22 April 2011

The Goodness of God

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

When you understand the character of a person, you will understand their choices and decisions in life. God is no different - when we understand His divine character and nature, we will agree and appreciate His decisions and judgements for our life as well.

God’s Goodness should be expectant and delighted in by His children. If our eyes are open, we will see His goodness follow us, chase us down, and run us over! Sometimes it is well hidden and then becomes a surprise in an unexpectant moment, to maximise our delight and joy.

Goodness can be defined as:
• Kindness, dispensing of good and wonderful gifts, compassion, helpfulness, gifts that are pleasant, lovely and enjoyable; to someone’s benefit or profit;
• God’s abundant overflow of unmerited gifts to all people, good and bad, especially His offer of Salvation by means of His Beloved Son, due to His Mercy and Grace.

The Goodness of God is the overall summation of His Divine and Perfect Character. Apart from God, we can not even begin to understand what True Goodness is, for it can not be understood apart from knowing God who alone is the Author of Goodness.

The Goodness of God is declared right from the beginning in the account of Creation. Repeatedly, God pronounces everything He created as ‘good’. Ultimately, all that originates from God can not be anything but good and wonderful: And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good (Gen 1:31).

The Nature of God is to Show Goodness

Psalms 31:19 How great is Your Goodness! You have stored it up for those who fear you. You do good things for those who trust you. You do this for all to see.

The Goodness of God is a foundational truth that shapes our perspective toward God and His dealings with us. God is good to all men in His common grace, showering blessings on the wicked and the righteous alike. More importantly, God is particularly good to those who believe and obey Him completely.

The Gospel is Good News because we serve a Good God. Everywhere in the Bible it declares the Goodness God. It is Great (Neh 9:35), Rich (Ps 104:24), Abundant (Ex 34:6) and Universal (Ps 145:9). Specifically, it is given to those who Fear Him (Ps 31:19), His people (Ps 119:68), and the forgiving of sins (Ps 86:5). God alone is good - in comparison, no man is good apart from Him.

Psalms 107:1; 8-9 O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endures forever... Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and His wonderful works to the children of men. For He satisfies the hungry soul with goodness…

The Bible tells us the truth that mankind is a sinner, deserving God’s eternal wrath (Rom 1:18-3:23). But God in His mercy and grace has made possible one way by which men may escape judgment, and in His Goodness we can spend eternity in His presence.

Goodness comes naturally to God. He is always good - He does not have to work at it. His goodness is made visible in what He does for His people. His Goodness keeps us from harm, provides our needs, and leads us on paths of peace and rest. God's goodness is not just a theological fact but it is something that can be personally experienced.

God’s greatest demonstration of His goodness was sending His only Son to die on a Cross in our place of condemnation (John 3:5-18; Rom 5:6-8). Out of this goodness He gives each man the choice to either accept or reject His Son.

After all, He is too good to force a decision on anyone’s free will. To deny His Son is to therefore deny His Greatest act of Eternal Goodness.

The Goodness of God Leads to Repentance

Romans 2:4do you not know that God’s kindness [goodness towards you] is intended to lead you to repentance?

It is likely that the Goodness of God has lead you and me to accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. The Bible shows us that it is the Goodness of God that leads one to repentance. People do not respond to repentance by threats of Hell or judgement.

People respond to God by His Goodness and Kindness. Fear of punishment wears off after a while. Yet goodness can last a lifetime. Most people turn to God, not because of fear of punishment, but because they find out that He is the only solution to their problems.

However, some believers seem to think that once they are saved that God for some reason withdraws His goodness! They think He puts us through tragedy, sickness, pain, poverty, temptations and a multitude of trials to discipline us. Such thinking is only lies from the enemy. Once we have come into the Kingdom of God He does not give us less of His goodness. He bestows upon us more and more, though in our busyness we may not see them.

There is such an absolute perfection in God’s nature and being that nothing is wanting to it or defective in it and nothing can be added to it to make it better. He is originally good, good of Himself, which nothing else is; for all creatures are good only by participation and communication from God... – Unknown

Final Thoughts

The Goodness of God is a life-transforming revelation. His Goodness is a character trait which applies to every other one of His attributes. We must believe with all certainty and have no doubt that our God is a Good God in every way. Because He is Perfect, all His ways are Perfect.

We must take this truth of God’s goodness one more step. This means that God’s wrath is good. God’s holiness is good. God’s judgement is good. There is nothing about God that is not good. There is nothing God purposes for His children that is not good.

This means He withholds nothing good from us, even trials, pain and suffering which is at work in our lives for our good (Rom 8:28). Ultimately, nothing which God creates or accomplishes, He can never be not good – ever.

James 1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

If the tables were turned and you were God, would you be so willing to show goodness to your creation who had rebelled against you? Yet God in His greatness is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8), and He causes the sun to rise on the good and evil, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt 5:45).

Our only response to this Good God is - surely His goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever (Psalm 23:6)