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Good Will Comes to the Undeserving

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior…” (Titus 3:4-6).

We received the following letter:

You wrote:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

It’s “on earth, peace to men of good will“.. not good will toward men.

Paul’s reply:

Watcher,

You are wrong. Not only technically, but far more importantly, in spirit. I will show you.

Technically, Young’s Literal Translation, which gives the word for word translation of the original text, translates Luke 2:14 as follows:

“Glory in the highest to God, and upon earth peace, among men–good will.”

It is not saying “peace among men OF good will,” as you quote, but is proclaiming the good will of God towards mankind, at that very instant making physical appearance, newly-born and lying there before them, Jesus Christ the Messiah. The Scripture speaks plainly of what God was bringing to all men in Christ, “upon earth peace, among men–good will.”

Spiritually, you have things backwards. You are qualifying Christ’s love and His good will towards mankind according to the goodness of men. It is just the opposite. The love of Christ is according to the goodness of God, not man. Mankind has no goodness to merit God’s good will. Jesus Christ came to save sinners, not the righteous. It is by His mercy, and not our worthiness, that we are saved. And we, His people purchased by His blood, go forth in like spirit. Hear what He said to those in whom the good will of God is realized:

“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:43-45).

Jesus sent out His disciples in the good will of God towards all men, instructing them as follows:

“And He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. And He sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. And He said to them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staffs, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money, nor each to have two tunics. And whatever house you enter into, abide there and depart from there. And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them” (Luke 9:1-5).

They cast out devils and healed the sick. He did not say to heal only the righteous. Just as He healed the ten lepers, but only one came back to show gratitude, so He sent His own to give freely of what is His with no expectation in return. For those who do not receive Him, He moves on, His testimony to do its work in due time.

However, I will not argue that He does not bring peace to men of good will, that is, to men that He has made His own. He has done that for us.

What say you now?

Paul

Watcher’s response:

Your right.

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