Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE GOODNESS OF GOD”

 

 

The topic we will consider this evening is the goodness of God. If I were not a Christian, I suppose I would try to argue for the goodness of God by stating two assumptions, an assumption about God, and then an assumption about goodness.

Philosophers will insist that the existence of God is an assumption. They will also insist that goodness is an assumption, or that one must assume the possibility of morals such as good and evil existing. However, I do not need to busy myself with such intellectual cul-de-sacs, because my starting point is the authenticity and reliability of the Bible, God’s holy Word.

Let me be very clear: I assume the Bible is God’s Word. My experience with it, studying it, reading about it, examining its history, observing the impact it has on people who read it, believe it, and obey it, verifies the correctness of my assumption. Because of the Bible, I need not debate the existence of God, and I need not ponder the reality of this thing called goodness. The Bible shows God to be, and nature and answered prayers attest that the Bible is correct. As well, despite what the philosophers argue, people know goodness exists.

So, let us consider our topic for tonight that God is good. I am persuaded that once you get your mind around this concept, once you embrace this reality (that God is good), so much becomes so much simpler.

May I lead you along the consideration of three main points?

 

First, GOD IS GOOD

 

Will you turn to some passages with me?

 

Psalm 25.7: “ Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.”

 

Psalm 27.13: I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”

 

Psalm 31.19: Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!”

 

Psalm 33.5:   “He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.”

 

Psalm 52.1:   “Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually.”

 

Psalm 107.8:    “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

 

Psalm 107.15:  “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

 

Psalm 107.21:  “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

 

Psalm 107.31:  “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

 

Romans 2.4:    “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

 

Romans 11.22:   “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”

 

Distinguished theologian Charles Hodge tells us “Goodness, in the Scriptural sense of the term, includes benevolence, love, mercy, and grace.”[1] Thus, not only is God’s goodness established with the verses we have just read, but also by means of God’s benevolence, love, mercy, and grace. Thus, God is good.

 

Next, YOU ARE NOT GOOD

 

How can it be established that you are not good? Are you benevolent, loving, merciful, and gracious? The answer to that question is obvious. Look at the condition of the world. Do our dealings with each other reflect an essential and innate goodness in mankind? I suggest they do not.

However, let us not stop with our superficial survey of the deeds of mankind. Let us go beyond the superficial to discover the heart-knowing God’s appraisal of our race.

 

Psalm 14.1:   “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

 

Psalm 53.1: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.”

 

Romans 3.12:  “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

 

Admittedly, we do not find any statement declaring that men are not good. However, can anyone be good who does not do good? Are they not good who do good? As well, are they not evil who do not do good, but who do evil? Therefore, is it not reasonable to conclude that man is not good, and therefore that you are not good?

 

Finally, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SIT IN JUDGMENT ON GOD

 

There are two completely different reasons why you have no right to sit in judgment on God’s goodness, to presume to evaluate God: First, creatures have no right to sit in judgment on their Creator. Consider three verses:

 

Job 4.17: “Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?”

 

Isaiah 45.9:   “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?”

 

Romans 9.20:  “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?”

 

Next, the moral superiority of God precludes sinners sitting in judgment of Him.

 

Job 35.5:  “Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.”

 

Isaiah 55.9:   “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

Consider the testimony of three men who had such a glimpse of God’s greatness and glory that it left an impression upon them that is recorded in God’s Word for our benefit:

You will recall the suffering of Job. What you may not recall was Job’s reaction to his suffering, and his challenge of God’s motives, his questioning of God’s goodness. Job 42.5-6 shows us how changed his mind was after an encounter with Almighty God:

 

5      I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

6      Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

 

Next, there is the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 6.1-5:

 

1      In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

2      Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

3      And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

4      And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

5      Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

 

Finally, there is the Apostle Paul, Romans 7.18: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

Do you believe these three men, the very best of men, would have described themselves as good? Yet there is no doubt with them that God is good.

 

There is terrible suffering in the world. There is cruelty in the world. Men treat each other with despicable cruelty and malice. In addition to the carnage presently going on in Africa, and the murdering of millions in the 20th century in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia, there is the slaughter of the unborn in our own country and others.

How is all this to be explained? On one hand, you can show that India is capable of raising seven times the food requirements of the population, but their slavery to idolatry results in such crop destruction by animals the Hindus that people end up starving.

Starvation in Ethiopia was the result of famine, which could have been prevented had Colonel Mengistu, the communist dictator running the country at the time, allowed farmer to transport and sell their crops in regions with insufficient rainfall. However, he was a communist, and did not allow farmers to sell their crops for a profit, resulting in farmers refusing to grow crops, with people then starving to death.

I could go on and on in an attempt to explain why each and every hardship and tragedy can be traced to man’s foolishness, to man’s sin, to man’s ignorance. However, I have chosen to assert God’s goodness positively, rather than deny that God is at fault for man’s ills. However, is it any wonder that after mankind turns its collective back on God it then wonders why there is a dearth of the blessings that come only from God?

Understand that God is immense to a degree that is unfathomable to us. He is infinite in every way. Therefore, though there are challenges that we face to understanding God’s essential and innate goodness, such as the cruelties of men and the great tragedies of life, hold to that which God declares about Himself in His holy Word, that He is good.



[1] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Volume I, (Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. Edition, reprinted from the edition originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), page 427.

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