Goodness is often equated with the benevolence of God. Goodness is “…..the quality or state of being good…..” (By permission. From Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam- Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.) Benevolence is the “…..disposition to do good…..an act of kindness…..” (By permission. From Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam- Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)
Again the definition is limited, because in God there is not a state of being good (which holds forth the possibility of not being good), He is good by nature and is never anything else. He is incapable of anything else. Within the definition of Benevolence there is also a problem if applied to God. Disposition gives the idea of maybe good, maybe not good. He is GOOD.
The use of benevolence, if it is to be understood in light of the Dictionary definition, is not appropriate for God. God is “GOOD,” and there is no possibility of disposition, because with Him there is no maybe. Psalm 25:8, “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore will he teach sinners in the way.” (Read also the following texts: Psalm 33:5, Psalm 52:1, Psalm 103, Mark 10:18, Romans 2:4, Romans 11:22.)
Goodness covers two areas, what God is in and of Himself, and what God is to His creatures. In other words goodness covers His character and the expression of His character.
His Character: Holy, True, Love
His Relation To Others: Righteous, Faithful, Merciful, mercy, tender mercy, kind, kindness, loving kindness, pity, pitiful, good, goodness, compassion, grace, gracious, and longsuffering.
There is no opposite for this side of God. He is Good, and He cannot be bad.
Some might question this concept in relation to the fact that He will judge and condemn the lost to hell. There is no divine attribute of wrath. Wrath is the logical and needed result of the attributes of holiness, truth, love and justice. The violators of His ways will feel this wrath. Within all of this is the fact that He is doing good. He is preparing the creation for eternity. This includes the removal of all evil.
Does this study bring new meaning to the idea that all things work together for good? He is in the process of doing good in your life, no matter how bad things seem to get. His work in you can only result in good.
GOD IS HOLY
Before moving on, please read Leviticus 10:1-7 and Acts 5:1-11. He IS to be reverenced. Sin is not allowable.
Oehler observed of God, “Holiness is glory concealed; glory is holiness revealed.” (Quoted in Pardington. Pardington, Revelation George P. Ph.D.; “Outline Studies In Christian Doctrine”; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1926, p 79)
The term holy originally comes from the idea of “whole” or complete. Thus holy is, wholly given to a purpose.
The Hebrew term is “kadesh” which means separateness. The term really had nothing to do with holiness at first. The term harlot in Genesis 38:21 is “kadesh” — set apart for a purpose.
The Greek term is “hagios” which means set apart. Strong mentions, “Holiness is self-affirming purity. In virtue of this attribute of His nature, God eternally wills and maintains His own moral excellence. This definition contains three elements: first, purity: secondly, purity willing: thirdly, purity willing itself.” (Strong, Augustus H.. “Systematic Theology”; Valley Forge, PA: The Judson Press, 1907. This same quote is found on p 77 of Bancroft’s Christian Theology.)
There Are Several Areas Which Relate To God And Holy:
God’s people are to be holy. Leviticus 11:41-45; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:15,16. Not sometimes holy, as many believers live today, but all the time holy. Unholiness is unacceptable. It is easy to talk about the little sins we allow, but term it as it is, UNHOLY, and it sounds a bit worse.
Things dedicated to Him are holy. Leviticus 27:28 If we have given ourselves to Him, then we should also be holy. That is the standard, whether or not we like it, accept it, or live by it.
His habitation is holy. Deuteronomy 26:15; Psalm 99:9; Isaiah 57:15. Think of it, we will one day share that habitation with Him. A holy habitation with no evil.
His throne is holy. Psalm 47:8 Is it any wonder Isaiah said when viewing the throne that he was undone and of unclean lips?
The Spirit of God is holy. Psalm 51:11 He is resident in you. He is another reason for us to remain sinless. Our “little sins” offend Him greatly.
Let me just list some other areas of His holiness: God swears by His holiness Psalm 89: 34-36; His arm is holy Psalm 98:1; God is holy and His name is holy Psalm 99:1-9; His promise to Abraham was holy Psalm 105:42; His name is holy Isaiah 57:15.
IN WHAT WAY IS GOD SET APART?
God is absolutely separate from all that is earthly or human. (Psalm 99:1- 3, Isaiah 57:15) This is seen often in the Old Testament.
God is absolutely separate from all that is unclean. This would be deemed His moral holiness. (Psalm 99:4-9, Psalm 24:3,4) This thought seems to be the prevalent thought of the New Testament. Both ideas are found in Isaiah 6:1-5. He is lifted up and pure.
Is Love, or Holiness more prominent in His listing of attributes? The social gospel people seem to hold love as the prime attribute. Fundamentalists tend to hold holiness as the prime attribute. It has been said that Scripture states “Holy, holy, holy” not “Love, love, love.” Dwell on that thought
for a time.
One final point. The thought of God being holy and objects being holy may be difficult for some to understand. Holy has the idea of set apart, and in this sense anything can be holy.
1. We will naturally see our own unholiness as we view His holiness. Isaiah 6:1ff is a prime example of this concept. Isaiah realized his uncleanness. Cambron states, “When we think not of god’s holiness, we think light of sin.” (Cambron, Mark G. D.D.; “Bible Doctrines”; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954, pp 48-49)
2. The basis of his covenants is His holiness; they WILL come to pass. Psalm 89:34-36 (David); Psalm 105:42 (Abraham); John 17:11.
3. The holiness of God demands a similar holiness in the lives of His people. 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But, as he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of life, Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am Holy.” (see Psalm 99; Hebrews 12:10 which tells us that we can partake in HIS holiness — contemplate that for awhile.)
4. His holiness is always in the background of all of His judgments. The following texts picture the scene of God’s throne that Isaiah beheld. (Revelation 4, Revelation 20)
5. Our works, or life style can profane God’s holy name. Amos 2:6,7 6. Our salvation is provided by a Holy God. If we remember our previous destination we will think more highly of His holiness and from what He has saved us. His holiness demanded that we be separated from Him thus Christ’s righteousness allows us to approach Him.
7. His holiness is the only standard for our life and lifestyle. If we wonder if something is right, all we need to do is ask if it is holy.
GOD IS TRUE
Another term you may run into in this study is veracity. Veracity is “…..devotion to the truth: TRUTHFULNESS…..” (By permission. From Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam- Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)
God is called the true God. John 17:3,
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
God is called the God of truth. Psalm 31:5, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” Isaiah 65:16,
“That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth, and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth, because the former troubles are forgotten, and
because they are hidden from mine eyes.”
Strong tells us, “In virture of His veracity, all His revelations to creatures consist with His essential being and with each other. In virtue of His faithfulness, He fulfills all His promises to His people, whether expressed in words or implied in the constitution He has given them. (Strong’s Systematic Theology)
Ryrie mentions that God is consistent with Himself. This illustrates truth. We are true to ourselves when we are ourselves.
“True” can be used of the character of an object as well as the knowledge about the object. A gun barrel can be true or straight. We can
also know about a gun barrel and know of it’s true, or straight nature.
A man can be a true scientist by nature, but we may know nothing about the man except lies that someone has spread about him. We can know him to be true in nature because of his credentials but not know him truthfully because we know only of the gossip.
God is the true God for He matches the true God that is revealed in the Word. We can know there is a true — real — God, yet not know Him, or know much about Him. We need to understand BOTH.
God is the truthful God, for His knowledge conforms to His nature, or more exactly IS true knowledge. He is completely accurate, and there can be no inaccuracy.
All truth extends from Him and all truth conforms to Him. He is the ultimate standard of truth for He is truth. (Psalm 31:5, Psalm 119:126-128, Psalm 119:160.)
God’s truth is related to many of His other attributes and characteristics. I will just list these for your further study.
Truth and light. Psalm 43:3
Truth and kindness. 2 Samuel 2:6
Truth and goodness. Exodus 34:6
Truth and uprightness. Psalm 111:8
Truth and righteousness. Jeremiah 4:2
Truth and peace. Jeremiah 33:6
Truth and grace. John 1:17
Truth and life. John 14:6
You will see that truth is defined in many ways as you live and learn. For example, Mary Baker Eddy stated that if something was real, then it was truth. The fallacy of this can be illustrated in the fact that Hitler was real but he wasn’t truth.
1. God is total truth so there is no lie within Him. Every promise and every Word are truth and to be trusted implicitly.
2. By a bit far off application, we might run along the following lines for a moment. When we ask the Lord what He wants us to do in a certain instance and He tells us, there is never any need for us to question His answer for one split second. We know He wouldn’t josh us. He is totally and completely Honest, And He Will Never Lie Or Mislead Us.
3. He will respond to us in all that is truth in the manner of our worship and prayers. John 4:24, Psalm 145:18.
4. His judgments will be entirely based upon truth. No one can trick Him into letting them into heaven or out of hell. Psalm 54:5, Romans 2:2.
5. The holiness and truth of God should dictate our ethics as men and women of God. I fear ethics are out the window in the ministry today. I would like to illustrate this in a number of ways so you will know what some good ethics are.
a. I was waiting in the office of a large evangelical church in Oregon. I could hear the business manager and the church secretary arguing. They were not heated, though voices were being raised. The high level ofvolume forced me to hear that the secretary thought that the church board should operate with business men of the community, in a manner consistent with Christian ethics. The business manager stated flatly that they should not operate with Christian ethics. That business manager knew little of proper ethics.
b. I have observed and heard of many pastors that leave a church in a small town and start another church in the same town. When on deputation, I had a meeting in a town of four hundred people with two fundamental Baptist churches. There is no need for two churches, two buildings, two budgets, two pastors. What a waste of God’s money.
c. Most churches have a clause in their doctrinal statements and
bylaws requesting that the pastor leave if he finds himself in a doctrinal difference with the congregation. There are men who remain, and continue to teach wrong doctrine. Some actually lead the congregation off into their false doctrine.
d. I have observed a pastor moving into an area and encouraging disgruntled people in a church to split, and then assuming the pastorate over their new church. (There were no doctrinal differences involved.)
e. Accepting a church they know they have differences with in doctrine and practice without telling them.
f. Candidating in three churches at one time and then choosing the best one that call’s you. I have seen this more and more in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
g. Flying to one church to candidate and candidating at another while you are there on the other people’s money.
h. Accepting a church in one fellowship of churches while planning to take it into another fellowship.
i. Counting churches in your fellowship when the church hasn’t had any association in years. When on deputation I found an address for a church in a fellowship directory. I was able to set up a meeting with the pastor. Upon arrival at the church the pastor asked me where I had heard about his church. I told him of the directory. He stated that the church hadn’t been with that group in more than ten years.
j. Setting up a candidate appointment and calling two days before your date to speak and telling them you have accepted another church.
I trust that pastors, missionaries, and Christians in general will consider how they live their lives. I feel confident in saying that I believe God is embarrassed with His people, in this generation. Many Christians are less than truthful in their personal lives.
May we strive for the holiness and the truth of God in our personal and church lives.
 Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.