There is no greater revolutionary truth for our day and time than the truth that God is good. It is revolutionary because even though we have heard those words many times, they are rarely believed in the depth of our hearts. As a generation we have lost our faith in the goodness of God. As a generation we have become disheartened in our understanding as to the true character of God. This has often led to the conclusion that there is no God, or that God doesn’t care, because of the evil we see in the world. Or we may believe that God is good sometimes, or that God is good with exceptions, but the truth is that God is good always.
Some think that God is a mixture of good and evil. Some believe that God has a dark side. Some think that God simply cannot be known or understood. But God is not supposed to be a mystery. God wants to be known. God wants to be understood. God wants to be loved for who He is, and wants us to develop a genuine appreciation of His awesome nature. God is goodness in the fiber and essence of His being. Goodness is God’s nature and His heart. Every action, every word, every thought, and every work of God is good. God’s goodness is so rich, so perfect, so abounding and so amazing that the understanding of this truth will transform our lives. When we develop a vital awareness of the goodness of God, our relationship with God will be more intimate, our faith will be strengthened, and our lives will become more fruitful. Writing a book about the goodness of God is a monumental task as it would take thousands of volumes to even begin to expound just how good God really is. Yet with this book, I want you to get a taste of the goodness of God. I want you to see with your eyes and understand with your heart one of the greatest truths in the Bible:
Psalm 34:8 (The Message):
Open your mouth and taste, open your
eyes and see-how good God is. Blessed
are you who run to him.
Nahum 1:7 (The Message):
God is good, a hiding place in tough times.
He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking
for help, no matter how desperate the trouble.
The goodness of God inspires us to run to Him with all our heart. The goodness of God protects us in tough times and provides the peace we need in times of trouble. There is a desperate need in our times to ignite an awakening of the heart to the goodness of God.
We begin our wonderful journey in the study of God’s goodness by looking at the first usage of the word “good” in the Bible. God will reveal the essential and foundational truths of His goodness in this first mention of “good,” and it will bring great light to our understanding. The first usage of “good” will give us the essential picture of God’s goodness and set the tone for the usage of the word throughout the rest of Scripture.
Genesis 1:3,4 (KJV):
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God
divided the light from the darkness.
There are many wonderful truths about the goodness of God set forth in these verses. The first usage of “good” establishes that God is the origin of everything that is good. When God speaks, when God moves, and when God acts, something good is always produced. God’s plans, God’s purposes and God’s will are always good and contain no darkness or evil. God’s heart is that goodness is accomplished in all His works. The word “good” was not first used in describing what man does, or what the devil does, but what God does. God wanted to make it clear that His works are not evil or darkness, but only good. Many people have such a hard time believing that God is good always. Man blames God for all the evil in the world and thinks there is an evil side to the works of God. He thinks God acts to produce sickness, sorrow, pain, and death. God is a scapegoat for evil. Yet Genesis chapter one is a living testimony that God’s works and purposes are always good.
We also see in this first usage of “good” that God wants His goodness to be seen. God does not hide His goodness in the darkness of the night. God does not disguise His goodness. The magnificent works of His goodness are brilliantly displayed for all to behold. God’s works are a powerful testimony to His goodness. The heart of God is full of goodness, and God wants us to partake of His good plans and purposes that He has for each one of us. God wants us to experience the awesome blessings of His goodness every day of our lives.
Another great truth in Genesis is that God establishes a vital relationship between good and light. Light is the first characteristic of goodness described in the Bible, and is an absolutely necessary factor in understanding the goodness of God. Goodness is the light of God in the midst of the darkness of this world. Goodness and light are inseparable, and God establishes by the first usage of “good” in the Bible that a foundational component of goodness is light. Goodness has no darkness or evil in it, but is completely separate from them. Goodness dispels darkness and has no mixture or contamination with any form of evil.
I John 1:5 (Amplified):
And this is the message [the message of promise]
which we have heard from Him and now are
reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no
darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way].
God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness
And it is this message we have heard from Him and
at present is ringing in our ears, and we are bringing
back tidings to you, that God as to His nature is light,
and darkness in Him does not exist, not even one
This is the great message of God for our generation that should be ringing in our ears. This should be the exclusive newspaper headline, the top news story, and the ultimate text message for our day and time. This message is coming directly from God and He wants us to proclaim it to the world. This message is that God is good, and God is light, and there is not one ounce, one trace, one particle, or one speck of darkness in His nature. No darkness or evil exists in God. It is impossible for God to do evil or to promote darkness. God does not lie, God does not cheat, God does not manipulate, God does not deceive, and God does not do any other type of evil behavior. God’s character is light and goodness. God has nothing to do with darkness and He has never done one evil thing to any man, woman, or child on the face of the earth. In everything God is and in everything God does, He is good one hundred percent of the time without exception. God wants us to know this vital truth about His nature so we can trust and love Him with all our heart.
Psalm 5:4: (KJV):
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness:
neither shall evil dwell with thee.
According to The NIV Application Commentary by Gerald Wilson, a more accurate translation of the second phrase of verse 4 would be “evil cannot even visit you.” He expounds on this truth:
The Hebrew verb translated “visit” (gwr, NIV “dwell”)
emphasizes the most tentative and impermanent of
visitations…gwr is often translated “sojourn” and…one
who resides in the sense of gwr is a temporary alien passing
through rather than a permanent resident. The psalmist’s
point is that God is so incompatible with evil that even
the most temporary coexistence is utterly impossible.
Evil cannot visit God’s character or exist in His nature for one second. Evil never passes through any of God’s actions, works, thoughts, or purposes. There is no evil that ever dwells like a temporary visitor in the heart of God. God does not have behavior problems or character flaws. God does not have a weekend fling, where He decides to do a little evil for a few days. I remember studying the Greek classics in college: the Greek gods demonstrated little distinction from humans. These gods would act out of lust and greed: they would lie, deceive, and manipulate; they would do evil for their own personal gain. How different this is from the one true God of the Bible, where one atom of evil cannot stain His character. What new meaning this gives to the truth that God is good.
James 1:17: (New Jerusalem Bible):
All that is good, all that is perfect, is given us from
above; it comes down from the Father of all light;
with him there is no such thing as alteration, no
shadow caused by change.
God is the Father of all light, and everything that is good and perfect comes from Him. He alone is the great giver of goodness, as true goodness only comes from above. This truth of the goodness of God never changes, for there is no alteration or shadow in God. The word “alteration” in the Greek means: variation, a passing from side to side, a change and a transmission from one condition to another. The Message Bible translates it as “God is not two-faced.” God does not have a face of good and a face of evil. God does not alternate or change from good to evil to good. God is not a yo-yo. His goodness does not rise one day and set another day. You don’t have to catch God on a good day. God does not change sides from good to evil. The goodness of His character never varies one inch. God does not change. His goodness does not change. His desire for your life to overflow with His goodness does not change. God is good yesterday, today, and forever. His goodness will never fade; His goodness will never disappear; His goodness will never run out.
“Shadow” in the Greek means: the dark mark of a shadow, and the shadow arising from the turning of a body. There is not one dark mark in God. There is no shadow in God’s goodness. God never turns from what He is, and He never turns from His goodness. The New International Version translates it that God does “not change like shifting shadows.” The New Testament in Modern English by Phillips translates it “with whom (God) there is never the slightest variation or shadow of inconsistency.” The Moffatt Translation of the Bible beautifully declares that God “knows no change in rising or setting, who casts no shadow on the earth.” Isn’t it wonderful to know that there is not one black mark, shadow, or evil that God ever casts on the earth? Isn’t it awesome to know that there is no variation or inconsistency in the goodness of God? God’s goodness is a like a rock that is eternally faithful and reliable. God is blamed for evil, but
His Word says that He has never in all the ages of history cast a dark shadow on the earth. The light of God’s goodness cannot be extinguished, eclipsed, or overshadowed by any person, power, or thing. Nothing can block the light of His goodness or interrupt its flow into our lives, when we trust in Him. We are never out of reach of the radiance of His goodness.
God is a giver and wants to bring His light and goodness into our lives. The light of God brings all that is good and perfect. The word “perfect” in the Greek means: complete, full, having reached its end and lacking nothing with special reference to the end it was intended. Nothing is lacking in the goodness of God. There is no imperfection or weakness in God’s goodness. God has a perfect ending to all of His good plans and purposes. God’s light and goodness in our lives allows us to complete and fulfill His purpose for our lives. Part of the goodness of God is that He earnestly desires for us to accomplish our God-given destiny. God has a good purpose and plan that He has ordained for you to complete for your generation. We need to let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify the one true God of heaven.
Genesis 1:4 (New American Bible):
God saw how good the light was; God then separated
the light from the darkness.
We also see from the first usage of the word “good” in Genesis that God knows what is good. The word “saw” in the Hebrew means: to perceive, to consider, to look at and inspect and to behold with intention and purpose. It means to see with delight and to look upon with pleasure. God considered light with great detail and purpose, and came to the conclusion that it was good. God takes great delight and satisfaction in His goodness. Man may think that he knows what is good, but only God truly perceives, knows, and understands what is good as goodness rests on God and God alone. God knows best. He knows what is good and what is evil. God knows what light is and what darkness is. We cannot fool God, and we cannot outsmart God. No one understands goodness like God, for it is His essential nature. Many of the systems or religions of the world try to mix good and evil and light and darkness and it simply cannot be done if it is from the true God. If there is a trace of evil in it, if there is a bit of darkness in it, then it is not good according to the biblical usage of this word, and it does not come from God.