The divine benevolence is a central truth in the Bible. God embodies absolute perfection, both in His existence and all His actions. His kindness is manifest in the creation and His interactions with His followers. His characteristics, deeds, designs, and intentions are impeccably harmonious, and all serve the greater good.
“God is good!” It’s something you hear often, especially when someone has just received good news or something has worked out as they’d hoped. But, is there ever a time when God isn’t good? What about when things go wrong? When there is suffering or when your prayers go unanswered?
Let’s take a closer look at the goodness of God, what the Bible has to say about it, and what it means for believers.
What is Goodness?
Goodness in the Bible refers to the excellence and pleasantness of God. In some places it also means to have an upright heart. When the Bible states that God is good, it is telling us that He is the best! There is nothing more excellent than Him. The same word for “good” is used to describe both God’s character and his actions and blessings—they cannot be separated.
God’s Goodness on Display in the Bible
Goodness is one of the attributes of God. His goodness is unchanging as He is unchanging. It describes the essence of His being (His nature) but it also describes his dealings with His creation (His actions). And because God is good and does good, we can trust His Word.
Psalm 119:68 (ESV) You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
God’s Nature is Good
The Psalms highlight the goodness of God beautifully. God’s goodness is to be praised, spoken of, and remembered. It is a blessing and security to those who place their trust in Him.
Psalm 34:8 (ESV) Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
God’s goodness is also His standard. When we start to understand his goodness, our sin becomes obvious. Our failure to be completely and perfectly good. That’s why Jesus affirmed that ONLY God is good. He desperately wanted people (in this case, the rich young man) to see their sin and need for a Savior!
Mark 10:18 (ESV) And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
God’s Plan is Good
God’s goodness is on display in the Bible in what He has done and in how He acts toward His people. His actions reveal His character better than anything else.
In the beginning, God created the world, and do you remember how he described it? He said it was very good! (Gen 1:31). God has been at work from the beginning of our time (as the self-existent God, He has no beginning) and His plan has always been good.
What about when sin entered the world? Remember that when man fell, God did not. And in His wisdom, sovereignty, and perfect knowledge of all things, He continues to do good—even using the actions of sinful and broken human beings to achieve His good purposes and bring Himself glory.
Consider the life of Joseph. His brothers were so jealous of him (he was the favorite) that they sold him into slavery! But God redeemed those sinful actions—He used them for good! And Joseph gave God the glory.
Genesis 50:20 (ESV) As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
What Does God’s Goodness Mean for Us?
There is pain and suffering in our world. God never promised an easy life to His followers, in fact, He promised the opposite! (John 16:33). But God, in His goodness, uses pain, trials, and hardship to produce good fruit in His children, reveal Himself to us, and glorify His name.
When you understand that our faithful God is good, pure, and the highest standard of excellence, you will worship Him appropriately—in awe. We can live lives that reflect His goodness as we cling to the following truths from His Word.
- Because God is good, we can trust Him. (Ps 9:10)
- Because God is good, we can find comfort in Him. (Ps 119:50)
- Because God is good, He has a purpose in our pain. (Rom 8:28)
- Because God is good, He gives good gifts to His children. (Ps 84:11)
- Because God is good, we don’t need to fear the future. (Heb 13:6)
- Because God is good, He sent His Son to pay my debt. (John 3:16)
- Because God is good, He deserves all the glory. (Matt 5:16)
- Because God is good, we have a hope that will not be put to shame. (Rom 5:5)
Is God still good when we’re hurting, when things are hard, and when prayers seemingly go unanswered? Absolutely! We can face these challenges with hope, even joy, because we know that God is good and He works ALL things together for good.
Run to Him, Let Him be your refuge and your shelter.