Grace Bible Church

Preaching the Living Word through the Written Word











5.†††† Goodness


a)††† Definitions

(1)†† The divine attribute of goodness could be defined as:

(a)†† Goodness covers two areas, what God is in and of Himself, and what God is to His creatures. In other words goodness covers His character and the expression of His character. (Dericksonís Notes on Theology)

(b)†† It is that perfection which prompts Him to deal kindly and bounteously with all His creatures. (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941), p. 70)

(c)†† He is originally good, good of Himself, which nothing else is; for all creatures are good only by participation and communication from God. He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself: the creatureís good is a super-added quality, in God it is His essence. He is infinitely good; the creatureís good is but a drop, but in God there in an infinite ocean or gathering together of good. He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is; as there can be no addition made to Him, so no subtraction from Him (Thomas Manton)

(d)†† God is summum bonum, the highest good. (Pink)

(2)†† The Hebrew word ďgoodĒ or ďgoodnessĒ is tōb or tūb which when speaking in reference to God means, the intrinsic quality of graciousness and benevolence toward others.

(3)†† The Greek word for goodness is agathosunā which comes from agathos. Agathos can refer to Godís moral excellence and His acts of benevolence. A synonym is chrāstotās which can mean a gracious attitude of goodness or kindness (cf. Ro 3:12).

b)††† Godís goodness is intrinsic to His nature (Ps 119:68; Mk 10:17-18).

(1)†† In describing God, the psalmist could only conclude that God Himself was good (Ps 119:68). God did not learn to be good or to behave, but goodness describes His divine essence.

(2)†† In addition, God alone is good (Mk 10:17-18). If any of Godís creatures display or emulate goodness, they are mirroring or adding goodness to their actions.

(3)†† Man is described as lacking goodness both in his actions as well as attaining merit before God (Ps 14:3 cf. Ro 3:12; Ps 25:8).

c)†††† Godís goodness is synonymous with all His attributes (Ex 33:18-19).

(1)†† The summation of Godís perfections is such that those perfections must be called good. There is nothing bad or defective in Godís perfections, nor can anything be added to make them better.

(2)†† In fact, when describing His own glory (attributes), which was to be shown to Moses, it was called Godís ďgoodnessĒ (Ex 33:18-19).

d)††† Godís goodness is observed in His creative acts (Ge 1:31; Ps 145:15-16)

(1)†† Since God is intrinsically good, His goodness will be observed in every act and every deed in His creation.

(2)†† Godís goodness can be observed in His creation in general (Ge 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).

(3)†† Godís goodness can be observed in Hiscreation of man (Ge 1:26-27, 31; Ps 139:14)

(4)†† Godís goodness can be observed in His provisions for His creation (Ge 1:28-30; 2:9,12; Ps 136:25; 145:15-16; Lk 12:24)

(5)†† The goodness of God is seen in the variety of natural pleasures which He has provided for His creatures. God might have been pleased to satisfy our hunger without the food being pleasing to our palates - how His benevolence appears in the varied flavors which He has given to meats, vegetables, and fruits! God has not only given us senses, but also that which gratifies them; and this too reveals His goodness. The earth might have been as fertile as it is without its surface being so delightfully variegated. Our physical lives could have been sustained without beautiful flowers to regale our eyes with their colors, and our nostrils with their sweet perfumes. We might have walked the fields without our ears being saluted by the music of the birds. (Pink, Attributes of God)

e)†††† Godís goodness is extended to all that He decrees and purposes (Neh 9:13; Ro 7:12; Ro 8:28).

(1)†† Since God is intrinsically good, and is good in His acts and deeds, it stands to reason that His decrees and purposes would be good.

(2)†† In spite of manís attempts to regard Godís commandments and statutes as restricting, they are described as good (Neh 9:13)

(3)†† Though sinful man cannot attain unto it, Godís Law is good (Ro 7:12, 16; 1Ti 1:8)

(4)†† Regardless of evil and suffering in the world, Godís purposes and providence is good (Ro 8:28; Is 46:10).

f)†††† Godís goodness is shown to all men in general ways (Mt 5:45; Ac 14:17; 17:28).

(1)†† Though all men will not partake of Godís eternal life, all men do partake of Godís goodness of natural life (Ac 17:28).

(2)†† Regardless of manís immorality, all mankind receives Godís goodness and blessings from Godís creation (Mt 5:45; Ac 14:16-17).

g)†††† Godís goodness is ultimately shown in Christ (Tit 3:4-5; Ep 2:7)

(1)†† Godís ultimate goodness was displayed when Christ appeared to bring salvation. He gave this ultimate goodness to save those who least deserve it (Tit 3:4-5).

(2)†† But Godís goodness actually began before Christ became a man. Godís good pleasure and kind intention was exercised before the foundation of the world when He predestined some to be adopted as sons (Ep 1:4-5).

(3)†† To those who embrace Christís sacrifice, they will experience Godís goodness and kindness not only in this life (Ps 23:6; Is 63:7), but also for all eternity (Ep 2:7).

h)††† Christ possesses the divine attribute of goodness (Tit 3:4; Mk 10:17-18).

(1)†† In reference to Godís ultimate goodness that was displayed when Christ appeared to bring salvation, it is referring the divine goodness of Christ. Note that Tit 3:4 states that it is the kindness (goodness) of ďGod our Savior,Ē who is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

(2)†† In Mk 10:17-18, when Jesus asked the man, ďWhy do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone,Ē His intention was to cause the man to see that He was the Son of God.

(3)†† In addition, goodness, is a divine attribute of the Holy Spirit (Ga 5:22).

i)††††† Application to the Believer

(1)†† One of the believerís remedies for discouragement is to see Godís goodness as a source of encouragement (Psa 27:13; Jer 31:14). In fact, it is the Lordís goodness that gives cause for the believer to praise God (Psa 135:3; Psa 100:4-5)

(2)†† A believer can trust in Godís sovereignty because God is good, He does what is good, and He brings about ultimate good (Ge 50:20; Na 1:7; Ro 8:28).

(3)†† Because God is the believerís good Father, and the believer lives by the Spirit of God, he is divinely enabled and richly exhorted to exemplify Godís goodness in his life (Ga 5:22; Ep 5:9). This applies to the believerís good attitude as well as good deeds (Pr 12:14; Ga 6:9-10; 1Co 13:4; Ep 4:32; 2Th 3:13; 1Ti 6:18; Tit 2:7, 14; 3:8, 14; He 10:24-25; 13:16, 21; Jm 3:13; 1Pe 3:8, 11; 3Jn 1:11).




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