“For the LORD is good; His loving-kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”~Psalm 100:5
God is good. He is far better than we think He is. Too often we reduce God’s goodness to a fun little catchphrase frequently repeated in church on Sundays: “God is good all the time and all the time God is good.” While this slogan is true, God’s goodness is much greater than it’s able to sufficiently communicate.
Goodness is the very essence of God’s character. His nature is grounded in divine virtue. There aren’t enough words in all the languages of the earth to adequately articulate the enormity of His goodness. It can’t be said any simpler and it can’t be said more profoundly: God is Good.
God’s goodness is the most superior goodness in the entire universe. His goodness is immense, infinite, indescribable, inexhaustible, and immeasurable. For us to adequately relate to and communicate God’s goodness, it is important that we recognize the vastness of it.
God Cannot Be Better Than He Already Is.
Given the effects of depravity and the sinful condition of the world, it might be easy to think that God could be better than He is. This is a misconception. There is no alternate form of goodness better than the goodness of God. It is impossible for God to somehow improve upon His goodness. God’s goodness could never be any better than it already is.
He is goodness personified. His eternal goodness never wavers. God’s intentions toward us are only good, all the time. There is no way for the source of everything that is good to somehow become better. God is good, and thus, unable to be anything else.
Think of the many expressions of God’s goodness that’s been revealed to us. Jesus came because God is good. He gave His life on the cross because God is good. Grace is given freely because God is good. We are eternally loved because God is good. We are saved by grace through faith because God is good. The Holy Spirit will never leave nor forsake us because God is good.
God loves us, and because of His goodness, He created us with the ability to love Him back. Yet to truly have the capacity to love requires the ability to make choices. We call this freewill. Although our freewill has been tainted by sin, the capacity to choose God by faith remains. Without some level of freewill none of us would be capable of loving God without force or coercion.
Some would say that we are who we are because of the choices we make. No doubt, the choices we make shape our lives in various ways. However, it’s much deeper than that. Follow me here. God is sovereign, which means He is the ultimate source of authority in the entire universe. However, while He is sovereign and can do whatever He wants, God never does anything contrary to His nature. The reason is because God’s nature is infinitely good, and thus, His nature never desires to do anything contrary to itself.
It’s Good For Us That God Is Good.
If I were God I would’ve smote everyone a long time ago. Yet because of His goodness, God is long-suffering in all His interactions with us. This means that even though we’ve all sinned against God and given Him every reason to wipe us off the planet, He doesn’t. Why? Because God is good, and it’s good for us that God is good.
In Christ, God has chosen us. Yet, we are who we are partly because He’s given us the freedom to make choices. And even though God interacts with us as we make choices, He never forces us to do anything. Moreover, even when we don’t choose Him, He still chooses us. He’s that good!
Freedom is the only way love can truly be reciprocated. Freewill is sometimes difficult to balance in light of God’s sovereignty. Some would argue that if God were truly in control that freewill couldn’t actually exist. However, since God’s sovereignty does not make Him without order, freedom can exist. In fact, He imposes order for our good—another benefit of God’s goodness.
It’s Not As Bad As It Could Be.
We tend to think of freedom as life without limitations. However, that’s not freedom at all, but rather chaos or anarchy. Could you imagine the world without restraint? It would be hell on earth.
In fact, God has established government, structure, and moral law to govern society for our benefit. Even so, God never forces anyone to live by His established order. People are free to do whatever they desire. There may be consequences for our choices, but we are free to make them nonetheless.
So, although God is sovereign, He never forces us to love Him back. He would never abuse His power like that. He doesn’t control people in a way that exploits their freewill. Instead, He invites us to freely choose Him. Thank goodness God doesn’t respond the way we might. Instead, He is long-suffering.
God rules the universe, not with an iron fist, but with a heart of love. God is so good that it’s His desire that all people come to repentance. The Apostle Peter writes, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Will everyone come to repentance even though it’s God’s will? No.
The reason is that God has a perfect will “in Christ,” yet He also has a permissive will in which He allows us to make choices. God works all things together for good for those who love Him. Yet, He also allows people to live in the sinful reality they create for themselves if they so choose.
In the context of God’s permissive will, He sets limits in the extent to which evil impacts creation. In other words, it’s not as bad as it could be because God is on the throne. He’s a good King. God rules over evil, and although He gives us the ability to choose it, He in no way forces anyone to become evil.
This is very different than saying that sin entered the world because of God’s decree. His nature would never permit it. God did not manufacture sin to make Himself look good. God did not invent evil so He could run around recusing sinners. We are not play actors on a stage and God is not a puppet master in the sky who sits around pulling strings all day. Instead, He is a good Father and only has good intentions in mind for us.
God created us out of His great love. He gives us freedom to choose Him because He is good. Although we have all chosen sin and fallen short, He offers us a way back through His Son, Jesus Christ. God is so good He couldn’t be any better!