What is Good?
Christ’s death and resurrection demands change at the innermost, conflictory aspects of our souls. At the Ridgeview Conference for Global Missions, a woman named AN* described her life’s story in light of God’s convictions and holiness through Scripture. She described her need for a savior after her empty and meaningless pursuit of Buddhism. She said she desired a personable, accessible, and relevant God. She discussed how the Lord used fellow believers to encourage her towards Christ’s saving works on the cross. AN explained her experience of undergoing the devastating diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). Throughout her battle with TB, she stated she had experienced the significance of Romans 8:28 to an incredible degree.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
As I was reflecting on her story, I was struck by her discussion of suffering working out for good. Humanity’s perception of goodness is often misaligned with what the Bible reveals as good. Through life’s experiences, at some point, we come up with the characteristics of goodness whether we realize it or not. We determine that certain things are ideal and acceptable as others are unfavorable and negative. Our lives are defined by crucial events that shape and mold our worldview. For AN, her suffering gave opportunity for growth in Christ. It gave way to the eternal change of salvation. Most of the global population would deem AN’s TB diagnosis as a negative or unfavorable aspect of life. But for AN, the outcome of her challenging experience was good.
When we believe that the Bible is true, relevant, sufficient, and inerrant, we proclaim that God is good. We proclaim that the things he sets before us on this earth have purpose and reason. We trust that he is in control and holding us in our sorrow. We believe that God is the very definition of goodness.
Another passage that was heavily discussed involved Romans 10:13-15.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” – Romans 10:13-15
AN called on the name of the Lord. She was saved. AN believed that Jesus Christ died and rose again for the reconciliation of her sin. She was able to believe in Christ because of what she had heard. AN heard of this saving grace because someone preached to her. These individuals and vessels of truth were sent to reach AN. At the heart of this Biblical process, AN heard and believed the good news.
I ask you, what defines goodness?
In Titus 3:3-5, it is stated that “when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us…” Because God is good, sending his Son to die, for our sake, became his outpouring action of goodness. God, in Christ, bringing us from death to life is the good news.
*As she often does ministry in closed countries, we have withheld AN’s real name.