Your understanding of God affects your relationship with Him. As you think of all His attributes, consider our heavenly Father's unlimited grace. Dr. Stanley discusses the privilege of knowing and experiencing the Father's lovingkindness, and how it can truly change your life.
EXPRESSIONS OF GOD’S GOODNESS
KEY PASSAGE: Psalm 118:1
SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: 2 Samuel 24:14 | Psalm 31:19 | Psalm 33:5 | Psalm 34:8-9 | Psalm 84:11 | Psalm 145:9 | Ezekiel 18:4 | Ezekiel 18:20 | Matthew 5:45 | Mark 10:47-51 | Luke 6:35 | Luke 18:9-13 | John 3:16 | John 14:6 | Romans 8:28 | Titus 3:5 | Hebrews 4:15-16 | James 1:17 | 2 Peter 3:9
Having a correct view of God is vitally important because it affects every aspect of our life.
How we perceive the Lord will either strengthen our faith or cause uncertainty; give courage or stir up fears; bring about obedience or result in rebellion; cause us to seek His will or go our own way; and draw us closer or separate us from Him. Since so much is at stake, we must keep pursuing deeper understanding of the God we serve. And the only way to gain an accurate perception of the Lord is to see what He says about Himself in Scripture.
The Bible is filled with descriptions of God’s attributes or characteristics that help us know and understand Him. Psalm 118:1 says, “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His mercy is everlasting.” God’s goodness is His benevolence toward us. Since He’s infinite and eternal in all His attributes, He’s always good, and everything He does is done for good.
God’s goodness is constant.
His goodwill doesn’t waver; He isn’t benevolent sometimes and less so at other times. The dilemma we face is that there are some aspects of life that aren’t good, yet these events do not negate God’s goodness. Every blessing we have comes from the Father Who never changes (James 1:17). In fact, the whole world is filled with His goodness, which is expressed to all people.
- “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works” (Ps. 145:9).
- “For He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil people” (Luke 6:35).
- “For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45).
Too many people don’t recognize that God is the source of all the good things they have—health, enjoyment, family, and friends—so they never thank Him or give Him the credit. Yet His kindness continues throughout every generation.
The expression of God’s goodness varies.
Sometimes we compare our situations with those of others and conclude that God is not fair because He doesn’t treat us the same. But God’s attribute of goodness remains constant, even though His expression of it varies from person to person.
- “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity” (Ps. 84:11).
- “Taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Fear the Lord, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no lack of anything” (vv. 34:8-9).
- “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
Those who walk with Him, obey Him, love Him, and are called according to His purpose will always be recipients of God’s abundant, unending benevolence. His pathway of goodness is for those who walk uprightly, but those who think God is depriving them will make their own path and miss out on His full generosity.
Goodness is what God says it is.
So often we can’t see God’s goodness toward us because we compare ourselves with others or make judgments based on material, physical, and situational wellbeing. But the Lord in His wisdom knows that having everything the way we want is not what’s best for us. He uses hardships and suffering to mature us and teach us to trust and rely on Him. He has wisely outlined the best path for each person, which will accomplish His good purpose. No two lives will look the same. As we submit ourselves to His path and walk obediently before Him, we’ll taste and see His abundant love and care.
There are many expressions of God’s goodness.
The Lord displays His goodness in a variety of ways, but they are most obvious to us when we have reached the end of our strength and need His help. Let’s consider three.
- His Mercy. God’s mercy is His tenderhearted love and concern expressed toward those in distress. If not for His mercy, we would all be lost because we need His mercy for salvation. No one can be saved who doesn’t recognize their hopeless, sinful condition and cry out for mercy (Luke 18:13). But God’s mercy isn’t limited to salvation. Jesus is our High Priest Who sympathizes with our weaknesses and invites us to the throne of grace, where we receive mercy and find grace for help in our time of need (Heb. 4:15-16).
- His Grace. God’s grace is His unmerited favor toward us, but it’s so much more than this, too. It was His grace that took the guilt of our sin and placed it on His Son at the cross. And since God is just, no sin can be overlooked. Every sin must be punished if He is to remain just. Jesus bore the punishment we deserved so that God could justify repentant sinners and declare them righteous. It’s in the death of His Son that God’s goodness is expressed through grace to all who believe in Christ by faith (Eph. 2:8-9). But we’re not only saved by His grace, we live by it every day of our Christian life.
- His Love. This display of His goodness is especially beyond definition. God’s love is immeasurable, unfathomable, and indescribable. Unlike ours, His love is perfect and is not changed by external influences because it’s an aspect of His very nature. It’s expressed in the giving of blessings, but also in His discipline. In our sufferings, He lovingly corrects us so we may share in His holiness and bring Him glory. The pinnacle of His love for us was when He gave His Son to rescue sinful humanity from eternal condemnation (John 3:16).
As believers, we are showered with God’s goodness because we’re recipients of His endless mercy, His inexhaustible grace, and His unmatched love. The pathway of goodness that God has prepared for us is paved in the blood of Christ Jesus.
- Has your view of the Lord grown since you were first saved? If so, how has your greater understanding of God’s attributes affected how you view His goodness in difficult times?
- Has there ever been a time when you doubted God’s benevolence? What circumstances caused you to doubt? As you look back, what good do you think the Lord was working in you through that situation?
- The best response to God’s goodness is gratitude. Pause now and give Him thanks.