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The Attributes of God:

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

The Goodness of God Part 1

Recently I have been reading The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer. In this book Tozer defines what it is meant by the expression an ‘attribute of God.’ So we are starting this bible study by trying to define what is meant by an attribute of God.

A Divine attribute can be expressed in simple terms as ‘something that is true about God.’ Or we could say whatever may be correctly ascribed to God.

The attributes of God include the self-existence of God, the eternity of God, God’s infinitude, God’s immutability, God’s omniscience, God’s omnipotence, God’s faithfulness, God’s goodness, the love of God, and the grace of God etc.

For the purposes of our bible study today ‘an attribute of God is whatever God has in any way revealed as being true of Himself.’ We can only know of God what He has chosen to reveal to us and that we are somehow been made capable of knowing. We can find out what God is like from the three main ways that he communicates His Divine attributes to us:

1. Through the natural world i.e. the Creation.

2. Through the Holy Scriptures.

3. Through the person of His Son Jesus Christ.

The reason that Bible teachers and scholars have chosen the word ‘attributes’ concerning God is to try to avoid the use of mere human descriptions that can only express themselves in human terms. But God can only be described in His own terms if we are to avoid error.

The attribute of: The Goodness of God

Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

In everyday language the words ‘good or ‘goodness’ mean many different things to different people. For this bible study our approach to defining God’s goodness is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men.

Psalm 107:1 O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

He is tender-hearted and of quick sympathy, and His unfailing attitude toward all moral beings is open, frank, and friendly.

By His nature He is inclined to bestow blessedness and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people.

Psalm 119:68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

That God is good is taught or implied on every page of the Bible and must be received as an undisputed article of faith.

We could say that the Goodness of God ought to colour all our thoughts of Him and help to keep us thinking straight.

If God is not good, then there can be no distinction between kindness and cruelty, and heaven can be hell and hell, heaven.

The goodness of God is the purpose behind all the God’s blessings He pours out each day on His people.

God created us because He felt good in His heart, and He redeemed us for the same reason.

We need to understand that the unmerited, spontaneous goodness of God underpins all His acts of love[1].

Psalm 145:9: The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.

Since God is immutable (unchanging) He never varies in the intensity of His loving-kindness. He has never been kinder than He now is, nor will He ever be less kind. He is no respecter of persons but makes His sun to shine on the evil as well as on the good and sends His rain on the just and on the unjust.

The cause of His goodness is in Himself, the recipients of His goodness are all His beneficiaries without merit and without recompense. Always God’s goodness is the ground of our expectation. Our faith in God is faith in the Goodness of God.

When believers are thinking straight, we will realise that we dwell under a friendly sky and that the God of heaven, though exalted in power and majesty is eager to be friends with us.

When any person approaches God with a petition for forgiveness, healing, or help etc., what is God like and what can we expect when we approach him?

John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

When Jesus Christ walked on earth, he showed people exactly what God the Father was like and revealed the true and loving nature of God in all his dealings with humankind. The hypocrites and the insincere will find Him cold and aloof, but the repentant will find him merciful and the self-condemned will find Him to be generous and kind. To the frightened He is friendly to the poor in spirit He is forgiving, to the ignorant, considerate; to the weak, gentle; to the stranger, hospitable.

By our own attitudes we may determine our reception by Him.

Though the kindness of God is an infinite, overflowing fountain of cordiality, God will not force His attention upon us.

If we would be welcomed as the Prodigal was, we must come as the Prodigal came; and when we so come, even though the Pharisees and the legalists sulk without, there will be a feast of welcome within, and music and dancing as the Father takes His child again to His heart.

The greatness of God awakes fear within us, but His goodness encourages us not to be afraid of Him.

Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

This is a staggering promise in God’s word, that if we walk uprightly before God then He will allow us to have every good thing as He defines them.


Personal Prayer

[1] Julian of Norwich in Revelations of Divine Love.

In Part 2 we consider the practical implications of the goodness of God by comparing the responses of the Rich Young Ruler and Zacchaeus and how we might apply these lessons in our own lives,].

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