This is the 2nd part of a series looking at 3 Foundations of Faith – the 3 things I believe which keep my faith strong and stable. If you want to catch up on part 1 click here.
Is God good?
My simple answer to that is YES! Am I going to prove that to you today? NO! That is the task of a very large book which I don’t think I am capable of writing! My purpose today is not to convince you that God is good, but rather to try to demonstrate a little of what “God is good” means. It is also to convince you, that if you want a strong stable faith, then you need to grow in your belief of this truth more and more. This leg can not be shaky if your want the stool to stay standing!
God is good in both Nature and Actions
In Ps 119:68 the psalmist declares about God,
“You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.”
This is just one of the many places where God’s nature and actions are described as GOOD. In English “good” is used in such a variety of ways it has nearly lost any meaning. If there is no other, more interesting adjectives available then, as long as something is not unpleasant, it will be “good”. This is so far from the feeling we find in Scripture. When God looked for an adjective to describe the nature of His amazing creation He called it “GOOD”. “Good” can be used to describe so many things, suitable for purpose, or beneficial to the recipient for example, but when I think of God being good on my “Faith Stool” I am thinking of a complete consistency with righteousness, holiness, purity and justice.
This is a God who will not act unjustly or unfairly. He will not break His promises. He will not “measure” or judge on a whim or a feeling for the day. He will ALWAYS act consistently according to His GOOD character.
When God’s nature or actions are described as good, there is an element of purity in that which means no other being can claim that description. Jesus Himself said, “No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10:18. (Of course, in saying this He was indirectly claiming His own divinity. Jesus, as God, is the only “good man”.)
Screen writers know the absolute necessity of establishing in the watcher’s mind who the “GOOD GUYS and BAD GUYS” are. If a veiwer is convinced that a character is a “Good Guy” then all his judgments and expectations will be filtered through that understanding.
You know the type of scenario… the woman creeps across the darkened room, gun in hand. A man is meters ahead of him, oblivious to the danger he is in…The woman strikes, knocking the man out cold before he has any chance to react… We do not judge the woman for her actions IF we know that she is the sheriff, finally catching the fugitive who has murdered many. Or perhaps she is the mother of the child the man was about to kidnap.
In those cases our belief that she is a GOOD GUY cause us to judge her actions as good and right. BUT, what if she had already been revealed as a bloodthirsty psychopath who was determined to take revenge on the man who had exposed her? Then we judge those same actions very differently.
The Power of Doubt.
Screen writers have another technique. Just when they have firmly established in your mind that someone is a “GOOD GUY” they start creating doubt. They place this character in compromising positions. They make it look, through actions or circumstances, like the character might not be so good after all. They feed that doubt until you, as the viewer, become confused and don’t know how to judge what is happening at all. Good guy or betrayer? Law keeper or law breaker? Pursuing good, or actually just after his own benefit? How do you know? Oh the turmoil created!
This illustrates why understanding and believing God’s absolute goodness in nature is so essential to a stable faith. A little bit of doubt and Satan will jump in with just the same techniques as those screen writers.
By misrepresenting God’s actions or the circumstances of our lives, Satan is constant in His attempts to sow that doubt.
He does not need to prove to us that God is BAD or EVIL. Rather, He points us to that lost dream, or damaged relationship. He reminds us of prayers that didn’t seem to be answered or promises that we felt weren’t kept.
He sows doubt in God’s goodness. And with that doubt comes confusion and ultimately a lack of ability to rightly judge the circumstances of our lives.
We find it difficult to trust God. We find we have a faith that is shaky, and rocked by circumstances.
If God is good..THEN…
What if we had absolute faith that God is GOOD and all His actions are good? Let’s explore a few example shall we.
- If we were confident that God is good, then we would trust Him absolutely to keep His promises. We would know that He will not change His mind. If He has said He will meet all our needs (Phil 4:19) then we would believe that, even when we feel we need something He has not provided. Or, if it is something we really do need, we would look with diligence to find how He has provided for it, knowing it will be there, somehow.
- If we were confident that God is good, then we would meet disappointments and tragedy with trust in God. We would understand how Joseph could say, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” (Gen 50:20) We would still suffer, grieve and certainly often not enjoy these things, but they would not cause us to doubt God’s goodness. We would have a firm confidence that, somehow, God is working out His GOOD purposes and plans, for us and His Kingdom. (Romans 8:28)
How do I establish this kind of Faith in God’s Goodness?
Did you read the examples above and say, “If only!” Are you like me and find yourself wavering at times? Tempted to wonder what on earth God is doing and how He could be good if this is happening? Do you look at the world around and see suffering and wickedness and question if a good God created all this?
Recognise these questions as opportunities to wrestle with God and His Word, and, together with other believers, seek the truth that will allow you to respond, “Even so…God is GOOD!” Get to know the big picture of Scripture and God’s character as He has worked throughout history. There are many books and authors out there who have written on these things. Discover and dig down deep into Scriptures which describe the nature of God’s goodness. Look to your own life and the testimonies of others to see God’s goodness at work.
It is easier to wrestle with these things when you are not facing doubt, to establish a foundation before it is required. But in reality, it is often these times of doubt when the answers become vital and the search for them more focused.
A belief in God’s goodness is essential as a foundation to faith. It cannot be removed but it is not sufficient on its own. Next week we will explore God’s Love for us and how our understanding of that will deeply impact our faith.
SERIES: 3 Foundations of Faith – the 3 things I believe which keep my faith strong and stable
Week Four: God is in Control: Do I believe it? So what?