if i had only one chance to describe Him, Jesus, the Lord of all Creation, just one sentence to introduce Him to someone who had no idea of who He is, here is what i would say: “He is Good.” that is it.
that may seem like the greatest understatement ever, but by “Good,” I don’t mean good as in a little less than great, and a little better than bad. i mean Good in the sense of in Him, there is no evil. and that concept, when you really consider it, is completely unfathomable to us. why? because we have no one (apart from Him) who we can say that of.
even our best friends, our spouse, our parents, those we love and who love us most have let us down, have wronged us, have directly caused pain in our lives at least once, but more likely many times. i’d like to think i am a pretty decent guy, one who cares for and cherishes my wife, one who prays for my friends and lends a listening ear when it’s needed, one who deeply loves my family and who would do anything to show them that, but i am not Good in the sense that He is.
how could a Good God forgive me…
often times i struggle with the fact that He could love someone like me, someone who has deliberately turned from Him time after time. i know i’ve broken His perfect law, and i am well aware of the penalty i deserve. so how in the world could He forgive someone like that?
for example, a judge who forgave someone who had broken the law time and time again would not be considered good. no, he would be considered a terrible judge. imagine the anger you would have toward a judge who let the thief, the rapist or the murderer go free, particularly if the victim was someone whom you loved? such a judge would lose his seat as judge, and rightly so.
i’ve heard people say that they will go to Heaven because God loves them, and He would never want them to go to hell. True, He does love us. He loves us because we are His creation, not because of anything we’ve done. but a judge who said, “well, i know you’ve broken the law and all, but i love you, so i am going to let you go free,” would not be a good judge. he would be not be impartial. he would not be just. and the God of all creation is an impartial and just Judge. the penalty must be paid.
not fair, but Good
so then, how can we possibly apply that title to Him, the perfect and righteous judge over all creation? how can we say He is Good when His word tells us that sinners will go free, that they will receive the Kingdom of God? we can say that not because He simply let the sinners go free and forgot about His law, but because He provided a way for sinners to be judged righteous, without overlooking His law.
it may not be a perfect analogy, but here’s how i look at it.
i picture myself standing in a courtroom. and as i stand before the throne of The all-perfect Judge, knowing the verdict that is to come, knowing that i had broken the law and now deserved the penalty of my sin, the doors in the back of the courtroom fling open and in walks One dressed in all white. and somehow i know that this man is blameless; He has no debt to pay this Judge. He is the picture of perfection. He brushes by me as i stand there shackled in handcuffs and approaches the Judge. after a few minutes of speaking to the Judge, quietly, so as no one else would hear, the Judge’s gavel raps and the blameless One is put into handcuffs and led out of the room to face the penalty, my penalty. this all happens so quickly, and i simply watch in bewilderment as He is led away, handcuffed like a criminal.
as my handcuffs are removed and i am led out of the courtroom, i soon realize what had happened. the Judge had not dismissed the law; the penalty had in fact been paid. His perfect judgment was intact, yet i was now free from the penalty of my sin. and just as i come to this conclusion, the conclusion that this perfect One would soon be paying with His life for the penalty of my sins, i look over to the court clerk who had led me out and say, “but that’s not fair!” and he simply responds, “no, it is no fair. but He is Good.”
He is Good. we worship a Good God, and there is comfort in that.