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The Goodness of God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
March 7, 2022 12:01 am

The Goodness of God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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March 7, 2022 12:01 am

The clear message of Scripture is that God is uniquely good and that He is the standard and measure for everything we call good. Today, Steven Lawson considers the many ways God is good to His creatures, especially to His people.

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Sometimes, we look around at our circumstances and perhaps even waver in our confidence in the goodness of God. But what we should do is look into the Word and to affirm to our doubting hearts at times that God is good, and He is good all the time. Dr. Stephen Lawson on the goodness of God.

You know, we really don't get to know someone until we've spent time with them. In the same way, a vibrant relationship with a triune God must be rooted in a firm understanding of who He reveals Himself to be in His Word. Gaining that understanding is our aim this week here on Renewing Your Mind as we feature Dr. Stephen Lawson's series, The Attributes of God.

We begin with a focus on God's goodness. What a wonderful attribute of God for us to discuss in this session. God is a good God. In fact, He is so good that His name in our English language, God, comes from a derivative from the German word for good.

God, good, there is much overlap there. God and good are virtually synonymous words in our language. He is so good that even our most common name for Him means good. Within Himself, within His own being, God is abundantly good. His heart is a perpetual fountain of goodness from which is flowing forth like a swelling river, waves of goodness descending down from His throne upon His creation.

He is good. He is the source of all good. He is the supply of all good. Listen to the constant testimony of Scripture that affirms the goodness of God. Psalm 34 verse 8, O taste and see that the Lord is what?

That He is good. How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Every one of us who puts our trust in the Lord, we enter into the goodness of God in such a glorious way. Psalm 100 verse 5 says, the Lord is good. And Psalm 106 verse 1, O give thanks to the Lord for He is good.

There should be a continual testimony of thanksgiving ever flowing from our lips as we ponder and consider the many facets of the goodness of God in our lives. This word good means that He is so benevolent. He is so kind. He is so merciful that God is so charitable. He is so generous.

He is so giving. He is so caring for us, His creatures. Zechariah 9 verse 17 says, how great is His goodness.

It's not a small goodness. It is a great goodness that He possesses. Everything about God is great, right? And His goodness is great. Romans 2 verse 4 speaks of the riches of His goodness. God is wealthy in goodness, and He delights in lavishing it upon us, His creatures. Psalm 52 verse 1 says, the goodness of God endures continually.

Close quote. Let us be persuaded in our own hearts of the goodness of God. Sometimes we look around at our circumstances and perhaps even waver in our confidence in the goodness of God, but what we should do is look into the Word and to hear the veracity of His testimonies to affirm to our doubting hearts at times that God is good, and He is good all the time to us. As we think about His goodness, some categories with which we want to gather our thoughts. First of all, at the broadest point, God is good to all creatures. God is good to the whole earth. Psalm 33 verse 5, the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. Psalm 136 verse 25, He gives food to all flesh, His loving kindness is everlasting. Think of how God has so generously given to the whole earth, providing sunlight and clean air and fresh water and food and beauty all around. Psalm 145 verse 9, the Lord is good to all. The eyes of all look to you and you give them their food in due time.

You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. This goodness of God extends even to the animal kingdom. God is so good.

It's not restricted to His own children. It's not restricted simply to believers. As we'll see in a moment, God's good even to unbelievers, but it extends beyond even unbelievers, and we're thinking at this widest point, God's goodness is showered upon even the animal kingdom. Matthew 6 verse 26, look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Every day, God is constantly showing His goodness all around the globe, to the creatures on the earth, to the birds in the air, to the fish in the water.

It's all a continual flow of goodness that is coming forth from God in His providential care for all creation. Job 38 verse 41, this is God Himself speaking and says, who prepares for the raven, its nourishment, when its young cry to God and wander about with food? Who feeds that raven? Who is able to crawl up the side of the cliff right there where the raven has built a nest?

It's inaccessible to man. No man can even be able to get to the raven's nest, and yet it is God Himself who is providing food in various ways to those ravens. Psalm 104 verse 27, they all wait for you, saying this to God, to give them their food in due season.

You give to them, they gather it up, you open your hand, they are satisfied with good. God is good to all creatures everywhere. But second, He's good even to unbelievers. God extends His general goodness in what we call common grace, which is non-redemptive grace, to unbelievers even as they persist in their sins. God opens His hand and extends good gifts even to His enemies. He allows them to enter into marriage. He allows them to have the blessing of children and the joy that they bring to the unbeliever's heart. He allows them to go to school, to have an education, to work, to feel a sense of accomplishment, to be able to enjoy a promotion, to advance in their career. God allows them to make discoveries and to create beautiful music.

God in His goodness allows them to go on trips, to be able to see the beauty of all that God has made. He does not hide it from their eyes. He puts it on display even for their enjoyment. He allows them to have relationships, to have friends, to have supporters. He allows them to enjoy His good weather that He provides and to have the benefits of medicine. He allows them to read.

He allows them to enjoy architecture and construction and go to sporting events and to observe art. This is the goodness of God even to unbelievers. Matthew 5 verse 45 speaks of this common grace, this general goodness in a non-redemptive way that God gives to unbelievers when He says God causes His Son to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

When we walk outside after this session and the weather, we look around, it's just, it's so wonderful here. It's not enjoyed exclusively by believers. God allows even unbelievers to enjoy the beauty of what He has made. And it is a testimony to them of the goodness of God. And Romans 2 will even say that God uses His goodness hopefully to bring them to repentance. But in Acts 14 verse 17, God did not leave Himself without a witness in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven in fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. In fact, God is so good even to unbelievers that there are times that it almost causes believers to stumble, as though God is being better to unbelievers than He even is to His own children. Psalm 73 is the signature text on this.

In Psalm 73, Asaph confesses beginning in verse 3, he said, I saw the prosperity of the wicked. There is no pain in their death. Their body is fat, meaning they have an abundance of food to eat. They eat so much, they go to the banquet hall so regularly that their body is fat. And He sees them as they die, and they seem to die with their hands folded and a smile on their face from enjoying all that has been provided. In verse 5, they are not in trouble as other men.

Believers seem at times to suffer greater difficulty and greater adversity than even unbelievers. In verse 7, speaking of the wicked, as Asaph sees their life, he says, their eye bulges from fatness. They've enjoyed so much prosperity and have eaten the best foods.

He's saying that their eyes are just popping out of their head. They have so much good things on the inside. Where has this come from? It's come from God. He says the waters of abundance are drunk by them. He says they are always at ease.

They have increased in wealth. He said he didn't have the right perspective until he went into the house of the Lord. And in the house of the Lord, he heard the word of God. And he heard about the end of the wicked.

And how when they step out of this life's prosperity and out of this life's abundance, how they will descend down into the bowels of hell with the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. And only then in the house of the Lord did he have the right perspective to see the end of the wicked. But nevertheless, in this life, how good God is, even to unbelievers. Psalm 25 verse 8, good and upright is the Lord. Therefore, he instructs sinners in the way. Even a part of the goodness of God to these unbelievers is to instruct them in the way that they should take. But more than God's goodness to unbelievers is God's goodness to his own children, to us as believers. God lavishes good things upon us, not always with the material abundance with which he blesses unbelievers, but who can dispute the goodness of God in our lives, not only with spiritual blessings, but even physical blessings and material blessings that have come to us. Psalm 34 verse 10, they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing. I love Psalm 37 that says, the steps of a righteous man are established by the Lord and he delights in his way. Though he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong because the Lord is the one who holds his hand.

I have been young and now I'm old, yet I've not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread. How good God is to those who are righteous. He provides for us.

In fact, Psalm 84 verse 11, the Lord your God is a sun and a shield. He gives grace and glory and no good thing will he withhold from them who walk uprightly. So many times, God provides this through prayer. Matthew 7 verse 7, ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened.

It doesn't sound like God's trying to hide things from us. He's saying come, seek, knock, ask. It will be given to you. For everyone who asks, receives and he who seeks, finds.

To him who knocks, it will be opened. What man is there among you when his son asks for a loaf? Will he give him a stone?

Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask? Our Father in heaven is so good that he delights in meeting our needs and he delights for us to come to him and to present our needs before him and to ask him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and he is ready to provide for us according to his sovereign will. Psalm 86 verse 5, for you, O Lord, are good and ready to forgive and abundant in loving kindness. This is the goodness of our God.

James 1.17, for every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of unshifting shadows. Now let's think a little bit more carefully about God's goodness towards us as believers. First of all, God is good in his plans for us. Romans 12 verse 2 says that his will is what? Good and acceptable and perfect as we seek to follow God's will for our lives.

It will never be bad. It will always be good as what God defines good to be for our lives. Now it may involve a martyr's stake and being burned at the stake for our faith in Christ, but that will be a good thing for us if that's what God calls us to do because it will glorify God and it will bring great reward in heaven. Jeremiah 29.11, I know the plans that I have for you, plans for welfare not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. In fact, God's plans are so good that we read in Ephesians 2 verse 10, we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. There's a sense of destiny about every day of our lives that God has already gone into our future. He's gone ahead and he has prepared good works for us to walk in. What a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction we have in our Christian lives because God has prepared good works for us to do. He's good in his plans.

Yes, he is. He's good in his providence. Not only does he have these plans, but he has the sovereignty to bring them to pass. And we know in Romans 8.28 that God causes all things to work together for what? For good to those who love God and who are called according to his purpose. Even our trials work for our good.

Even our adversity works for our good. And the next verse tells us what that good is. It is to be conformed to the image of his son.

Can you think of a better good for your life than for you to become more like Jesus Christ? God simply uses our trials like a chisel to remove out of our life everything that doesn't look like Jesus. They once asked Michelangelo when they brought him that big block of marble and from it he chiseled the greatest statue that's ever been made, the statue of David.

He said, how did you do that? He said, I just removed everything that did not look like David and what was left was David. That's what God's doing in our sanctification.

He's removing everything that does not look like Jesus, does not sound like Jesus, does not walk like Jesus. And he uses the chisel of trials and adversity along with his word and his spirit. But that is a good providence, is it not? To drive us closer to Jesus, to make us more like him. What a good God he is. He's good in his provision. James 1 verse 17, I just read it a second ago, every good thing given and every perfect gift comes down from God above.

God is providing for us the basic necessities of life. And sometimes he's just so good, he lavishes his goodness upon, he almost spoils us at times. He's so good to us. No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

He's good in his protection. Nahum 1.7, the Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble. How many times has he been a stronghold for you as you have run to him and run into him and worry has had to stay out and anxiety has had to stay out of that castle of grace when we run to the Lord? He's good in his patience towards us. How long suffering has God been with us?

Say, how many times did you hear the gospel before you were saved? How patient of God towards us. And how long suffering is he as he has waited upon us as he's worked by his grace to take us to the next level spiritually?

He's good in his pardon. He is so quick to forgive us, to wipe the slate clean, to wipe away all of our sins. No wonder when we come into the house of the Lord, we should always be singing praises to his goodness.

Jeremiah 31, 12, they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, streaming to the goodness of the Lord. God is so good to us, let us never doubt his goodness. One of Satan's greatest ploys is to cause us to doubt the goodness of God.

That is a lie that has been hoisted against us. Let us repel it with a shield of faith and the breastplate of righteousness. Let our feet be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Let us gird our loins with truth. Let us have on the helmet of salvation. Let us take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let us resist any doubts whatsoever of the absolute goodness of God to all creation, but especially to us, His children. Especially to us, His children. We can be assured that God not only desires to reveal His goodness, but He's able to accomplish His good plan in the best possible way. Dr. Stephen Lawson has brought us great comfort today from his series, The Attributes of God.

You're listening to Renewing Your Mind. I'm Lee Webb, and thank you for being with us. When we understand the holiness of God, the sovereignty of God, the wisdom of God, and yes, the wrath of God, all of life begins to line up properly with God's truth. We're making this entire series available to you, 16 messages in all contained on two DVDs. We'll send them to you for your donation of any amount to Ligonier Ministries.

You can make your request online when you go to renewingyourmind.org, or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343. When life is painful and difficult, it can be a struggle to see the goodness of God. But I hope you found encouragement today.

Dr. Lawson showed us that God is uniquely good and He is the measure of everything we call good, so we can trust that He's able to accomplish His will. So I do hope you'll request this 16-part series. Our phone number again is 800-435-4343, or if you prefer, you can give your gift online at renewingyourmind.org. Let me encourage you to share Renewing Your Mind with friends and family. Tell them about our free app. It's a really convenient way to listen to the program, and there's much more to explore—daily videos, daily devotions, articles, even Q&As with Dr. R.C. Sproul.

You can download the app for free by searching for Ligonier in your app store. Well, tomorrow Dr. Lawson will explore another attribute of God, one that Christians hold dear. God is so gracious to sinners. He is so gracious to those who are lost and who are ruined in sin. He freely gives to us His grace, salvation in Jesus Christ. The Grace of God, Tuesday on Renewing Your Mind.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-26 20:03:03 / 2023-05-26 20:11:10 / 8

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