The Christian God is perfect. Jesus commanded His followers, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).1 We have investigated His perfection in the last few posts, and in this one we are going to look at how He is perfectly good.

Whether God is good, inattentive, simply absent, or even monstrous is often debated in contemporary religious and philosophical forums. I have personally decided not to enter into such debates. I will not, as much as is within my influence and power, be part of putting the great and almighty God who sacrificed Himself for mankind and saved me by His great grace and mercy, on trial before a jury of unbelievers. He is more than able to defend Himself in such cases, if He so pleases. These days, I am more apt to respond, “Who are you to reply against God?” (Romans 9:20). This question is in the same vein of questions He put to Job. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?” (Job 38:4–5). God did not answer Job’s questions about the tragedies that had befallen him—He questioned him about His sovereignty instead. Job had no rejoinder to the Lord’s questions—only humility and repentance: “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5–6).

This is the humbling truth concerning our relationship with the Lord God of all things that is so difficult for us to hear. He does whatever He pleases.

And He loves us.

And He is good.

The scriptural references for this truth are too numerous to list here, but Lamentations 3:25 is a wonderful example. “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” What this verse indicates is that if a person seeks the Lord, He will eventually learn that He is good. Those who have become embittered against Him have exalted their pain and doubt above the possibility of knowing the goodness of God, but He understands this and is merciful to us when we doubt. Many Christians have had questions and uncertainties when life turns horribly wrong. Those who come through excruciating experiences still believing in God’s goodness are those who have sought and waited for Him to be known as the God who is good.

However, the emphasis of this post is not only that God is good, but that He is perfectly good. This must be true, or God is not perfect, which Jesus and other authors have spoken or written in Scripture. We are confronted with this truth. We must either believe it or reject it. A neutral position is not tenable. We cannot deny the words of Jesus and the truth of Scripture and remain authentic believers. The thought that God is perfectly good may be astounding, but, if believed, is comforting. We fallen sinners are all too aware of the many things that are stupefyingly wrong on the earth in order for this truth to be swallowed easily. Yet, we must eat of it. It may be bitter in our mouths, but it will be sweet to our stomachs.

God is not in a muddle of moral conundrums. It is impossible that He does not know and understand everything, and thus somehow not know the right and wrong of it all. The Lord almighty is the referent for what is good. All that is good has God as its origin. He created the idea of what good is. He is, in truth, the only One who knows what good is, in the ultimate, eternal sense of things. What is good in any circumstance we find ourselves facing? He is. What does this mean, in a practical sense? Not much and everything. Not much in the sense that believing He has your ultimate good at heart does not cause the difficult, even terrifying situation blow away like thistles into the wind. These trials are just simply weathered in faith. We may think James unfeeling when he wrote, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray” (James 5:13a), but we know in our hearts that this is the crux of the matter for us. Yes, it is helpful to have other believers come alongside to strengthen and encourage, but when all is said and done, when everyone is gone and the lights turned down, one must face the questions, the doubts, the fears, alone. No quick and easy answers exist that solve these issues in an immediate way. However, when one answers “amen” to the call of God’s truth, that He is good and has our ultimate good at heart, what is immediate and seemingly interminable fades in the light of eternal reality and truth. Yes, they fade even in death, which we in the Western culture regard as the ultimately bad outcome. However, to hold to his attitude is to be deceived. Death is not the ultimately bad outcome. Not knowing the Father and the Lord Jesus is. Death comes to us all. It always has. It always will, until the Lord Jesus returns.

God is not as concerned about death as we are. He is much more concerned that you know Him before you die, as one day you most certainly will. Jesus conquered death. As He so eloquently stated, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26). And speaking strongly to John, He said, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17–18). Holding the keys to a gate indicates that the one holding the keys determines who is allowed entry and who is not.

Our ultimate good resides in that glorious place to which John was taken up. Christians will live there forever. Knowing, by faith this to be the truth, believers endeavor to adopt an eternal perspective. What we face today, as horrendous as it may be, cannot be compared to the glory that will be revealed and will continue to be revealed, for ten thousand times ten thousand millennia and more. Since this is the final truth, we can say with unequaled fervor, “Our God is good—perfectly good.”

1All scriptures from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)