“God is good…all the time, and all the time…God is good.” This refrain is commonly spoken by Christians. Though it is easy to remember and simple to say, it actually is a proclamation of deep and profound truth. It would do us well to consider the statement so that we understand truly what we are saying.
God is good. The Scriptures declare this clearly: “You are good and do good” (Ps. 119:68 – see also Ps. 25:8; 100:5, 106:1). Put simply, this means that God is always worthy of approval and commendation. Moreover, everything He does is always worthy of approval and commendation. He never acts in a way that is “bad” or “evil”.
But this raises the question: who sets the standard of what is worthy of approval? Doesn’t the definition of “good” change from person to person and situation to situation? For us as humans, the answer is often yes. But in the case of God, the answer is no. Because God is perfectly righteous and holy – as well as full of all knowledge and perfectly wise – it means He is the standard of “good”. God is the One who decides what is worthy of approval, and then He acts according to that standard. He is only One who is able to stand in that position, because He alone is God. In that sense, God is not only good – He is the standard of good…both for Himself and for everyone else.
This is a critical truth to remember for a number of reasons. First, it means we should get our definition of “good” from God Himself. We do not get to determine what is “good”, and we should not determine what is “good”. We are imperfect and sinful – which means we cannot be the judge or the standard (James 4:12). Second, as mentioned above, it means that everything God does is good – worthy of approval (Ps. 119:68). He can never be accused of wrongdoing or rebuked for His behavior (Dan. 4:35). We should keep this in mind as we go through our days and encounter things that displease us or that we do not understand. The One who does understand is good, and we should trust Him. Third, it reminds us that God is the source of every good thing. If it is truly good, it comes from God. This was clear in creation (Gen. 1:31), and it is still true today. Every good thing comes from Him – including life and breath and food (Ps. 145:9; Acts 14:17; James 1:17). In fact, God is so good that His goodness extends even to the ungrateful and evil (Luke 6:35). This means we should praise Him as the giver of every good gift. May we never be guilty of delighting in good gifts while ignoring the giver of those gifts. Fourth, this means that God is always doing good to His people – and working things together for our good (Rom. 8:28,32 – see also Ps. 84:11; Matt. 7:11; Rom. 2:4; Heb. 12:10). Everything God does to us – and everything He allows to happen to us – is ultimately for our good, because God only does good to His children.
God is good…all the time. We should trust Him because He is good. Even more, we should seek Him as the ultimate “good thing” in life (Ps. 16:11; 42:1-2; 73:25-26). We will never find anyone or anything “better” than Him. We are called to taste and see that the Lord is good (1 Pet. 2:3). And we should imitate Him by doing good as well (Luke 6:27,33-35; Gal. 6:10; 2 Tim. 3:17). We should do those things which He deems as worthy of approval – just like He does.