What does it mean that God is good?

The question if God is good has more impact on our life than we think at first sight. The first paragraph below shows that we need an objective standard.

How to decide who is good?

Are you a good person? Most people think that they are. We can all think of bad people and perhaps we can even think of some people who are better than us. But how do you decide who is good and who is not good? Most of us rarely think about that question because we use ourselves as the standard for goodness. But how did we decide that we are good? How do we really know if we are good or not? Is there any objective standard for goodness?

Jesus points at God as good

When Jesus walked on this earth, a lot of people thought that He was good. The Bible says that one time a man ran up to Jesus “and knelt before him and asked Him, Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:17-18). Jesus didn’t deny that He was a good teacher, but He re-directed the question to the true source and standard of goodness: God.

God is the standard of goodness

Because God is the creator of all things, He is over all things. He is the Lord and Master of the Universe, and He is the ultimate standard for what is good. God alone decides what is good and what is bad. He alone decides what is right and wrong. It is not us, or society, or the government who can ultimately determine good and bad. It is God alone because he made all things and is over all things.

To know what’s good, we need to know God

If we want to know what is really good, we need to get to know the One who invented goodness. And we get to know God by reading the Bible, by observing what God commands, and what God condemns, what God does and what God does not do. Our understanding of God and his actions will never be complete and frankly, sometimes God is difficult to understand. But if we make the effort to seek to know Him, we will better understand goodness and the God who is good.

How does this Bible teaching speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Read more Why does God sometimes use explicit vocabulary?

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Karl Dahlfred

Karl Dahlfred has served as a missionary in Thailand with OMF International since 2006. From 2012-2016, he taught church history and missions at Bangkok Bible Seminary, assisted in editing and translation of Thai Christian books at OMF Publishers Thailand, and was a founding elder of Grace City Church, Bangkok. In 2017, he began a Ph.D in World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh. Karl earned a Masters of Divinity (M.Div) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Master of Theology (Th.M) at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Karl is married and has three children.

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What does it mean that God is good?