Perhaps the greatest attribute of God is his goodness. This does not nor will it ever change.
We are accustomed to this idea in the West, but many Eastern religions hold a far different view. Their dualism teaches that good and evil are equal forces locked in a never-ending struggle that neither can win. Scripture reveals instead that the Lord is both good and omnipotent, meaning that good will finally win over evil, ending all suffering for the people of God ().
The doubt of God’s goodness is as old as the human race. Masquerading as a serpent, Satan came to the Garden of Eden and approached Eve: “Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” He was casting doubt on the goodness of God. The implication here is that if God were truly good he would have allowed them to eat of all the trees without any exceptions. One of the enemy’s tricks is to convince us that our Father is somehow holding out on us, that He does not really love us and care for us.
v16 “do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. In essence you must not let Satan deceive you about the goodness of God.
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
What do you call Good?
How do you define what is Good? Morally excellent, virtuous, pius, honorable, worthy.
What is the definition of being a good person? (this person is not selfish, but not a saint) What is the definition of a good life? (the life that someone would like to live)
ALL OF THESE THINGS COME FROM GOD!
WE MUST LET GOD DEFINE GOODNESS
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
God promises to make beauty out of all things not each thing.
ILLUSTRATION: When you drink a good cup of coffe you may say this is good. What do you mean by the coffe is good? The bag that contains the coffee beans are good. The coffee beans themself are good. Hot water is good. The coffee filter is good. The good happens when all of these things are working together to bring about a really good cup of joe.
Nothing in the bible would cause us to call a heart attack good, or a famine good, or a terrist attack good. These are terrible things that are born out of a fallen world. But messages in the bible, especially the story of Joseph, compells us to see how God will mix all of these ingredients together to bring good out of them.
We must let God define good. Our definition of goodness includes comfort, and recognition. His definition? In case of His Son Jesus Christ included struggles, storms, and death. However God worked it all together for His goodness and glory.
If it is good it comes from God
This is James assertion! And if it comes from God, there is no good that comes from any other source other than God!
The goodness of God is a great barrier against yielding to temptation.
Since God is good, we do not need any other person (including Satan) to meet our needs. It is better to be hungry in the will of God than full outside of the will of God.
Once we start to doubt God’s goodness, we will be attracted to Satan’s offers; and the natural desires within will reach out for his bait. Moses warned Israel not to forget God’s goodness when they began enjoying the blessings of the promised land.
HOW DO WE DEFINE WHAT IS GOOD?
*God gives only good gifts: this means that everything in the world that comes from God is good. If it did not come from God it is not good, even if we do not see the goodness in it immediately. Paul’s thorn in the flesh came from God and it seemed like a strange gift but it became a tremendous blessing to him.
“There is no variation or shadow of turning with the father of lights.”
God is always the same
Father of Lights: taking the realm of astronomy. In this realm the moon waxes and wanes. The sun rises and sets. It creates all kinds of shadows and sometimes is eclipsed. God does not have day’s when he has more goodness than on other days.
His goodness is always undiminished and unchanged. Kent Hughes says, ‘God does not change like shifting shadows. God’s goodness is always at high noon.’
*God does not change: There are no shadows with the Father of Lights. It is impossible for God to change. He cannot change for the worse because He is holy; He cannot change for the better because He is already perfect.
God gives constantly: “coming down” is a present participle: “it keeps on coming down.” God does not give occasionally; He gives constantly. Even when we do not see His gifts, He is sending them.
God is being good to us even when our circumstances seem to say that he is not good.
*The way God gives is good: so it is possible for someone to give you a gift in a manner that is less than loving. The value of the gift can be diminished by the way it is given to us. But when God gives us a blessing, He does it in a loving, gracious manner. What He gives and how He gives are both good.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
We come into this world in a state of spiritual death.
God’s gift of spiritual life must be called his supreme gift because it rescues us from the supreme tragedy.
Of His own will God brought us forth.... just as we could not will ourselves into physical life, we cannot will ourselves into spiritual life.
Matthew Henry says of Salvation:
‘The original of this good work is here declared: it is of God’s own will; not by our skill or power; not from any good foreseen in us, or done by us, but purely from the good-will and grace of God.
We are God’s people because of a total act of grace rooted in God’s unprompted goodness.
God channels his saving grace to us by the word of truth.
firstfruits refers to the choicest part or the pick of humanity. James is showing us the supreme honor of our position.
CONCLUSION: God is good!
* There is not goodness apart from him.
*There is no changing in his goodness.
*There is no getting around Salvation as his greatest goodness.