What are the best things and how do they work for the Christian's good?
Watson answers this question under the following sections:
1) God's attributes work for good to the godly
His power is glorious (Col 1v11) and sustaining. He gives us life and the ability to breathe. It's the power of God that upholds everything!
Deuteronomy 33v29: 'Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help and the sword of your majesty!' Being saved brings the happiness of knowing that God is our shield!
God's wisdom instructs us and guides our lives so that if we listen and obey we will never fall into evil. God's goodness leads us to repentance (Rev 2v4). And repentance works for our good because it leads us to Christ the ultimate standard of good! Watson states: 'The goodness of God is a spiritual sunbeam to melt the heart into tears'.
2) The promises of God work for good to the godly
God's promises are the security of our hope. Biblical hope can't disappoint because He has given us the experience of His Spirit (Rom 5v5).
What happens when we feel full of guilt and sin? When the Devil accuses us of having too much sin for God to forgive? We claim and recite the promises of God's character to Him: 'The Lord merciful and gracious' (Exodus 24v6).
What about if we're backsliding? God promises to heal all backslidings (Hos 14v4).
Psalm 34v10 is so comforting. 'Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing'! God promises to make us prosper spiritually by sometimes inflicting us physically.
Happiness is derived from His promises. The psalmist tells us that without the joy that comes from God's promises he wouldn't have been able to continue in suffering (Psalm 119v2).
Responding to God's promises is exercising faith. This faith is the only channel that we can receive blessings from therefore His promises work for our good.
3) The mercies of God work for good to the godly
God's mercies make the hear thankful (Psalm 116v12,13). They make the heart fruitful.
A gracious soul honours the Lord with His substance. He does not do with His mercies, as Israel with their jewels and ear-rings make a golden calf, but, as Solomon did..., build a temple for the Lord.' The good Christian isn't a grave to bury God's mercies but a temple to sing His praises.
When God is merciful to a Christian the Christian wants to feed the poor. He wants to visit orphans and widows (James 1v27).
4) The graces of the Spirit work for good
The fruits of the Spirit make someone attractive. None of the fruits are ugly-all are beautiful!
The graces are evidences of heaven. They give assurance of salvation.
'The saints graces are weapons to defend them, wings to elevate them, jewels to enrich them, spices to perfume them, stars to adorn them, cordials to refresh them.'
5) The Angels for the good of the Saints
Angels are ministering Spirits sent to protect and help (Heb 1v14, Psalm 91v11). Christ was refreshed by an angel when He died (Luke 22v43) and likewise we will be.
At judgement the angels are described as being the reapers of the evil harvest. The angels will get rid of all the enemies of God so that heaven will be a perfect place.
6) The Communion of Saints works for good
Christians are required to cultivate love and good works in each other (Heb 10v24). We should all want to see each other producing fruit. Hence we are working for each others joy (2 Cor 1v24) which is our good!
7) Christ's intercession works for good
Christ has prayed for Christians (John 17) with three requests: that we would be kept from the evil one, that we would be sanctified, that we would be glorified.
Christ lives to go between God and us so that we can approach Him. Through Jesus we have access to and the greatest good-God Himself.
8) The Prayers of the Saints work for good to the godly
We pray for each others good by praying for healing (James 5v15). We pray for our society and nation for the good of the country and the elect (1 Tim 2v1-2).
Peter was prayed for and he was released from jail (Acts 12v5-7).
We pray for God to be glorified-this is the greatest good.