Psalm 119:68 “You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.”
Jesus said, “No one is good but God.” (Mark 10:17) There are many things we might learn about God. But it seems to me that this is one of the most basic and helpful things to know and experience of God: God is good. But what does this mean? I would like to start with God himself. God is good in and of Himself.
We often think of good or goodness as an attribute of someone who is benevolent. Someone may be kind and generous to another. That kind and generous man may also be gentle and loving and patient and one who displays moral integrity. So we would say of that man, he is good. But we also recognize that there must be something of an excellent inner quality to the man if he shows such goodness towards others.
So, it is here that I would like to begin thinking about God in His goodness. God is good in Himself.
When we say that God is good, we are speaking of God’s own inner experience of Himself. He is a real personal God. When our bodies and minds are working well, we might say, we feel good. It is not one sensation among others. Rather, it is a general sense that all is as it ought to be. In God, in the deepest possible sense, everything is as it ought to be. He is good.
How deeply satisfying it must be in the communion of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What a sense of beauty and wholeness and wisdom and integrity there must be in the self-satisfied mind of God. I say, “self-satisfied” in the most reverent and best sense of the expression.
It is out of this absolute goodness that I believe God made man and his worlds. God is so good in Himself that He would make one who could taste something of God’s own self-goodness. Someone could delight in God and say with the deepest appreciation of the soul, God is good! What He has made is good!
So, God made man in His own image and put him in a world that is rich in expressing His goodness. After man’s ruin and the subsequent ruin of his world, we still see constant reminders of God’s goodness. God’s goodness is on display not only in creation in all its richness and wisdom and in man the ruined pinnacle of creation, but also, especially, God’s goodness is displayed in the gracious provision of buying back through the sacrificial offering of the Son. In God’s plan to rescue fallen man, His goodness is supremely demonstrated. (Romans 3:23-25) His goodness extends to us as an unconquerable determination to save us from sin and death and hell; in short, from condemnation. God makes a way out of the wells of His goodness so that His favor and gracious kindness can reach us when we can do nothing for ourselves.
By the means of the cross, God establishes a righteousness that is purchased by one who acts on our behalf: a mediator, and He has designed the whole of it to be received by faith. In a certain sense, the believer, when he sees the offer made to him in the gospel, casts himself upon the goodness of God and the goodness of His Word and upon the goodness of His intention. This commitment to the goodness of God sustains us throughout all our days. Our lives carry us through many difficult things, - things hard to understand. But by God’s gracious dealings with us, we have tasted and found that God is good. And we are unalterably committed to the proposition that what He does is good.
The Bible says that God works all things together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. In the context of Romans 8, this means God will see His purpose for us through to the end. This will mean for us that we will see Him in glory and we will have an unpolluted taste of His goodness forever.
It is hard for me to imagine anything more practically important for day to day living than to remember and find our confidence and solace in this: God Is Good!
In the same way that we recognize the integrity, reliability, faithfulness, and kind intentions contained in the gospel when we received Christ by faith, so we must look upon our days that God gives us being from His good hand. We may not understand how they may be good but we must receive them as such. God is good and what He does is good. This is our commitment. This is our confession.