Agonizomai: Jonah 4:9 - Amazing Grace at Work

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Jonah 4:9 - Amazing Grace at Work
9 But God said to Jonah, "Do you do well to be angry for the plant?" And he said, "I do well to be angry, angry enough to die."

The question God asks is whether Jonah is angry at God for removing the plant. It has nothing to do with Jonah having compassion on a bit of greenery. God had asked in verse 4 if Jonah did well to be angry about His mercy towards Nineveh, but Jonah had made no reply. This time he did. His churlishness and disrespect of God by fretting in his anger and by despising his life was astounding. We like to think that we could never be so nasty to God. How little we know ourselves! God has given us a peek into Jonah’s heart – do you ever wonder what would be seen if He truly drew back the curtain on yours?

Again, the truly amazing thing here is the forbearance of God for Jonah who, in his own way, is a worse case than Nineveh. Jesus came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, and Jonah is proving the point. God does not save any person based on how good he is. And God’s righteousness in justifying a person (thus saving him) is never imparted to that person, but only imputed to him. Sanctification and glorification are rendered to those who are justified; sanctification by process and final glorification by fiat. God does not set His hand to the plow and turn back. We read Paul’s words...
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. {Ro 8:28-30}
Also, God does not use people based on how perfect they are, either. I’m not advocating that we strive for imperfection nor that we lay indolently in it – I’m only saying that if God waited to use only perfect people then Christ came in vain. The glory of God is that He accomplishes all His will through those who are in rebellion against Him, and through those saints of His who stumble and falter along the way. And we all stumble and falter. And a part of God’s will is that we be sanctified by His grace through faith, which He does in us while He works through us. Astounding!

My moniker - that's John Hancock to Americans

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