Goodness on Fire

Cover of "Merriam Webster Dictionary"
Merriam Webster Dictionary’s definition of goodness fall short in comparison to the goodness of God.

What biblical goodness is
Goodness, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary refers to the quality or state of being good. The term good is then defined as a favourable character or tendency.

Receiving the compliment of being good is an honour and privilege – we may call many as exhibited some good acts, but labelling them as good people takes on a much higher level. Yes, being called good is such a rare opportunity.

National heroes may speak well of the term – but not all of them. It only shows that the term is heavy and calls for uniqueness.

In the Bible, the term goodness is said fifty (50) times in the King James Version (KJV), in which more than 90% refers to the goodness of God. Good is said seven hundred fifty (750) times, and the majority of it coming from the acts and nature of God. Very few of the biblical terms goodness and good refer to a particular biblical character. Clearly implied, goodness is a virtue in which God is exemplary, and none of His creation comes close to the degree of His innate goodness or good character.

A survey of the use of both goodness and good in the Bible defines the meaning by its qualities that are exhibited when practiced. One key area is forgiveness. When God shows goodness, it is often associated in His unwavering commitment to forgive His straying people (e.g. Isaiah 63:7). Another is God’s willingness to bless peoples materially. This is evident in the way God blessed Israel in the Old Testament times (1 Kings 8:66): God loves to bless His people not because of their own merit but because God desires to glorify His Name. It is also God’s way of showing that He desires a people who will speak of His goodness.

The list could go on but maybe the most important of all is how the goodness of God relates to His character of love. In the Holy Scriptures, the goodness of God in relation to His love (actually mercy (chesed), but the term mercy/lovingkindess implies love according to Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew) is mentioned sixteen (16) times in the KJV. When God chooses to do wonderful good acts, it is because He does it out of love. Or to put it differently, because God is love, He will never cease to do good things. Wow! O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. (1 Chronicles 16:34)

The goodness of the Lord therefore is of a separate class. It is far beyond the idea of human kindness. The goodness of man has its own limits, and its nature is imperfect, but God’s goodness crosses boundaries and is perfect in its nature.

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