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Thursday
Oct082009

Theological Term of the Week

goodness
That perfection of God whereby he is disposed to be benevolent and generous toward his creatures.

  • From scripture:

    5 One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
     
    They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

    The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
    The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.

    14 The Lord upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
    15 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
    16 You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
    17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works. (Psalm 145:5, 7-9, 14-17 ESV)

  • From The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 2:
  • There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, …most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him….
  • From Knowing God by J. I. Packer
  • God is “abundant in goodness”—ultro bonus, as the Latin speaking theologians long ago used to put it, spontaneously good, overflowing with generosity. Theologians of the Reformed school use the New Testament word grace (free favor) to cover every act of divine generosity, of whatever kind, and hence distinguish between the common grace of “creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life,” and the special grace manifested in the economy of salvation—the point of the contrast between common and special being that all benefit from the former, but not all are touched by the latter. The biblical way of putting this distinction would be to say that God is good to all in some ways and to some in all ways.
  • From The Attributes of God, (The Goodness of God) by A. W. Pink:
    Gratitude is the return justly required from the objects of His beneficence; yet is it often withheld from our great Benefactor simply because His goodness is so constant and so abundant. It is lightly esteemed because it is exercised toward us in the common course of events. It is not felt because we daily experience it. “Despisest thou the riches of His goodness?” (Rom. 2:4). His goodness is “despised” when it is not improved as a means to lead men to repentance, but, on the contrary, serves to harden them from the supposition that God entirely overlooks their sin.

Learn more:

  1. Bob Deffinbaugh: The Goodness of God
  2. John Gill: Of the Goodness of God
  3. S. Lewis Johnson: The Goodness of God and the Existence of Evil (transcript and mp3)
  4. From my attributes of God posts: God’s Goodness

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.

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