God is Good

Posted on 02/24/2019 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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I HAVE THE JOY
by George W. Cooke
edited by Benjamin R. Faust

I have the joy joy joy joy
down in my heart
down in my heart
down in my heart

I have the joy joy joy joy
down in my heart
down in my heart
to stay

I have the peace that passes
understanding
down in my heart
down in my heart
down in my heart

I have the peace that passes
understanding
down in my heart
down in my heart
to stay

I have the wonderful love of my
blessed redeemer way
down in the depths of my heart
down in the depths of my heart
down in the depths of my heart

I have the wonderful love of my
blessed redeemer way
down in the depths of my heart
down in the depths of my heart
to stay


CHORUS

And I'm so happy
so very happy
I have the love of Jesus
in my heart, my heart

Yes I'm so happy
so very happy
I have the love of Jesus
in my heart


I have the love of Jesus
love of Jesus
down in my heart
down in my heart
down in my heart

I have the love of Jesus
love of Jesus
down in my heart
down in my heart
to stay

(CHORUS)

And if the devil doesn't like it
he can
sit on a tack
sit on a tack
sit on a tack

And if the devil doesn't like it
he can
sit on a tack
sit on a tack
to stay

(CHORUS)


LORD YOU'VE BEEN SO GOOD
by Benjamin R. Faust

VERSE ONE
Lord, You've been so good to me
You gave me sight when I was blind
You showed me light I could not see
You brought me truth I could not find

Lord, You've been so good to me
You paid a debt I could not pay
You turned my darkest night to day
Lord You've been so good to me!

CHORUS
And so I praise You in the morning
and I praise You in the night
For You are my Salvation
You are my Guiding Light
So I give You my everything
I just can't give You less
When You sent Your Son to love me
You gave me Your best!

VERSE TWO
Lord, You've been so good to me
You set my feet on solid ground
You rescued my life from the grave
when no other help could be found
Lord, You've been so good to me
and I could never repay
All the love You gave so freely
Lord, You've been so good to me!

(CHORUS)

BRIDGE
Lord You've been so good to me
Lord You've been so good to me (better than I deserve)
Lord You've been so good to me
You paid a debt I could not pay
You turned my darkest night to day
Lord You've been so good to me

Lord You've been so good to me
Lord You've been so good to me (you're good all the time)
Lord You've been so good to me
and I could never repay
All the love You gave so freely
Lord You've been so good to me

(CHORUS)

You gave me Your best!
You gave me Your best!

Lord, You've been so good to me.


BLESSED ASSURANCE
by Frances J. Crosby

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
oh, what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

This is my story, this is my song
praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
praising my Savior all the day long

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest
Watching and waiting, looking above
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love


*** Choose your connection speed and listen to the audio to hear the introduction. ***


If you've been in the church scene for more than five minutes, you've probably heard a speaker say half a phrase which the congregation finishes; this one in particular:

"God is good all the time and all the time, God is good."

Psalm 34:8 (NASB) says,

8 O taste and see that the Lord is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

So God is good. And Psalm 145:9 (NASB) opens this goodness up to everyone everywhere, both sinner and saint alike, when it says,

9 The Lord is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.

And then Psalm 107:1 (NASB) says it this way:

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

So God is good, he is good to everyone everywhere, and he is good and loving and kind to everyone everywhere at all times in the past, present, and future.

Do you believe these verses are true? Probably so. Would you entertain the idea if someone suggested they were false? Probably not.

So it be safe to say we believe, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that it is a settled fact that God is good, God is good to everyone everywhere, and there has never been a time nor ever will be in which God is not 100% good, displaying his love and his kindness throughout all of time and eternity.

And since we agree on that foundation, let's consider a question. And that question is this:

If God is completely good, if he is good to everyone, and if he has always been and will always be good, should we define goodness by the proposed actions of a god or gods? Or should we define whether those proposed actions are God by whether they are good?

As we let that question simmer, let's consider what is written in Romans 2:14-15 (NASB)

14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.

So the law of God, the nature of God, is written in our hearts. In whose hearts? Just in the hearts of those who believe? Just in the hearts of those who are Christians? Well, this passage is talking about the Gentiles, or, the unbelievers. "They show the work of the Law written in their hearts."

And it says their conscience bears witness and their thoughts either accuse or defend them. So the nature of God, specifically the goodness and kindness and everlasting love of God, is written on our hearts, whether we are a devout Christian or a Gnostic Atheist. According to this, deep down, everyone knows the goodness and kindness and love God has and shows to everyone everywhere; the goodness and kindness and love God has always shown, shows now, and will show for all eternity, to everyone everywhere of every race, every creed, and even every lifestyle.

If all the Scripture verses we just read are true, and most of us are confident they absolutely are, then this perfect nature of God is inscribed upon our hearts, and our conscience, regardless of what we believe, tells us right from wrong, good from evil, based upon this instinctual knowledge of God.

And knowing this, let's return to our question for today:

If God is completely good, if he is good to everyone, and if he has always been and will always be good, should we define goodness by the proposed actions of a god or gods? Or should we define whether those proposed actions are God by whether they are good?

To clarify what this question means, let's consider an example:

Here are some religious writings supposedly coming from God by divine revelation. Knowing what God has written in your heart about what is good and what is evil, do these sound as though they are coming from a god who is good to everyone, and whose loving kindness is everlasting?

Qur'an 4:34

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has made one superior to the other and because they spend to support them from their means. Therefore, righteous women are obedient and they guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard. And, as to those women from whom you fear disobedience, give them a warning, send them to separate beds, and beat them.

So if you even fear that a woman will be disobedient, warn them, send them to sleep alone, and beat them.

Are these the words of God? One could either argue that, if they believe such, these words are inspired revelation from God, or one could say that God is good to everyone, both gentile and jew, both male and female, and that his loving kindness is for all times to all people, and thereby conclude that this passage from the Quran is not good and loving and kind, and is thus not from God.

Here's another one:

Qur'an 8:12

When your Lord revealed to the angels, "Truly I am with you. So, keep firm those who have believed. I will strike terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved. So, strike them at the necks and cut off their fingers."

Now, I'm not sure how you cut off someone's fingers by swinging a sword at their neck, but seriously, is dismembering and beheading those who don't believe in Islam good? Is it loving? Is it kind? If it is, then it is in line with the nature of God engraved on our hearts, what we know to be good. If not, then we can know this command is not from God.

Here's another one:

Qur'an 9:5

Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them.

Of course those last two examples of people to arrest, dismember, and behead, would include all Christians, as well as, obviously, everyone who does not accept Allah as the one true god and Muhammad as his prophet and obey the words of the Qur'an.

Not to mention those who dare to say anything that insults Muhammad or questions anything found in his holy book.

Here's another one, paraphrased:

"The infidels must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against Allah. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open."

So if you were a man who does not accept this religion, then that god's wishes would be for your babies to be dashed to the ground, and for your pregnant wife to be ripped open. And in another place, that god commanded the people of that religion to drive a sword through your children and infants, killing every single one, because the men didn't worship him.

Of course we recognize that as evil. We understand that those who believe Islam are indoctrinated, often from birth, to cover up the law of God engraved on their hearts and to believe that killing an infidel and ripping open their pregnant women's bellies and throwing their babies violently against the ground, is somehow good and right and was God's idea and what he commanded.

But contrast those to these passages from the Bible:

1 John 1:5 (NASB)
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 4:8 (NASB)
8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

And so we walk in love. We walk in goodness. We know those things supposedly commanded by God could not have come from him because of the law of right and wrong he has engraved upon all of our hearts, and we know that such commands could not have come from him.

And if those words did not come from him, then we should question everything else found in that supposed holy book, for at best, it is not completely true.

I'm sure we're all in agreement on this.

Romans 12:2 (TLS) says this:

2 And do not follow the pattern of this age, but be transformed as your mind is renewed, that you may clearly know what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfectly complete will of God.

The good, well-pleasing, and perfectly complete will of God.

So we can apply this to the Qur'an and to all other religious texts other than the Bible, right?

Of course. I'm sure we would all agree on this. It seems obvious. The nature of God, the distinction within us between what is good and what is evil, tells us to reject what is obviously evil and embrace what is obviously good.

And this questioning was applied to New Testament teachings as well.

Acts 17:11 (NASB) says this about the Bereans:

11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

Of course, this doesn't say they examined their hearts upon which the knowing of what is good and what is evil is engraved. After all, deciding whether the stories they were being told about Jesus' dying in their place to purchase their reconciliation with God were true, is outside of whether that would be good or evil. So believing the Old Testament to be true, they were comparing those stories with what it said. It was more of an intellectual exercise than a moral one.

But the point is that they questioned what they were being told rather than just believing. They had already accepted the Old Testament writings they had as being true, and thus held up parts of what became the New Testament in the Old Testament's light to judge their truth.

And so we might conclude that we would be more nobile if we did not accept something as good or evil, right or wrong, just because we've been told it to be so, or even because someone wrote that it was so thousands of years ago, even if those writings were agreed upon later by a group of people as being the absolutely inerrant truth.


And herein lies a challenge. And it is not for the weak, or for the fearful. It is not for those who think God is vengeful and unloving and unkind. It is not for those who essentially think God is not good, or is not good to everyone, or that there was a time or will ever be a time in which God is not completely good or his loving kindness is not everlasting.

Like the Muslims, do we make excuses for things that, deep down below the indoctrination, we know are wrong? we know are not good, and thus we know cannot be of God?

Or do we have the courage, the fortitude, the firm commitment to embracing the law of goodness and mercy and compassion and everlasting loving kindness of the true god, the true source of Life, regardless of what we might have always blindly accepted as indisputably true?

Now, when quoting from the Qur'an, I gave references for three of them, paraphrased a passage without reference, and alluded to yet another without referencing, quoting, or paraphrasing. Feel free to look these up yourself.

I'm sure we can all agree that when we heard them, they were obviously at odds with what we know is right and what we know is wrong, as Romans 2:15 says, "we show the work of God's nature written in our hearts, our conscience bearing witness and our thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.

And so they sounded evil. Beat woman whom we fear might be disobedient. Cut off the heads of those who don't believe in Allah. Ambush and kill them wherever we find them. Rip open their pregnant woman and dash their babies to the ground.

We all know these are horrific things that the true god would never tell us to do, yesterday, today, or at any time in the future.

And it is good that we recognize the evil in those false words of a good god, or in the true words of an evil and false god.

As Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB) says,

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things... and the God of peace will be with you."

Whatever is right. Whatever is pure. Whatever is lovely. Whatever is praiseworthy. And the god of peace will be with you.

We don't see the obviously evil verses we've quoted or paraphrased as pure, lovely, or praiseworthy. They are anything but peaceful and thus are obviously at odds with the god of peace.

We do not worship religious writings, and we do not blindly accept them as coming from God regardless of which of the countless religions they come from or the countless gods who are claimed to have given them to us.

Instead, we trust in the source of Life, the One who is always completely good, whose loving kindness is everlasting, and who gives us every breath we breathe, every comfort that heals our weeping hearts, and whose law, whose nature, is engraved upon our hearts so we can know what is evil and what is good.

Where is the virtue in just believing something? From the example of the Bereans, isn't it more noble to diligently question everything than to just believe what you've been told or even what your mind has always believed?

So research the paraphrased passage I mentioned when we were quoting the Qur'an. And remember that whatever you find does not mean I am telling you what is right or what is wrong. "The pastor said such-and-such is true or such-and-such is false. He's a heretic!"

No, I'm simply encouraging us all to not simply believe what we've always been told is true, but instead, to be open to the truth, whatever that might be; and then, when we think we might have found it, we should not believe what our mind thinks it has discovered, for it is not a belief that saves us; it is the One who made us, who loves us without condition, and whose nature of goodness and love will always lead us to whatever is good and true.