“The Great Goodness”
The great goodness of our God is seen in the objects upon which his goodness is bestowed. It is goodness bestowed upon the house of Israel, upon us, a sinful, ever rebelling, people. God’s infinite love is love for people infinitely beneath him. When love is the most pure, it seeks no recompense. It is free, without cause, undeserved, and bestowed upon objects utterly incapable of making a suitable return of love. That is “the great goodness” of God’s love! Behold the infinite majesty of the love of God. It reaches down to us, dust and ashes, worthless worms, maggots upon the dung-heap of fallen humanity! The great goodness of our Savior’s redeeming love appears still more wonderful when we remember that it is love poured out upon his enemies, a people who would despise and reject him, who would not to be moved by all his goodness, who would be filled with malice and enmity enough to murder the very Savior who loves them!
Behold the greatness of “the great goodness” of our God bestowed upon us in the sacrifice of his love (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10, 19). Infinitely astonishing is the love of God for my soul! He loved me and gave himself for me! God himself (infinite, eternal, and self-sufficient) took hold of the seed of Abraham, took on himself my nature. He who made the heavens descended from the adorations of angels to be made flesh, to assume the form of a servant and to wear the spit of men upon his face. He exchanged the heights of infinite bliss for the agonies of Gethsemane, Gabbatha, and Golgotha. He who was holy, harmless, undefiled, who knew no sin and did no sin, was made sin for me, that I might be made the righteousness of God in him! Be astonished, O my soul! To atone for the abuses he has received, and yet receives, from me, the Lord of Glory died as my Substitute upon the cursed tree! Not only did he actually do so in time, his heart was from eternity fixed upon this great work, because of “the great goodness” he bestowed upon me from everlasting; and his love, his purpose, his determination never faltered, receded, or diminished. He never considered not loving me! He remained immovable in his purpose. His love is love unconquerable! It is this love, the sweet, assuring knowledge of “the great goodness” of the love of God for me in Christ, that casts out all fear from my heart (1 John 4:17-19).
Take another look at “the great goodness” of our great God in the exercise of his redeeming mercy, love, and grace. Oh, how great his goodness appears when we consider the magnitude of the blessings it bestows! It stooped to lay hold of a fallen people, — to snatch us from eternal flames, — to transport us to immortal life, — to rescue us from everlasting contempt and make us “kings and priests” forever “unto God!” It raises us from corruption to purity in the image of Christ, — from the darkest dungeon to the radiance of heaven, — from the society of devils to communion with angels, — from the blasphemies of hell to the songs of paradise, — from utter destitution to inherit all riches of his glory, — from being children of wrath even as others to be sons of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ! — It is “the great goodness” of our God which “he hath bestowed” upon us that has
“made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” and “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14). — “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4).
Again, we see “the great goodness” of God our Savior in his great all-sufficiency as our Savior. The Lord Jesus Christ, our God-man Mediator, possesses all the offices needful for our souls. He possesses powers fully adequate to the infinite work, and exerts them when and where they are needed. It is his stated business to break off the chains from wretched prisoners, — to administer balm to those who are wounded to death, — to give food to those who are perishing with hunger, — eyes and light to the blind, — and life to the dead. He is the “shadow of a great rock in a weary land,” — “a hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest.” As our great Prophet, he reveals to us the secrets of his eternal heart. As our great High Priest, he has taken away the wrath of God by his blood atonement and makes intercession for us continually. As our great King, he subdues our stubborn wills, marks out the way of life and puts us in the way. He defends us from all our enemies and dangers, and makes all things subservient to our souls’ good. As the Captain of the Lord’s host, he carries us through our warfare, and will make us victorious over all things. As our great Physician, he heals all our spiritual maladies and keeps our souls in immortal health. Christ is the Friend who sticks closer than a brother, a Brother born for our adversity! — “He is altogether lovely!” Possessing inexhaustible life in himself, he is the source of unfailing life to us, though we were, before he saved us, “dead in trespasses and sins.” As “Heir of all things”, he gives the whole estate of grace and glory to all his people! O what riches are the infinite riches of his grace!
“The great goodness” of our God and Savior is heightened even more when we remember the patience and condescending tenderness he exercises towards us. He calls us his friends, his brethren, his children, his spouse, the members of his body, the apple of his eye. He is not ashamed to own and befriend our poor, unsightly, outcast souls and to take us into union with himself. With unconquerable patience, he bears with all our provocations. With unfailing faithfulness, he remains our Friend in spite of all our perverseness and ingratitude. Though our returns would weary any other love, he still pardons our sins, subdues our corruptions, and carries us in his bosom, conducting us safe to glory. As a tender Shepherd, he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them in his bosom. With overpowering tenderness, he speaks to us in grace; and, drawing aside the veil, he shows his smiling face! When we are bowed down with care, he lifts us up. When we are fallen, he restores us. When our hearts are broken, with a mother’s tenderness, he wipes the tears from our eyes and breathes indescribable consolation into our hearts.
In Christ love immortal reigns in the greatness of his great goodness, which “he hath bestowed” upon us “according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of hid lovingkindnesses.” Fresh evidences of “the great goodness” of his mercy, love, and grace spring up at every recollection of his adorable providence (vv. 8-9).
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