A God Who is good1
As we meditate on James 1:12-18 today, I want to draw your attention particularly to v17. It reads, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change”
This text is really about an attribute of God, namely His goodness. That God is good is taught to us throughout Scripture, in fact all of God’s attributes could be summed up in the two: God is great, and God is good. Unfortunately, it is also frequently misunderstood.
It is important to remember God’s goodness, but at the same time to remember that his goodness cannot be divorced from His other attributes. God’s goodness doesn’t override or nullify His other attributes.
What do we mean when we say God is good? We are saying that He is not evil, we are saying that He cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone (v13). This is also why we say God is holy; He is set apart, distinct, totally other in His character. The fact that God is good is also manifest in His justice. God hates evil, and so punishing evil is part of what it means for God to be good and just. We read in Deuteronomy 32:4 that all God’s ways are just.
Our God shows His goodness in many other ways. He shows His goodness in creation and all the kind gifts we receive through the created world: laughter, family, friends, art, music, sport, steak. His loving kindness is shown to everyone, as God sends even His rain on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).
God though has a special love for His children. It’s a love that works all things for their good (Romans 8:28). His patience, kindness and goodness are extended towards everyone in the world, but his special love that leads to Salvation goes only to those that are His own.
That special love is also an outflow of His goodness. It is a holy which requires our sins to be punished and then sends Christ to receive that punishment in our place as a satisfying sacrifice for our sins. When God saved us, he did not set aside his holiness for His goodness. No he was perfectly loving and perfectly just at the same time. He sent Christ so that He could be a perfectly holy judge and yet a loving and forgiving heavenly Father.
God’s love and holiness both describe how He is good. God disciplines us for our good and His glory. God’s mercy flows from his goodness
God’s love is not a sentimental love that winks at evil. Even when God is loving His holiness is visible. He does not love sinners without dealing with their sin, and if you have faith in Christ your sins have been dealt with. Let’s rejoice in all of God’s goodness and live repentant lives that call others to repent so that they to might know his goodness and mercy.