I have been thinking lately again of the goodness of God. God is good, all the time, is an oft repeated phrase in our exuberant charismatic circles. We are happy He is good because we are the recipients of His goodness and everyone likes to be on the receiving end of ‘good’ And we take it for granted that since He is God He is bound to be good. But is that really so? I sometimes ponder what it would have been like had God not been good.
What would it be like to be under the sway of a malevolent deity or master? To have no recourse against the evils of existence, to have no respite from the pain of life. If God was not good then man would not be good, and existence would be a horror beyond imagining. Or perhaps some might say as a friend who is not a believer said the other day that they would like a god who was both good and evil, just like man. Such a god they say they can relate to.
But do they really want such a god? As a mere intellectual supposition perhaps, but fundamental to the nature of man is the desire to be loved and to love, everyone; save for masochists who we all agree to set apart from the norm, wants people in their lives who care for and do ‘good’ to them, not evil. We have a way of putting a distance between us and those who cannot be consistently good to us. How then will we want a supreme being with power and authority over us who by his very nature would willfully and consistently inflict pain?.
No we do not want God to be evil. I pointed out to her that a god who was evil and good was a god of fear, who instilled terror in his subjects, who would love you one day and hate you the next, one with whom you had no assurance of where you stood, one who could not be loved and who could not be trusted. The gods of the nations are precisely that, and they live in mortal dread of punishment if the displease the deity. Indeed the good news is that Jesus came to show us that the God of the heavens and the earth, the Creator, Father God is not like the gods imagined by men in their own image – good and evil, but a God of supreme goodness, supreme love, inconceivable beauty and majesty, and One who loved us.
And that is never to be taken for granted. The great benefit of the goodness of God must forever be before us, the sacrifice of Jesus, the atonement, must forever delight our hearts. That the curse of sin is broken, that we are reconciled with God, that we are members of the household of faith, that we have been transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love, that we who were not a people have become the people of God, that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, these things must forever delight our hearts and cause us to rejoice that the goodness of God led Him to sacrifice what was most precious to Him for us. The goodness of God, unfathomable in its entirety, but transformational in our lives, the goodness of God.