Another one of God’s intrinsic attributes is His goodness. We read about it in the opening verses of the Bible where we read of creation done by God simply at the power of His words.
“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.”
This continued throughout creation and then, in verses 26, 31 we read:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. … And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
When the Triune God was done with the creative work on the sixth day, He looked at His completed creation and said not only that each of the component parts were good, He declared that “it was VERY GOOD” and that statement included mankind, created in His image, for fellowship and relationship with Him. God is good, and we were created in His image.
A short look at the newspaper tells us that we are not good, however. Sin entered the world and contaminated that which God had created. But sin did not change the character or nature of God. He is still Good.
“For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
God is not good because it is attractive for Him to be so, and He does not strive after following some standard for goodness that is outside of Himself. God IS good. J.I. Packer says that God’s sovereign redemptive love is just one facet of God’s goodness. Goodness underlies virtually all that He does. [J. I. Packer, Concise Theology, p. 46]
He is the Source of all goodness. In other words, goodness is not an abstract concept – it is personal – it is WHO — it is God. The only reason we know anything at all about goodness is because God, who created us in His image, IS good.
The Jews knew that to call yourself good was to take an attribute of God and apply it to yourself, something that was clearly within the definition of blasphemy, as is evidenced by Jesus’ response to the man in Mark 10:18 where He says:
“Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”
Goodness is one of the fruit of the Spirit that Paul identifies in Galatians.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…”
Due to sin, we have no inherent goodness within ourselves. But, the believer has the fruit of goodness due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is part of the Triune God-head and thus the Spirit has the same nature as the Father and the Son. Since goodness is intrinsic to the Father’s nature, it is also part of the Holy Spirit’s nature, so that it is a fruit that will grow within the believer as we give more and more of ourselves to the Lord.
Dr. R. C. Sproul notes, in the Developing Christian Character, CD Teaching Series from Ligonier Ministries, that when God’s goodness is evidenced in our lives as a fruit of the Spirit, there is a new ability to appreciate excellence and beauty because it is evidence of the beauty, order and exquisite detail of God’s nature and character.
We have already spoken of God’s joy in His beautiful creation. A further example of God delighting in beauty can be found in Exodus 28:2 where God tells the people how to make Aaron’s garments for use in worship:
“And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty”.
Even though they were in the wilderness, God did not want the priest to be clothed with normal garments. Exodus 28 details what was to be made, including what materials were to be used. A very partial listing includes: blue, purple, and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen; two large onyx stones engraved and set in gold filigree; chains of pure gold; twelve gems for the breastplate – sardius, topaz, cabruncle, emerald, sapphire, diamond, jacinth, agate, amethyst, beryl, onyx and jasper – each one being put in gold filigree settings. And there is much more! Clearly, Aaron’s garments reflected God’s glory and beauty!
Another example God’s goodness is appreciation for music. Music was an integral part of worship in the Old Testament. 1 Chronicles 15:28, 2 Chronicles 7:6. David talks of making music and singing to the Lord in many of the Psalms. Psalm 101:1, Psalm 92:1.
More recently, Johan Sebastian Bach [1685-1750] composed his music to give glory to God. Bach wanted his music to point to the existence of God when, during the “Enlightenment”, people were arguing that man was the be all and end all and that God was unnecessary. Bach himself said:
“Music’s only purpose should be the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit.”
Listen to “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” as composed by Johan S. Bach and performed by the Choir of Sommerville College, Oxford.
God’s goodness is just one of the intrinsic aspects of His nature, it is one of God’s attributes. Goodness is truly the foundation for all that He has done for us. We should praise Him continually for the mercy, grace, and salvation that has been extended to us through Christ our Lord, all because of His goodness.