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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Personal Attributes of God

Don Stewart :: Is God Good?

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Is God Good?

The Personal Attributes of God – Question 3

One of the characteristics of God is His goodness. The Bible makes it clear that the God of the Bible is a good God.

Jesus Himself taught the goodness of God. Mark wrote about a conversation Jesus had with a man who called Him “good.” We read the following.

Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” (Mark 10:18 NRSV)

According to Jesus, only God possesses goodness.

The psalmist also spoke about God’s goodness. He said the earth is full of the Lord’s goodness. He wrote,

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. (Psalm 33:5 NKJV)

In a wide sense, the goodness of God includes all of His positive moral attributes. The Bible says the following things about the goodness of good.

1. God Is the Source of All Things Good

Everything that is good has its ultimate source in the God of the Bible. The New Testament writer James made this clear when he wrote the following.

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

It is from God Himself which all good things come.

John the Baptist stated the same truth. He said,

“A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” (John 3:27 ESV)

Heaven, in this context, is another way of saying, “God.” Again we find that all good things ultimately have their origin in God.

2. God Is Good and He Does Good

The God of Scripture is not only is good, He also does good things. The psalmist made these points clear when he wrote,

You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. (Psalm 119:68 NIV)

The God of the Bible does good things. Consequently, we want to learn from Him how we too can do that which is right.

3. God Is Good to Everyone

God demonstrates His goodness to us in a variety of ways. One way is that He grants mercy to His creation. This is known as “common grace.” This common grace extends to believer, and unbeliever, alike. Jesus said,

“In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too.” (Matthew 5:45 NLT)

Everyone benefits from these acts of goodness from the Lord.

The psalmist wrote about how God shows His goodness to everyone. He explained it in this manner.

The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. (Psalm 145:9 NKJV)

God is indeed good to everyone. The problem, of course, is that not everyone realizes this. Even those who do realize this truth are not thankful for His goodness.

The Apostle Paul stated that God provides for His creation the things that are necessary for our existence.

“...yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good—giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:17 NRSV)

The living God is good to everyone. This is clearly taught in God’s Word.

4. He Gives Good Things to Believers

God also grants His special goodness to the particular individuals who believe in Him. For example, those who believe in Him are given everlasting life. The Bible says,

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 RSV)

Only those who believe in Christ receive the good “gift” of salvation. Those who do not believe do not have this gift.

His goodness is not only demonstrated by the granting of salvation to all who believe, but also the loving care of watching over His people. We read in the Book of Exodus,

He passed in front of Moses and said, “I am the LORD, I am the LORD, the merciful and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness. I show this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. Even so I do not leave sin unpunished, but I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:6, 7 NLT)

The Lord watches over His people with continuous love and concern.

The Lord Jesus spoke of the concern which God has for those who are His. Matthew records it as follows.

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (Matthew 6:30 NASB)

God looks after those who belong to Him.

The Bible also says that God the Father knows how to give good gifts to His children. Jesus made this clear when He said the following.

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11 HCSB)

The Lord is the giver of good things to Christians.

In fact, God only desires good things for believers. Paul wrote about this. He said,

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2 HCSB)

God has a will or a plan for us that is good, pleasing and perfect. This is a wonderful biblical truth!

The psalmist also testified that God does not withhold any good gift for those who trust Him. This promise is recorded as follows.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. (Psalm 84:11 NIV)

The Lord does indeed give good things to those who believe.

5. God’s Goodness Is Shown in His Patience with Humanity

God’s goodness is also exhibited in His patience. He waits for people to come to Him by faith by giving them time to repent of their sins. Peter wrote,

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NRSV)

God’s patience needs to be properly understood. It is not because He is tolerating sin. Rather it is because He wants sinners to repent.

The Apostle Paul echoed the same truth. He said that God’s patience with people is for the purpose of leading them to repent.

Do you have contempt for God, who is very kind to you, puts up with you, and deals patiently with you? Don’t you realize that it is God’s kindness that is trying to lead you to him and change the way you think and act? (Romans 2:4 God’s Word)

Patience is shown by the Lord toward sinners. His grace and kindness is shown toward those who are still outside of the faith.

6. God’s Grace and Mercy Expresses His Goodness

God’s grace is an expression of His goodness. Grace is the opposite of justice. When we deserve judgment, God extends His grace, and mercy. God’s goodness and His mercy are spoken of together in Scripture.

The Bible says that the Lord’s goodness and mercy are given to those whom He chooses to give it. Moses wrote,

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Exodus 33:19 NIV)

Notice that it is the Lord Himself who makes the ultimate choice as to whom to show mercy and compassion.

The psalmist wrote about the abundant mercy that the Lord gives to those who desperately need it. This includes all of us. He wrote,

Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. (Psalm 69:16 NRSV)

The mercy of the God of the Bible, as well as His amazing grace, are different ways of expressing His goodness toward sinful humanity.

7. God’s Goodness Should Be Celebrated

The goodness of God is something that should be celebrated by believers. The psalmist wrote about this and said the following.

They will give a testimony of Your great goodness and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. (Psalm 145:7 HCSB)

We ought to continually thank the Lord for His goodness. Indeed, like the psalmist we ought to honor Him with praise and song.

Again, we read in the Psalms about the need for thankfulness on the part of God’s people toward Him. He wrote,

Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1 NRSV)

With the psalmist, we ought to celebrate the goodness of the Lord.

8. Believers Should Act like God and Always Do Good

Because God is good, those who believe in Him should also act in a manner which is good toward everyone. Paul wrote to the Galatians.

Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters. (Galatians 6:10 NLT)

This is especially true toward those who are believers.

This sums up some of the important things which the Scripture has to say about the goodness of God. Our God truly is good!

Summary – Question 3
Is God Good?

The Bible says that God is good. What do we mean by this? For one thing, God’s goodness is the total of His moral attributes. God is good, and He does things that are good. His goodness is demonstrated to us in a number of ways.

He provides for all humankind by keeping the universe running in an orderly fashion. This is one way in which He shows His goodness to everyone, believer and unbeliever.

The Bible says that He gives special privileges to those who put their faith in Him. This is how He shows His goodness in a unique way to those who have believed in Jesus Christ. Indeed, those who are “in Christ” have been given blessings by the Lord.

God is patient with the unbeliever by giving them many chances to repent of their sins. His patience in not judging them is an example of His love toward these people. While they are alive they still have a chance to turn to Him.

God’s goodness is expressed in His grace and mercy. However, Scripture is quick to point out that the Lord shows mercy on whom He desires. It is His choice whom to be merciful to.

Because of these truths, the goodness of God should be celebrated. Indeed, He is worthy of our praise and worship.

Finally, believers are to imitate God in this attribute, and should act in a manner that is good to everyone. In doing so, we glorify our Father who is in heaven.

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