The Goodness of God – At the completion of the first Temple and after Solomon’s prayer dedicating it, we learn this in the first three verses of 2 Chr 7, all the children of Israel “… worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever”. Indeed, God’s goodness as well as all His other divine attributes reveal His magnificent, glorious, and inscrutable majesty. His goodness is portrayed throughout the Bible in hundreds of verses. We know from Jesus’ words in similar verses in Matthew, Mark and Luke that only God is “good”. We read this in Mark 10:18, “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God”. Of course, by that statement Jesus did not mean that He is not God. Jesus is identifying Himself as God and the Messiah. Rom 3:12 (which quotes Psa 53:1) also emphasizes that there is none good: “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” . God’s goodness is also uniquely associated with His mercy in a number of passages, like Psa 86:5, Psa 145:9: “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works”. Rom 2:4 immediately helps us to see the reason for this: “… the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance [or salvation]?”. Not only is God inherently good, but He bestows His goodness upon His creatures, and salvation is the highest expression of His infinite goodness, as Jam 1:17–18 insists. Salvation is the greatest gift anybody can receive because no human being deserves it. In fact, we deserve the opposite, which is eternal damnation. Isa 52:7 announces the greatest demonstration of God’s goodness as found in the Gospel – that is, the whole Bible: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
Jam 1:17–18 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18Of his own will begat [made us born-again] he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
Psa 86:5 “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”
Psa 145:8–9 “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. 9The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”
Psa 107:1 “O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”
- God’s Goodness Repents Him of the Evil – God Himself does not repent, or change His mind, according to Num 23:19: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” and 1 Sam 15:29: “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent”. Now on the surface, this can be a bit confusing. Didn’t God “repent” when He did not bring judgment against Nineveh? It is not the repentance in Ninevites that brought out Goodness in God but it is the goodness of God that worked repentance in Ninevites. The first point we have to come to grips with is that even before the foundation of the world, God had planned to save the Ninevites. This was very difficult for Jonah to comprehend. Why would God show this degree of kindness and mercy to such rebellious, wicked individuals and sworn enemies of Israel? Note what he says in Jon 4:1, “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry”. However, God was also teaching Jonah an “object lesson”, even as He did with Peter many hundreds of years later about His plan to save a people for Himself which included both Jews and Gentiles. In Jonah’s case, it involved a gourd which God had graciously provided to shield Jonah from the burning sun which was beating down on him in Jonah 4. God’s answer to Jonah in Jon 4:9–11 helps us see God’s love as the motivating force behind this wonderful salvation account, even though God had warned of impending judgment previously.
Jon 3:10 “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented [comforted] of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not”
Jon 4:9–11 “And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”
Exo 33:19 “And he [God] said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.”
Rom 9:15–16 “For he [God] saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Joel 2:12–13 “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”
- God’s Goodness Lead us to Repentance – Rom 2:4 makes this beautiful declaration: “…the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”, which is synonymous with salvation. Rom 2:4 emphasizes God’s sovereign power and grace to save His elect people: “Or despisest thou [speaking about at unsaved man] the riches of his [God’s] goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance [or salvation]?”. God’s Goodness is closely is associated with God’s mercy as we have seen in Psa 86:5: “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee”. Psa 52:1–7 paints a similar picture of human depravity and God’s goodness, despite of man’s rebellion. God is merciful to His elect and saves them because of His goodness; and He works all things “together for good” in their lives, as we read in Rom 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. Heb 13:21 brings out the incomprehensible reality that God is working to accomplish His divine will in the lives of His people: “Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ”.
Psa 52:1–7 “Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually. 2Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. 3Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. 4Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. ”
2 Pet 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Heb 13:20–21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Goodness – We need to understand that God must first raise us from spiritual death before we can be “good” and “upright” in God’s eyes. Psa 65:4 pinpoints how God “draws” a person to salvation and is another beautiful illustration of God’s mercy in making His people as holy as Himself: “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple”. Only those whom God has saved can “be good” and “do good” in His eyes because their sins have been paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross; and whatever “good works” they do is only because God is working in them to accomplish “His good pleasure”, according to Php 2:13: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”. Eph 5:9 and Gal 5:22–23 gives us an excellent description of “goodness” as one of the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal 5:22–23). With the continual work of grace – the operation of God – in the Christian’s life, God gives to those who are “new creatures in Christ” – this command in Jam 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”. If God has saved you, He will give you an earnest and ongoing desire to do His will, as set forth in His Word, the Bible. God’s people will receive His “goodness and mercy” all the days of their lives – which is forevermore: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (Psa 23:6). Salvation is life eternal and, once received, can never be lost or taken away: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Php 1:6). Eph 2:7 gives us a glimpse of what God has planned for believers in eternity future: “That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”.
Luke 11:9–13 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
Eph 5:8–11“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth😉 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
Eph 4:32 “And be ye kind [Good] one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
2 Chr 6:41 “Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests [the children of God], O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints [the children of God] rejoice in goodness.”