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In today’s post, we will discuss the goodness of GOD.  What is it?  What isn’t it?  If you want to review some of the early posts in this series, check out the links at the bottom of the post or click on the Who is GOD? button to the right of this post. It has links to all the posts in this series up to today.

The goodness of GOD: What it isn’t.  The goodness of GOD is not talking about how good GOD is in terms of His holiness and moral perfection.  He is that.  But that is not today’s topic!

GOD’S GOODNESS: What it is!

The goodness of God is that perfection of God which prompts Him to deal bounteously and kindly with all His creatures.  (Berkhof)  Other names you may have heard for this trait are God’s common grace or His love of benevolence.  To clarify, this is how He deals with all His created creatures whether they are believers or not.

The term J.I. Packer used to distinguish the main aspect of GOD’s goodness from other traits in the group, is generosity.  He defines it as a disposition to give to others in a way which has no mercenary motive and is not limited by what the recipients deserve, but consistently goes beyond it.  Generosity expressed the simple wish that others should have what they need to make them happy.  Generosity is, so to speak, the focal point of GOD’s moral perfection.  It is the quality which determines how all GOD’s other excellences are to be displayed.

Some examples from Scripture are found in Psalm 145 (great chapter, especially vss 9, 15-16); Psalm 107 (especially vss. 6, 13, 19, 28); Exodus 34:5-7 (right after the Ten Commandments were given);  Exodus 33:18-19…to name just a few.  Over and over, GOD has shown His goodness to both the good and evil people in His world.

He has provided delicious flavors for us to enjoy, beautiful colors in nature, in sunsets and sunrises, in the minds of talented artists who can express it on canvas.  He has provided beauty all around for us to enjoy whether we are believers or not.  He is truly a good GOD who has been generous in His goodness to us in so many ways.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever! …

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
    and delivered them from their destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!

Psalm 107:1, 8-9, 19-21 ESV

GOD’S GOODNESS: What it isn’t

God’s goodness isn’t giving me everything I want or allowing me to do anything I want. GOD is a good parent. His 10 Commandments spell out for us the parameters for living a happy life. Not all of us believe that is what it means, but He is the One who created us. He is telling us this is what it means to live a healthy and joyful life in a good relationship with GOD and mankind.

Often, we live the way we want to and find out the hard way that He is right. Then we pay the consequences. But for the record, He did tell us what was needed. We naturally rebelled against it…just like many of our children do…in some form. As a good Father, He also provided a solution for us when we got into a big mess. He made a provision to forgive and cleanse us from our sin…at the cost of His Son’s death. Through it all, GOD’s goodness, generosity and grace is fully shown through.

Being Thankful for God’s Goodness

Sadly, we often miss so much of the goodness He has shown us because we are focused on what we don’t have.  How many people have you known, possibly your own children, who have so much…but all they can think of is the thing they want and don’t have…and are miserable over it?

Make time to write down, on a regular basis, the good things you have been given by GOD.  Make time to thank Him for those gifts.  When you start to look around for them, you will be amazed at how it changes your attitude…and how it reminds you of how much GOD has given you.  I know I don’t do it often enough, but when I find myself getting into my natural gloomy self, I have to go back and use the discipline of being thankful for all the good gifts GOD has given me.

Along with His goodness and generosity, we can insert His grace in this category of goodness.  This is the essence of grace.  Being generous to those who don’t deserve it.  So whether you are talking about common grace where GOD shows His common goodness to everyone in creation, in the ways he has created our bodies so they protect us from harm, in allowing us to have the joy of having children and marriage even though we may not be believers…it is a grace from GOD.

GOD gives special grace to His children. He is in the habit of loving people who don’t deserve it. That’s grace. It’s who He is.

He also gives special grace to those who believe on Him.  Those who repent and seek forgiveness and trust that His sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to redeem us forever.  Yes, grace is an old fashioned word.  It is also a word that is often misunderstood.  But it is a good word.  It is a communicable characteristic of GOD.  In Him, we see it perfectly.  In us, it will be flawed, but God can enable me to love people around me who don’t deserve it.  He can help me be kind to people I’d rather not even be around. Why? Because that is what He did to me when He offered me the gift of salvation when I was a mess.

Of course, that is what happened to me in the first place!  GOD graced me with His goodness.  I so did not deserve it. But He generously gave me His grace and redeemed me at the cross.  GOD IS SO GOOD! That is also what He did for you if you are in Christ.

A final word of balance: remember that this is one of the many characteristics of GOD that are in perfect balance.  His goodness is balanced by His perfect justice as well as His righteous anger against sin and injustice. This is no sweet Santa Claus in the sky!  This is GOD. He is good to all, but He isn’t only good.

I have made a list for you that you can print out and track GOD’s goodness. It will be a very encouraging exercise. This is the link for it. I hope you enjoy it.

Make time in your days and weeks to thank GOD for the many gifts He has given you…and look for new evidences of His graces He gives you daily!

Find ways to pass His grace on to others…both common grace in giving mercy to others in difficult situations and special grace in telling them about Christ and what He has done for them!

 

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