THE GOODNESS OF GOD
This Psalm says, “Oh, how great is Your goodness.” In this study we shall examine the attribute of God's goodness. In addition to His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience and eternity, we are informed that God is good. From many scriptures that affirm the goodness of God I will mention two others. In the book of Nahum 1:7 we read these words, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust Him.” After describing the immoral and corrupt religious lifestyle of the Gentile world, the apostle Paul in Romans 2:4, speaking as he was moved by the Holy Sprit, said, “Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” By the goodness of God we mean that particular aspect of the Divine nature that disposes Him to provide happiness to His creatures.
We begin the study with God's name. The goodness of God is seen in His very; name, for what is His name “God,” but a short name for good. The word God is a short for good, and the word good is a short for God.. The English language saw fit to remove one “o” from the word good and that is where the name God comes from. I think the English language is to be commended for giving Jehovah a name that means good. Others have made to themselves other gods, but the Christian says, “The Lord is good, Jehovah is good; He is our God. In fact He is so good that Jesus said God is the only One who is good. One day one of the wealthy rulers of the Jews said to Him. “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? So He said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments”(Matthew 19:17). Jesus didn't mean there were no good people in the world except God.. His meaning is that God is the absolute source of goodness. This man did not know that Jesus was a Divine being; he considered only a man, a great teacher. Compared to God the goodness of human beings is as nothing. We must be influenced by God to be good; no one influences Him to be good. It is His nature to be good.. None make Him good or help Him to be so. He is good; must be good and that entirely in of Himself.
Secondly the goodness of God is clearly seen in the act of creation. He has exhibited great creative power in giving life to so many orders creatures and preparing the earth to be a convenient and happy habitat for them. Behold His goodness to the lower creatures. Behold the provision He has made for their happiness., and they are happy. They enjoy
the existence He has given. Their dependance upon Him for the happiness they enjoy is beautifully expressed in Psalm 104:24-28, “O Lord, how manifold are your works. In wisdom you made them all...living things both small and great...These all wait for You, that you may give them their food in due season. What you give them they gather in. You open your hand; they are filled with good. You hide your face; they are troubled. You take away their breath; they die and return to the earth.” It is His goodness that provides for the animal world.
Thirdly, the goodness of God is displayed in the abundant provision He has made for man and woman. Although man and woman were created last they were not the least. A high rank was assigned to humans in the scale of being. God gave them more understanding than the beasts of the field, the birds of the air and the creatures in the water. He endowed them with instincts, by which they live, but He endowed us with reason, and communicated to mankind the most excellent wisdom. This wisdom consists of a knowledge of God Himself and a knowledge of ourselves, and the relationship which exists between Him and us.
His goodness toward us is seen in creating us just a little lower than the angels. The lower creatures were not endowed with immortality, but He made man partly mortal and partly immortal. Our bodies are mortal but our souls are immortal. Thus life is not completely terminated at death. God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of he air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on he earth.”
It was for our happiness that God constituted man the lord of this lower world and of all its riches, and so it might be said that as man was made for God, so the earth was made for man. Again, the goodness of God appeared in the great and precious promises made to man and woman, promising to reward their obedience with everlasting life; and everlasting or eternal life is another term for everlasting or eternal happiness. The original state of man and woman on the earth was a state of happiness. In the Eden paradise, which the hand of God had prepared for them, all was beauty, delight and happiness. This was the golden age of which poets have sung, but as poets also tell, a new order of things succeeded, with a change of seasons, frost and burning heat and stubborn soil, from which man gained his
subsistence by hard work. Yet even this new state which was imposed
because of sin and disobedience, still there are not wanting many proofs of the goodness of God..
Finally, one of the greatest evidences of God's goodness is expressed in Romans 2:1-4. In Roman 1, Paul had given a shocking description of the terrible way the Gentile people of the world were living religiously, morally and socially. In chapter 2, he turns to the Jews who condemned the Gentiles for the way they lived, but Paul said in condemning the Gentiles they condemned themselves for they did the same things. He then added that the Jew will be condemned for living this way just as will the Gentile.
Then he made a very important statement about the goodness of God to the Jews first, which would equally apply to the Gentiles. Romans 2:4 says, “Do you despise the riches of His goodness and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” He wrote these words to Christian Jews , and it pointed out a new and dangerous error that Jews needed to correct. Jews knew they were guilty of the same sins they condemned in Gentiles, but they expected God to condemn these sins in Gentiles, but evidently did not expect God to condemn them for the same sins. They expected God to overlook them because they were Jews and descendants of Abraham. But Paul said “Don't you know that it is the goodness of God that leads you to repentance and a change of life?”. God's goodness is designed to lead you us to repentance, to help you live a life of goodness and obedience. This is one of the greatest of all evidences God's goodness. After thousands of years of disobedience under the Jewish religion and now under the Christian religion, God's goodness still leads men women to repentance and a good life. It is His goodness that allows us to correct ourselves over and over again, and this is said to be the riches of His goodness.
God's goodness to the human race has been seen in a wonderful ways for the last 500 or 600 years. Many of our fellow human beings have not had the privilege of hearing the saving message of the true gospel of Christ. There was a time when a man would have to work for a long time to earn enough money to buy a Bible. During the Dark Ages Bibles were as scarce as hen's teeth. Since 1500 Bibles are all over the world in all languages and available to all for a few dollars. The word of God now lies on our table in our home. You can have a copy of it in almost every room of your house. America, especially, is a land of the open Bible and the land of the preached word of God. God in His providential goodness has put the Bible in every home, or has made it possible for it to be in every home. How said in spite of the fact that God's goodness has put us in the
very focus of Christian light and truth, yet many still follow evil. I say to you, is this not to despise the goodness of God, not knowing that the goodness of God leads people to repentance, godly living and eternal life?