THE GOODNESS OF GOD: What It Is and Why It Matters
When I think of all the sermons I’ve heard, the Bible studies I’ve completed, and the books I’ve read, I don’t remember anyone ever delving deep into the goodness of God. I mean really examining God’s goodness and how understanding His goodness can literally change everything! The reason for this may stem from the fact that we all think we understand the term “good” pretty well. After all, goodness is something everyone values, believers and unbelievers alike. While goodness is a concept we all can relate to, God’s goodness goes far deeper than most of us realize. God’s goodness can turn our lives upside down when we truly grasp what it is and why it matters.
WHAT IT IS
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good.” Luke 18:19
Goodness is part of God’s nature. This means He can’t be anything but good; it is who He is. He has no evil in Him. John tells us that He is light and there is no darkness in Him (I John 1:5). He always does what is right (Psalm 11:7), and He is perfect and holy (I Samuel 2:2). One of the best descriptions of God’s goodness is found in His proclamation to Moses (Exodus 24:6-7a).
Take a moment and imagine God saying this in whatever voice works for you!
The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out,
“Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty.”
The Bible tells us God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19, Hebrews 6:18), so we can be confident all of the attributes God uses to describe himself to Moses are true. I found it interesting the KJV translated filled with unfailing love and faithfulness as abundant in goodness and truth. The goodness of God is not lacking. His goodness, as reflected in His compassion, mercy, long-suffering, love, faithfulness, and forgiveness, goes beyond anything we can imagine. Did you notice God’s description of Himself not only included who He is but also what He does? As believers, we should be undone by the fact that God isn’t just good; He also DOES good! He is incapable of anything less.
So much about God’s attributes can be lumped under the heading of “goodness,” but as I studied these verses, two aspects of His goodness emerged. I want to briefly share what I have discovered because I want you to be just as astonished as I am!
According to J.I. Packer, God’s goodness points toward generosity. God desires to dump a generous amount of love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness on His children. He expects absolutely nothing in return, and His generosity is not based on what we deserve. He wants nothing more than to shower us with blessings. Never forget this! Don’t let the world, difficult circumstances, or negative people convince you that God does not want what is best for you. He does! Hold onto this truth, and let it guide your thoughts throughout the day. Our God is a generous God! I would highly recommend you take time to read Psalm 145 this week and bask in the goodness of God!
Another equally important aspect of God’s goodness is His justice. Did you notice what He said to Moses right after mentioning forgiveness? But I do not excuse the guilty. Most of us would prefer to skip over this verse; however, we don’t have to be fearful of God’s justice because God’s justice is rooted in His goodness. God is holy, and He cannot be in the presence of sin. He is so good that He sent Jesus to the cross to take our sin on Himself (1 Peter 2:24). He did this so you and I would never have to be separated from God. A just God provided a way for sinful people to come into His presence for all eternity. If that isn’t goodness, I don’t know what is!
Furthermore, God doesn’t convict us of sin to punish us. He isn’t looking down from Heaven waiting to strike the minute we sin! Because He is good, God’s conviction leads us to repentance, and repentance restores our relationship with Him (1 John 1:9). Far too many believers attribute feelings of guilt and shame to God when in reality His desire for us is to live a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10). When we mess up—and we will—we should repent, accept God’s forgiveness, and move on. God is good, and forgiveness is His specialty!
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17
WHY IT MATTERS
Embracing the goodness of God should completely change how we live our lives. We can wake up in the morning excited to face the day knowing God’s purposes and plans for us are good. We can walk into our classrooms or workplaces with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts knowing God’s goodness is with us. Challenges, temptations, setbacks, detours, and failures can all be viewed as opportunities to experience the goodness of God!
Remember—God is good, and God does good. He will never put anything in our path that is not for our good. I know it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, especially if we are in a season of suffering. However, having been there myself, I can tell you there is always victory on the other side of suffering (1 Peter 5:10). Remembering God’s goodness insulates us from becoming controlled by our circumstances when opportunities for anger, frustration, or indifference arise. Why? Because the Bible assures us all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). No matter what happens, no matter how evil this world becomes, God is still good.
I said at the beginning of this blog that an understanding of God’s goodness could turn our lives upside down! Be happy! Celebrate your life! Face every day with the undeniable truth that God is good and His goodness is poured out over you in excess! Relish in His goodness today. It can change your life and the lives of those around you!
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Psalm 27:13
Reference: Knowing God, J.I. Packer, 1973, p. 162
Want to enjoy some music about the goodness of God? I can’t get these tunes out of my head!
· Goodness of God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sE5kEnitqE
· Good Good Father: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlsQrycKKsY