Monday, April 30, 2007

God is Good

The first real implication of the Gospel of God is perhaps the greatest: God is good.

When I say "God is good", I mean it in both senses the English sentence indicates:
  1. God is morally upright, or blameless. God doesn't ever do anything wrong, He is completely right. You and I have certainly done things we knew were wrong. Everyone has. God hasn't. Ever. Not once. The Biblical term for this is sense of good is "righteous".
  2. God is kind. God does kind things for us, at great personal cost.

The history of the Gospel is something like this: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down here to earth, walked around for 30-something years; and then was beaten and crucified by the people of His time. He was buried, and on the third day, He was raised from the dead. He spoke to several hundred people over some 40 days, then was taken up into Heaven in the sight of several people.

How does this infer God's goodness?

First, it demonstrates our own badness. Jesus Christ did nothing that wasn't good. He healed people, provided food for them, and taught them. He never did anything that was less than perfect. And what did we do? We (I use the term to mean people in general) beat Him, hung Him on a cross, and left Him to die. Consider that for a moment: we abused and crucified the Son of God. When we consider just how bad we are, we are shocked to see that God cares about us. This is the goodness of God: He, knowing how bad we are, wants us to be with Him.

Second, it demonstrates the price He was willing to pay for us. While we frequently say "Salvation is free"; the fact of the matter is, it wasn't free for Him. Our right to come into God's presence was very, very costly. It was unimaginably costly. None of us would honestly say it was a good idea, if the truth were known. But the goodness of God is this: God thought it was worthwhile to give the priceless to buy the worthless.

Third, it demonstrates His refusal to compromise. God was unwilling to compromise His goodness in either direction: He didn't balk at saving sinners, but He also didn't take an easy way out. Anyone else would have either abandoned the whole idea and just let us burn in Hell; or would have come up with some sort of compromise "Don't worry about that whole sin thing...". The goodness of God is: God looked unflinchingly at the cost of bringing sinners to Heaven, and paid it.

God's goodness is demonstrated in that He saves sinners, but not by compromising His own righteousness.


KingJaymz said...

Amen and amen. I can think of several churches that I have attended who could use an elder/deacon with your depth. I know many young in the faith who could use someone like you to disciple them. I do so certainly hope you exercise your ability to do these things.

This fact is not an easy one to consider or swallow when going through great tragedy (nor should it be flippantly told to those who mourn). However, in my life, during those moments, it has been of great comfort to me. God is good. He is very good. And He always will be.

clumsy ox said...

I don't like to bring this up, because it sounds a little self-righteous. But I think I ought to share this with you.

A few years ago, my wife had a placenta abruption when she was 36 weeks pregnant. The baby was stillborn, and my wife was unconscious for almost a week, following an emergency C-section and various complications (she had been bleeding to death for well over a day when they finally went ahead and did the emergency delivery).

I was not a happy camper.

It was during that week that I discovered one of the secrets of "in everything give thanks". We can thank God for doing what is right, even when we don't like it.

God is good all the time. No one wants to hear that when they're having a hard time in life, but it's true.

And the fact is, if we knew everything like He knows everything, we'd choose for ourselves exactly what He has chosen for us.

KingJaymz said...

That doesn't sound self-righteous at all. I can see why you'd be cautious, however. And you are right.

It's just when a woman with 4 children tells a barren woman that it must be God's will that she can't have any (when her drug addicted, living on the streets brother also has 2), or when someone tells a person who prematurely lost a parent or sibling that they should take comfort in the fact that it was "the Lord's will" when they have never faced such terrible circumstances. You just want to slap the crap out of them because they are saying that to you to make themselves feel better, not you. They don't know a d*** thing about your loss, otherwise they'd put their arm around your shoulders and mourn with you.

It means something else when it has come from a person who has walked a mile in those shoes. You say it because you know it to be true, not because you are trying to make yourself feel better by "helping" someone who mourns. Someone who knows that loss also knows when to deliver those words. Someone who doesn't often does it at a time that damages the hurting person even worse.

clumsy ox said...

"You just want to slap the crap out of them because they are saying that to you to make themselves feel better, not you."

I agree with you. As has often been said, Job's three friends had the decency to shut up for a week before starting the accusations, which indicates more maturity than most of us have.

But there are people who mean well, and blunder through something like this. I find that if someone has a history of showing Christ's love before a crisis, I'm a lot more patient with their trite platitudes once something happens. I think a lot of people feel the same way: that might be a call to us to show love one to another. It makes some of the other nasty parts of the uphill climb go easier: correction, reproof, mourning, etc.

KingJaymz said...

I see that too. I mean the people who really don't know you, nor ever expressed interest in your existence before, but all of a sudden have something to say to you now that you've lost someone. Like the bozo who tried to tell my wife that God needed her sister more than she did, and that's why He "took her home" in a catastrophically fatal drunk driving accident at the age of 21. There just is no excuse for that kind of a jackass comment. Especially not at the peak of mourning.

To us, it didn't matter how the people who truly loved us struggled expressing their support for us. The fact that anyone was there was appreciated.

clumsy ox said...

I'm in total agreement with you, bro.