If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

—Matthew 7:11

I have for over thirty years spoken about God’s goodness. It is most important that we know about God’s goodness and know what kind of God He is. What is God like? It is a question that must be answered if we’re going to be any kind of Christians at all. Don’t take that for granted and say, “I already know.” …

God is kindhearted, gracious, good-natured and benevolent in intention. And let us remember that God is cordial. We only think we believe, really. We are believers in a sense, and I trust that we believe sufficiently to be saved and justified before His grace. But we don’t believe as intensely and as intimately as we should. If we did, we would believe that God is a cordial God, that He is gracious and that His intentions are kind and benevolent….

There are never any times when God won’t be cordial. Even the best Christian doesn’t always feel cordial. Sometimes he didn’t sleep well, and though he’s not mad and he’s living like a Christian, he doesn’t feel like talking in the mornings. He doesn’t feel cordial; he’s not overflowing; he’s not enthusiastic. But there’s never a time when God isn’t. Because what God is, He is perfectly. AOG040, 042-043

Oh, Lord, may I believe in your goodness more intensely. Give me a deep confidence that You are a gracious God and that Your intentions are always benevolent. Amen. [1]

If you then, being evil-as sinful human fathers-know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! Here is one of the many specific scriptural teachings of man’s fallen, evil nature. Jesus is not speaking of specific fathers who are especially cruel and wicked, but of human fathers in general, all of whom are sinful by nature.

Those who do not know the true God have no divine source to whom they can turn with assurance or trust. Most pagan gods are but larger than life images of the men who made and worship them. Greek mythology tells of Aurora, the goddess of dawn, who fell in love with Tithonus, a mortal youth. When Zeus, the king of gods, promised to grant her any gift she chose for her lover, she asked that Tithonus might live forever. But she had forgotten to ask that he also remain forever young. Therefore when Zeus granted the request, Tithonus was doomed to an eternity of perpetual aging (Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite [5.218–38]). Such are the capricious ways of the gods men make.

But not so with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. As in the previous chapter, Jesus uses the phrase much more to describe God’s love for His children (cf. 6:30). Our divine, loving, merciful, gracious Father who is in heaven has no limit on His treasure and no bounds to the goodness He is willing to bestow on His children who ask Him. The most naturally selfless relationship among human beings is that of parents with their children. We are more likely to sacrifice for our children, even to the point of giving up our lives, than for any other persons in the world. Yet the greatest human parental love cannot compare with God’s.

There is no limit to what our heavenly Father will give to us when we ask in obedience and according to His will. Again we get additional truth from the parallel passage in Luke, which tells us, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (11:13).

The truth Jesus proclaims here is that, if imperfect and sinful human fathers so willingly and freely give their children the basics of life, God will infinitely outdo them in measure and in benefit. That is why the children of God are “blessed … with every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3) offered by “the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us (vv. 7–8). If we want God to treat us with loving generosity as His children, we should so treat others, because we are those who bear His likeness.[2]

7:11 you … who are evil. Earthly parents have an innate impulse to do what is best for their children, yet they are flawed as a result of sin’s corruption of all humanity through the fall of Adam and Eve (cf. Rom. 5:12–14), and the quality of their parenting does not match God’s. This is an example of a “how much more” argument frequently used in Matthew and Luke (e.g., Matt. 10:25; 12:12; Luke 11:13; 12:24; cf. Heb. 9:14).[3]

[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 445–446). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1834). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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