Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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God Does Good

By Dennis Pollock


Nearly everyone who believes that God exists will acknowledge that He is good, but what does this really mean and how does it play out in our lives? For many years the church has declared that "God is good – all the time." Today we will explore this notion of the goodness of God and its implications for every one of us. 


In the Book of James, we read: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17). Most of us divide the various events and circumstances of our lives into good, bad, and normal. James wants us to know that when the good things come into our lives, those wonderful blessings which improve our situations, encourage us, and make us happy and grateful, we can be sure that they have come down from above, that is, they have come to us from our Heavenly Father. 


Many such blessings come to us through human beings. Friends or family members do us favors, give us gifts, encourage us, and go out of their way to help us. For these kindnesses, it is right that we express our appreciation to them. But we need to know that there is Someone beyond them, Someone we cannot see, our Compassionate and generous Father in heaven who has moved on their hearts to do this for us, and we must give Him thanks as well. James tells us that every good gift is from God, not some good gifts, not merely the unexplainable gifts that come out of the blue, but all good gifts. Whether it is our mom or dad who has blessed us, or we just happen to "get lucky" and land that perfect, dream job, if we are blessed, the ultimate Blesser is God. 


God Gives Good Things


Many verses emphasize this thought that God is in the business of giving us good things. Jesus said:


Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 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 good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:9-11)


Our Creator is declared by Jesus to be our Heavenly Father, and He tells us that our Father gives good gifts to His children when they ask Him for things. We are to ask the Father for good things we need and desire, but I have discovered that sometimes blessings have just popped unexpectedly into my life when I wasn't even asking for them. God just decided to give me a surprise blessing, one for which I did not pray or expect. Our God is just that way – He is a "good-thing giver." Sometimes He gives when we have prayed and sought Him for months or years, and sometimes He gives good things strictly on His prerogative. He even gives good things to sinners who are not His children. Peter tells us that God blesses even the unbelieving nations of the world, saying: "who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless, He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." (Acts 14:17-18). Notice the phrase: "He did good." God gives unbelieving men and women rain and sun, food and clothes, shelter, friends, and families even when they are not His children. He does good for all, saints and sinners, liars and prayer warriors, even to this day. Even the unthankful are blessed from above, though they do not realize it, and mistakenly assume their blessings result exclusively from their own hard work and cleverness.


Jesus "Did Good" and Healed People


Let's look at some of the "good things" which are clearly labeled in the Bible as such. One of the good things God gives is healing. In Acts 10 Peter describes the ministry of Jesus this way:


God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38)


It could not be said any plainer than this. When we read the gospels, we find Jesus constantly healing the sick: lepers, people with paralyzed arms, lame, blind… People with all sorts of physical maladies were healed by Jesus and the Bible sums up this healing ministry by saying that Jesus "went about doing good." So sickness is a bad thing and healing is a good thing, according to Scripture. 


Once, on a Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. A man was there with a paralyzed arm, and some of the Pharisees sensed that Jesus was going to heal this man. They were almost gleeful and watched carefully, eager to find a reason to speak against Jesus and demonstrate (by their own faulty logic) that He could not possibly be the Messiah. Jesus had the man stand up and then paused to give a short lecture about healing. He told these religious hypocrites: "I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?" (Luke 6:9). 


Jesus is declaring that healing is a good thing and that good things are His business. Just as the Heavenly Father gives good gifts, so our Lord Jesus does as well. After rebuking His critics, He told the man to stretch out his hand, and his arm was perfectly restored. What was happening? Jesus was doing good, and multitudes were benefitting from it. Jesus did not put curses on people, He did not strike people with cancer or blindness or diabetes, or paralysis. He was strictly in the business of doing good.


No Need to Debate


On another occasion Jesus noticed critics who could not stand to see Him healing on the Sabbath, He asked: “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?" (Luke 14:5). If one of the farmers saw his donkey had fallen into a pit, he would not worry about which day of the week it was. That donkey needed immediate assistance. There would be no theological debate in his mind. He would not wrestle for hours about the lawfulness of pulling his donkey out of a pit on the Sabbath day. He would simply deliver his donkey from the pit and be happy that his donkey was not dead. Doing good has no restrictions. On any day or at any time, it is always right to do good. After asking this penetrating and convicting question, the Bible says of His critics: "And they could not answer Him regarding these things."


There are many other things that we instinctively recognize as good. Every time we encourage someone, every time we provide for those who have nothing, every time we support the work of the gospel, every time we show an interest in people whom everyone else ignores or rejects, every time we bear with people who annoy us, we are doing good. We are following our Master as a "good-thing doer."


No Good Thing Withheld


So what is the point of this? The point is that we are to approach God with faith, as long as we are convinced that what we are asking of Him is a good thing. We do not have to worry about whether what we are praying for will be answered. If it is a good thing, we can be sure God wants it for us as much as we want it for ourselves. In the Psalms, it is written:


The LORD will give grace and glory;

No good thing will He withhold

From those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11)


God does not withhold good things from His children who are in Christ Jesus. It is far simpler than we sometimes think. Being healthy, having a husband or a wife, having children, having money to pay our bills, having a home to live in, having food to eat every day, having friends that care about us, having the tools we need to fulfill Christ's calling, having enough education to succeed in life – these are all good things. We do not need to come before God for these things hesitantly, as though God may be too stingy to give them to us. We can approach our Father confidently, knowing that the One we petition in Jesus' name is a good God and he gives good things and does good things. He is our Heavenly Father, and if we, being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much will our kind and generous Heavenly Father grant us all our needs, physical, emotional, and spiritual? No good thing will He withhold from those who walk in Christ Jesus.



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