What is God’s definition of good?
Someone asked that question on the radio recently, and it really made me think, mostly because I’m just about positive God’s definition is different than man’s.
The Bible says,
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV.
What that tells me is that God sees things differently than we do. In addition, God is completely good, and we are the antithesis of good. The Bible says our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). All of which makes sense, because we’re separated from God as a result of our sin ~ and as a result of Adam and Eve’s original sin ~ thus necessitating the need for a savior. Which is why Jesus Christ came and died on the cross ~ to atone once for all for our rebellion, and pay the ransom to remove the wall of separation between us and God.
Humans may have good parts; we may do good deeds. But bottom line, we are an evil lot, and without Jesus Christ’s saving work on the cross we would have no hope of anything other than eternity in Hell.
So God, and of course Christ, are wholly other than humanity, completely separate.
With all of that said, good from God’s point of view might be seen as that which is morally pure, just, and right, and also truthful ~ in the way that Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~ NKJV). I capitalized Truth because it’s not the kind of truth you see in today’s culture, with moral relativism and relative truth. It’s the absolute Truth that’s found in God’s Word, and that’s embodied in Jesus Christ.
I think the concept of good is also seen in everything that’s beautiful. The Bible says,
Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. ~ Psalm 96:8, NKJV.
Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. ~ Psalm 29:2, NKJV.
Not only are God and His holiness beautiful, but His creation is beautiful as well, and the world He created is chock-full of examples. In fact, His Word says that evidence of His existence can be clearly seen in His creation. It says in the book of Romans,
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made they can clearly see His invisible qualities ~ His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. ~ Romans 1:20, NLT.
I also think God sees suffering as good, even beautiful, as paradoxical as that may sound. Jesus’ work of salvation on the cross was the best possible good that any person could have done for humanity throughout all of eternity, and yet the agony He suffered ~ physically, emotionally, and spiritually ~ was probably as much suffering as any person has ever had to go through.
He bore the sin of the whole world in His body, and worst of all, He had to endure God’s abandonment, because God cannot look on sin, so while Jesus hung on the cross God had to turn His back on Jesus. That must have been the most agonizingly painful suffering of all for Him, and He showed it with His words,
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means,” My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ~ Mark 15:34, ESV.
When Jesus uttered that anguished cry He was actually quoting Psalm 22:1,
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? ~ Psalm 22:1, NIV.
Another detail of Christi’s suffering that I remembered as I was writing this post is that He actually benefitted from it as well, as everyone else did, something that I’ve never understood very well. It says in Hebrews,
While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the One who could rescue Him from death. And God heard His prayers because of His deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered. ~ Hebrews 5:7-8, NLT.
That idea has always puzzled me. Why would Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have to learn to be obedient before He could go to the cross? Maybe it was because He was human as well as divine, and the human part had to learn obedience. That makes sense to me. That I can understand.
Curiouser and more wonderful too!
His humanity taught His divinity what it meant to suffer, and how hard it was for humans to be obedient in the process.
Maybe that’s why He makes such a good High Priest!
I like to think so…