God, Show Us Your Glory – Part 6 – Goodness
It seems rather obvious to say that God is good, but to many people don’t think “good” when they think about God. In fact, when interpreting suffering and evil in the world, many people not only doubt the goodness of God, but question His very existence. This is nothing new; the Devil has attempted to undermine God’s goodness since the beginning. Genesis 3:4-5 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Let’s consider what God’s word says about His goodness and answer these two questions.
Is God really good?
Jesus taught that only God was truly good. Luke 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. The Apostle John declared that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. The idea here is that God always behaves or acts in a way that is good, right, and correct. Goodness is a part of God’s nature just like omnipresence and omnipotence. God can never live out of character or out of line with His attributes. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). God will always judge rightly (Genesis 18:25). God cannot deny or go against who He is. 2 Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. There is no presence of evil/darkness (the opposite of goodness) in God. 1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
If God is good, why is there so much bad?
It’s amazing to realize how complex this topic is, but the simplest answer to this question is to understand that evil isn’t a “something” but the “absence of something,” namely – goodness. “You cannot have a jar of evil. Evil has no existence of its own; it is really the absence of good. For example, holes are real but they only exist in something else. We call the absence of dirt a hole, but it cannot be separated from the dirt. So when God created, it is true that all He created was good. One of the good things God made was creatures who had the freedom to choose good. In order to have a real choice, God had to allow there to be something besides good to choose.” When mankind fails to “image/reflect” God (absence of good) there is evil and darkness; we call this sin. Much of mankind’s pain and suffering is the result of their inability to do and/or be good. The Good News of Jesus fixes this problem and is God’s ultimate expression of His goodness. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Through Christ, God provided a way for man to be made right with Him. He uses many methods including creation (tropical storms, pandemics, etc.), conviction (internal spiritual confrontation with the Spirit of Christ), and chastening (personal physical resistance such as sickness, frustrations, and the challenges of life) to bring mankind to a place of repentance and salvation. Chastening may seem negative but ultimately is good because God uses it to bring mankind to salvation and satisfaction in God. Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Understanding God’s goodness is crucial to our daily living. Psalm 27:13 had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. What a blessing to know that we too can be good as we abide in Him and He produces his fruit in our life. Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.