers draw the lost to the cross from the bedrock of God’s nature of kindness. The kindness of God is not simply a politically correct cliché, but the very key to unlocking the heart of the unbeliever.
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The Law of Kindness
God's Key to the Locked Heart
By Derrick Jackson
Balboa PressCopyright © 2015 Derrick Jackson
All rights reserved.
What is Kindness?
... the earth is full of the goodness (kindness) of the LORD. -Psalms 33:5b
Dictionary.com's definition of kindness is the state or quality of being kind; kind behavior; and finally, a friendly feeling. The Strong's Hebrew Dictionary word means kindness; piety; reproof, beauty, favor, good deed, kindly, mercy, pity, reproach. Finally, the Strong's Greek Dictionary's take: employed, useful in manner or morals, better, easy, good, gracious, kind.
My interpretation of the above three definitions is that the Strong's Hebrew and Greek dictionaries add piety and morality; and good, respectively to their definitions because they reflect the absolute righteousness that is God's nature. Therefore, if we consider the context of our initial verse along with other passages that refer to God's kindness, we must also add the word action to the definitions of piety, morality and good. Therefore, kindness is not only a kind feeling, it is pious, it is moral, it is good, it is also an action--a gracious work done for the benefit of another. In short, kindness is the inspiration and a good work is the end.
F.Y.I. at times throughout this work, I may use kindness, goodness, and gracious/good work interchangeably
Kindness and a good work are the heads and tails of a coin—they cannot be separated without destroying the value of both. As a matter of fact, God's kindness always leads to a good work ending in greater degrees of grace. Said another way, God's kindness and good works were designed to glorify God by benefiting mankind.
Moreover, though mercy is often translated as kindness in the Old Testament, yet in my opinion there is a distinction. I believe mercy possesses an additional nuance of—the restraint of due justice. In other words, mercy restrains the imposition of a penalty that has rightfully been earned. Therefore, if mercy is primarily a restraint, then kindness is primarily an unearned action of grace. Said yet another way, mercy is a non-action of grace, whereas kindness is the inspiration leading to a righteous action, i.e. good work.
In addition, kindness possesses niceness, and niceness kindness yet, there is also a slight distinction. Whereas kindness is the conduit to good works, niceness is more passive settling on one's disposition. Therefore, kindness may always be nice, but niceness does not always have to be kind.
Furthermore, kindness is not always rational or logical. From a human perspective at least, kindness often appears eccentric. At those times when it seems irrational however, it is not the kindness itself, but the one using the kindness.
Although not true of man, 'God's' kindness is never done with an intent to evil. On the contrary, because God is good and therefore moral, He always acts in kindness for a specific good in mind. So too, the person who generates an authentic kind act must always seek the good and purposeful benefit of the receiver. Interestingly, the receiver may neither desire, seek, or agree with the moral intention of the giver's kind act, yet neither the kindness nor the act is diminished. In other words, the receiver may not understand, nor desire the kind action of the giver, but that does not take away from God's benevolent, providential purposes inspiring it.
Oddly again, there are times when the kind act may appear to contribute to the delinquency of the receiver, yet delinquency is never the intent of authentic kindness. Kindness can only be kind ... it is designed to generate gracious acts!
Now we can better understand King David's incredible statement: "... the earth is full of the kindness of the Lord." Wherever and whenever you look at God's glorious creation, all of His works, regardless of how they are categorized, were motivated by His kindness, i.e. goodness to man.
Certainly the Bible teaches mankind does not deserve God's goodness. On the contrary, man's sin has earned God's righteous judgment. However, God's benevolent works to man inspire awe in the astute believer who ponders the incredible sovereignty of God to choose to extend mercy (and kindness) to mankind instead of justice. Nevertheless, why did the benevolent God go to the trouble of filling the earth with His kindness? The simple, yet profound answer is that kindness is His nature. He exists as Kind and therefore must manifest that kindness in good works toward humanity—for God cannot act contrary to His great nature.
When David writes the earth is full of God's kindness he refers to the fullness of God's works in the earth—all of which were created to express His kindness to mankind. Therefore, kindness can neither exist nor function alone—it needs to end with good works, all of which King David very aptly describes as innumerable.
If God's works to man are innumerable, then His kindness that inspires them must follow suit—I like to use the words: incomprehensible kindness. The Bible simply uses the word great to describe both His person and actions to man.
Allow me a moment to review: God has done so many good (kind and righteous) works that they are beyond our human capacity to count. The works are so impactful that God calls them great. In other words, God does no insignificant acts—everything He does is excellent, beautiful, substantial, immense, marvelous, wonderful, and obviously, beyond human imagination. The intent of all God's good works, however, is not just to boast of His astounding power and matchless skill, but each one of His innumerable good works is designed to be an expression of God's kindness to us, or more specifically ... to you! Incredibly, each one of His gracious acts was especially and intricately designed for you personally to encounter His kindness through a tangible experience! HALLELUJAH!
I like to use four categories to organize His wonderful, innumerable works of kindness:
1. Creative works. When God created the heavens and the earth, His works were incredible ... magnificent ... numberless! Mankind was designed to benefit from the creative works of God. These works of God were designed to be seen with the human eye, which includes everything from the incredible infinitesimal intricacies of the microscopic world to the endless magnitude and awesome beauty of the mind-bogglingly massive universe.
The Psalmist said,
He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered ...
And Job confirms,
Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.
Amazingly, God did not stop here ...
2) Redemptive Works. Included in the innumerable works of God are His redemptive works. These works include everything surrounding the work of the cross of Christ. The redemptive works are those works which God does to restore His people to Himself—to save, to deliver, to heal, to comfort. For example,
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do
Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father ...
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
God's innumerable redemptive works are differentiated from His innumerable creative works which occurred at the beginning of time. In short, redemptive works are the works and miracles of Christ.
3) Purposive Works. Also included within God's mighty actions are His innumerable, unique, individual works. These are works that He placed inside each human being, which many as of yet, are unseen by the world. These works reside in the heart of each man to be manifested in the earth through 'hard work' within a specific, temporal time period.
The apostle Paul says to the Ephesians,
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Paul continues this time addressing the Corinthians:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
4) Providential Works. The Providential works of God are those which God sovereignly performs to accomplish His great purposes. Included in this category are those works that are not directly part of His covenant promises to us. Moreover, these works include God's miracles which unveil His sovereign rule over nature, i.e. dividing the Red Sea, or Jonah swallowed by the great fish, etc.
Other examples of works which fall under this category are the judgment works of God, or those works God does in the earth in response to the unrighteous behavior of mankind.
My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.
But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
Incredibly, His Creative works, as well as His Redemptive works, along with His Purposive works, and also His Providential works take on His nature, and are each innumerable, as well as collectively innumerable!
King David establishes this incredible truth:
O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
In addition, what's equally if not more profound is that in addition to the individual innumerable collective works, i.e. Creative works, Redemptive works, Purposive works, and His Providential works, is that within His Purposive works lay another level of innumerable works. Within every human being ever created is a storehouse of unique innumerable acts of God reserved especially for him/her. In other words, God did not just create innumerable acts (Creative, Redemptive, Purposive, and Providential) as a whole, nor did He just create innumerable acts within each individual category (Creative, Redemptive, Purposive, and Providential) but incredibly, He created innumerable different acts for each human being! As each person is different, so God's works for that person are innumerable and different! In other words again, each individual's Purposive works are different from every other individual's Purposive works! Yet, each individual's Purposive works are still innumerable! Selah!
That's so incredible I find the need to repeat myself yet again—every single Purposive work is uniquely God-designed for each individual—yet each one of those works are still innumerable. And again, every single individual's Purposive work is different from every other individual's Purposive work!
Psalms 139:17-18 was written to whatever individual that reads it—its application is not just for King David:
"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee."
This text says His thoughts toward us are as the sand—an obvious allusion to innumerability. Yet, God's thoughts and actions cannot be divided—they are one as He is one. He thinks thoughts purposefully, not randomly or whimsically—therefore, God's thoughts toward any one person are tantamount to His works. He cannot think a thought toward you without that thought becoming an action toward you, or for you.
This incredible truth is supported by the very context of Psalms 139:14, which is why the writer uses such words like: "fearfully and wonderfully made" or "How precious are thy thoughts unto me, how great is the sum of them" or "they are more in number than the sand"! The emphasis is on the absolute uniqueness of every human being ever born into the earth! God's uniqueness is not limited ... He is infinite!
A wonderful natural example of man's uniqueness is confirmed by human DNA! Incredibly, DNA gives evidence that there is no human being exactly like any other human from time past to future—which includes billions of people! Yet as mind-boggling as that is ... it must also be true—from Psalms 139:17,18— that God's thoughts toward each one of those billions of people who have ever lived, are as the grains of the sands of the sea! I repeat, this cannot possess any other intent than to convey innumerability, boundlessness, without limits! Yet, because God is uniquely creative, and incomprehensible in His greatness, it is not far-fetched to interpret this to mean that every one of God's thoughts toward every single person are not only innumerable but also as distinct as his or her DNA!!! What a mighty God we serve!
The Psalmist wrote:
Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
If you are not jumping and shouting for joy ... something is wrong!
This marvelous, brain contorting truth about our unique innumerable works occurred to me one day while reading the story of Solomon.
The Bible says God gave him,
... wisdom and understanding exceeding much and largeness of heart, even as the sand on the seashore.
God again used the word picture of sand to express the idea of innumerability, this time to describe the greatness of Solomon's wisdom, understanding and largeness of heart. This beautiful analogy became crystal clear to me after reading, later in that same passage, that this gift of wisdom and understanding, among many other things, resulted in 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs (v32)—an incredible feat!
This gives insight into the intention of God when He instructed us to dare ask Him for "great and mighty things" of which we do not know.
Allow me to use a contemporary illustration of God's "... great and mighty things ..." Approximately 3000 years after Solomon died, God gave Charles Wesley, the brother of John Wesley, and founder of the Methodist church, over 10,000 songs! My breath was taken away as I began to ponder that Charles Wesley wrote more songs than a man who is arguably considered the wisest man in the Bible (not including Christ)! But, how can this be? How can a contemporary man exceed the productivity of a man as wise and great as King Solomon?
Yet, God was not through blowing my mind. My thoughts continued awestruck as I pondered that the number of songs Charles Wesley wrote were not all the songs God had for him, but only those songs God was able to get to him before he died! In other words, the 10,000 songs were only a portion of his potential! Actually, the songs God foreordained for Charles Wesley to write were innumerable!
The wonderful principle of "enlarging the heart" combined with the "... great and mighty things ..." revelation, are promises to mankind as a whole, not just to these two great men, King Solomon and Charles Wesley. Incredibly, this innumerable, unique principle applies to every human being in his or her own area of Purposive works!
A further example might help. Every songwriter creates songs categorized within a genre of music. Yet that one songwriter can create an endless number of songs within that genre—a mind-boggling thought all by itself! Yet, all the songs by that one songwriter are all different; and again yes ... the potential number of songs for each songwriter is still innumerable! In other words, as the innumerable principle relates to songwriters, God can easily give each writer as many, or more songs, than He gave to Charles Wesley! The creativity of God, not only in songwriters, but in any one man ... is simply without limits!
Excerpted from The Law of Kindness by Derrick Jackson. Copyright © 2015 Derrick Jackson. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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