By: Gary L. Hutchens
God is good! One day, I received an email that included the statement, “God is good, all of the time.” That statement was more significant in that the email gave a report of a family member of the sender who had been diagnosed with cancer. The truth is, God is good all of the time! Even when things seem to be going badly for us, God is still good. Even when we pray to God for deliverance from a difficult situation, and His answer is “No” or “Wait awhile,” God is still good.
The very existence of good in the world is due to the existence of God. James writes, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” (Jas. 1:17). One might ponder as to whether any goodness could exist without God. The more fundamental question might have to do with how could goodness be defined without God. How could one go about designating something to be good without a basic, universal standard that identifies what goodness is? That standard is God!
Everybody has their own ideas as to what is good. But those are subjective interpretations based on individual preferences. What one person considers to be good, another person might consider to be absolutely awful, based on his personal, subjective interpretations of what is good. An action or behavior that severely impacts one person’s conscience might seem perfectly normal to another person, based on his personal, subjective standards. But following God’s teachings establishes a universal standard and eliminates the chaos that naturally results from not having a true standard.
The obvious other side of the ledger has to do with evil. If there is no standard for good, then neither is there a standard for evil! Determining the one is crucial to being able to identify the other. If goodness is purely subjective, based on individual preference, then evil is equally subjective. What one person considers evil another person might consider good. Without God’s standard, there is basically no difference between good and evil!
The apostle Paul wrote of a place that is completely devoid of “the presence of the Lord and…the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:9). That place is Hell. What better description could be given of Hell than its being a place totally absent of God’s presence? What better reason could be given for Hell being Hell than the fact that God is not there? Remove God from the scene totally, and Hell is the result!
The apostle John wrote of a place where “there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie.” (Rev. 21:27). That place is Heaven. There is no need for the sun or moon to shine on that city, for the glorious presence of God and Christ illuminate it (Rev. 21:23). Note the contrast. Hell, absent of God’s presence, is a place of outer darkness (Matt. 25:30).
These descriptions of Hell ought to impress us with the importance of walking with God daily. If we want to be a good person, we need to walk with God. If we want a good life, the best that life has to offer, we need to walk with God. Parents say they want the best for their children. If so, they need to lead and teach their children to walk with God because, bottom line, God is good…
Gary L. Hutchens