God's Surgical Improvements of our Actions 

Function Operations

Genesis 50:15-21 NKJV

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.”

So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.”’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.”

Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Romans 3:9-10 NIV

What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;

Romans 3:21-24 NIV

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

One of the more horrible images in the book of Genesis is that of Joseph being sold by his brothers into slavery.  This type of hate turned into evil act is a common occurrence in our world, too.  In the Genesis situation, though, we are given the gift of 20-20 hindsight because we know the end of the story.  God used the brothers' evil action to prevent starvation of the descendants of Abraham.  Joseph says, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good. . ." [Genesis 50:20]  In the same way, God makes our unrighteous actions righteous through Christ.  He surgically improves our actions to his own purpose.

This idea of twisting something from one form into another is what happens when function operations work on elementary functions.  You can start with two ordinary benign functions, the reciprocal function 1/x and sin(x), say, and put them together.  Depending on how you put them together, you can create something interesting and easily understood, like sin(x)/x, or something with wild behavior, like sin(1/x).  Either way, you have twisted one object into something very different.