“God is a good God… yes he is. I said God is a good God… yes he is.”
These words have been sung by many for generations declaring the goodness of God. In the African American church, it is common to use this as a call and response. Someone would sing out “God is a good God,” and the church would respond, “Yes he is.” At other times you might hear someone say “God is good” and the response would be “All the time.”
While these things have become part of church culture, it requires us to dig deeper and think about what it means that God is good. If we are not careful, life can attempt to steer you away from this conclusion, so we must know what this means, and more importantly why it is true that God is good.
What Does It Mean That God Is Good?
To begin a conversation about the goodness of God, it requires us to know what it means that God is good. I must be honest, this understanding is a struggle for a lot of people to grasp because we don’t recognize what goodness is and why God is good.
To truly understand why God is good, it requires us to take a realistic inventory of who we are. God is perfect and holy while we are sinful and imperfect. Any conversation about God’s goodness must begin there because our sinful nature means that God should have nothing to do with us, yet he does.
If we miss our sinfulness in this equation, then we can falsely believe we deserve good things to happen to us. Yet we know all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Every single one of us has done something deserving of the judgment of God, yet we most often find God patient with us and not treating us as our sins deserve. The reason why God is good is because he continues to show us love, grace, mercy, generosity, and favor even when we don’t deserve it. This perfect God keeps demonstrating love to sinful people, which ties into what it means that God is good.
Bible Verses That Show Us God Is Good
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).
“The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made” (Psalm 145:9).
"How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues”
Why Does the Bible Say That God Is Good?
The Bible says that God is good for one simple reason – it is true. Where we run into a problem is the scale we use to measure God’s goodness. Too often we measure God’s goodness in a subjective manner.
When situations are perfect, everything goes right, and blessings are flowing, then God is good. However, when tragedy strikes, or life gets difficult, somehow we don’t see or remember God’s goodness. We must be careful not to make the mistake of tying God’s goodness only to life’s everyday circumstances. This is a deception of the enemy often causing us to miss God’s goodness, because we fall into the trap of believing that because God is good, everything in life is going to feel good. We know from his word this is not true.
Is It True That God Is Good All the Time?
One of the challenges of understanding what it means that God is good is the simple reality of this life. We look at the hard stories in the Bible or the hard times in life, and when you look at these things, you may ask how can God be good amid this? Sometimes we forget, or are simply not told, that God has always been honest about the realities we will experience in this life. He never said this life would be easy and he never promised this life would be a bed of roses. In other words, earth is not heaven. What he said was he would never leave you or forsake you when the realities of life hit. Take for example these verses:
“But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”
These verses are very encouraging, but there is a truth in these verses that you cannot overlook. In this life, even if you are redeemed, you will pass through the waters and walk through the fires. This means there are going to be things in this life that are not going to feel good, but God has promised to be with you through them all.
God’s goodness does not mean good things are always going to happen to you, because don’t forget we live in a sinful, fallen world. God’s goodness pushes through all these things and shows up despite the fallen world we live in. The truth is there are things that will happen in life that are simply a result of sin and not a measure of God’s goodness. What makes God good is when these moments happen, he doesn’t desert you, but he is there to carry you through them so they will not overtake you.
Why Is God Good to Us?
There is one act we should always remember because this is an eternal reminder of God’s goodness and how God thinks of us. Let me give you this Scripture to help you understand the point.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
This one verse and the cross of Calvary are God’s ultimate display of goodness towards us. This displays that God is good is because he dealt with the most consequential and devastating thing that any of us must deal with, which is our sinful condition. There is no way you could ever define God as being good if he never provided a remedy for our sin.
It doesn’t matter how many blessings you experience in this life, if God did not provide a way of salvation, then he could never be considered good. However, because he dealt with our worst problem first – giving us the hope of eternal life – everything else that comes after that is simply icing on the cake.
We used to say if God never did another thing for me, because he sent Jesus to die for my sins that would be enough. Whether or not people believe that, it is completely true. We know what it means that God is good because Jesus died for us and secured for us eternal life in heaven. No matter how difficult or challenging this life may be, it will never compare to what God has prepared for those who love him. Here is how Paul voiced it:
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
Because God has dealt with our sin problem and created for us an eternal home that is not even worth comparing to the trials of this life, we have confidence and see by this what it means that God is good.
God Is Good to Walk with You through It All
What it really boils down to is the goodness of God is a matter of perspective. There will be challenges in this life. There will be hardships and difficulties and through it all you will find a God who is loving, faithful, and good. He will walk with you through every trial you will ever face in this life. When it is all done, he will welcome you into an eternal home where there will be eternal joy and no more weeping, sorrow, death, or trials of any kind.
This is what God has prepared for those who love him, and this all points back to what it means that God is good. Regardless of the challenges of life – and there are many – always know they don’t subtract from God’s goodness but are reminders of how faithful and good God is because he is with you through them all. That’s why for generations we can sing these words. “God is a good God…Yes he is.”
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.