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How Would You Define The Word 'Good?'

Hear the Word of the Lord: "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched where ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'" Mark 9:43-44 Some say "a good God" would not send anyone to hell. Those who say that are putting themselves in the place of God, because to say God would not send someone to hell IF he's a good God, implies that if he DOES send someone to hell then he's a bad God. Who is authorized to make such a judgment? Indeed, if there IS a hell, then those who say there isn't - are declaring that God is not good. Why do people say things like this? It's because they have a faulty image of God. They have an image in their minds of some kind of Santa Claus who only exists to grant wishes and give help when needed. Is that an even remotely correct picture of God? And of course, the answer is a resounding "NO." Look at the lives of the disciples who followed him. The sufferings they endured were horrendous, and most of them ended up martyred. Was it a "bad" God who allowed that? One of the greatest men of all times was the apostle Paul, whose writings make up a major portion of our New Testament. Take a look at 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 where he lists the things that happened to him as he brought the Gospel to a lost and dying world. "From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness, besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches." And in the end he was martyred. These are the things that his "good" God allowed him to experience. God identifies himself as being "good," and he is not defined by our definition of goodness. His wisdom is far above ours, and it behooves us to read what he has to say and make no judgments about it, because we are not qualified to judge the Word of God. He is God. We are not. We are born into a fallen human nature and are all sinners, every single one of us. Sin disqualifies us from entering heaven, and sin demands justice be meted out upon it. But God, who is truly good, gave his own Son to take upon himself the judgment due upon US for our sins. He hung on that cross, tortured and died - in our place, taking in himself the judgment due US. And in that sacrificial death, believers are forgiven because the judgment due us has been met - BY HIM. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 Jesus might have said that God was not "good," because look what Jesus suffered. But God was good in allowing that sacrificial death grant us eternal life, we who could not have attained it any other way.

Friends, we do not judge the goodness of God by what suffering there is or isn't in the world. Satan is "the god of this world" (2nd Corinthians 4:4) and we have been born into his kingdom. That is why Jesus said we must be born again (John 3:5-7).

We know God is good because he SAID he is good ...according to HIS definition of good, not ours. It is therefore incumbent upon us to seek to know his ways and follow his directions. Those who do will have an eternity of love, joy, and peace. But those who refuse or ignore him ...will end up in hell, not because God is not good, but because they refused or ignored the One he sent to take their place on an old wooden cross on a hill in Jerusalem, he who gave his life in order to give us life for all eternity. And that is goodness ...personified.


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