Q. 1. What is the goodness of God?
A. It is that essential property of his nature by which He is infinitely good in Himself; and the author and fountain of all good to others (Psalm 119:68).
Q. 2. How may the goodness of God be distinguished?
A. Into His absolute and relative goodness.
Q. 3. What is his absolute goodness?
A. It is the essential goodness of His nature without considering it in relation to the creatures, Matt. 19:17 “There is none good but one, that is, God.”
Q. 4. What is his relative goodness?
A. It is the relation that His goodness bears to the creatures, both in the propensity of His nature to do them good (Ex. 33:19) and in the actual manifestation and communication of the blessings of His bounty to them in creation, providence, and redemption (Ex. 34:6, 7).
Q. 5. How is the goodness of God manifested in the work of creation in general?
A. In giving being to His creatures when He stood in no need of them, being infinitely happy in Himself, though no creature had ever been made (Psalm 16:2), and in making all things very good (Gen. 1:31).
Q. 6. How is the goodness of God displayed in the creation of man in particular?
A. In making him after His own image, furnishing the world with such a variety of creatures for his use, giving him dominion over them (Gen. 1:27, 28), and in entering into covenant with him (Gen. 2:16, 17).
Q. 7. How is the goodness of God manifested in his providence?
A. In preserving His creatures and making bountiful provision for them (Psalm 145:9, 15, 16).
Q. 8. How is this goodness distinguished?
A. Into common and special goodness.
Q. 9. What is His common goodness?
A. His dispensing the good things of this life, promiscuously among his creatures, Matt. 5:45 “He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Q. 10. Is God good even to the wicked who are His enemies?
A. Yes, for He not only provides for them, “filling their hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17), but exercises long-suffering patience towards them (Neh. 9:17), and affords such of them as are within the visible church the means of salvation (Acts 13:26).
Q. 11. What is the special goodness of God?
A. It is His distinguishing love to a certain number of mankind lost, manifested in their redemption through Christ (Rev. 5:9).
Q. 12. In what does the goodness of God appear in the work of redemption?
A. Both in the contrivance and execution of it.
Q. 13. How does the goodness of God appear in the contrivance of redemption?
A. In remembering us in our low state (Psalm 136:23), laying our help on His own Son, the mighty One (Psalm 89:19), and in setting him up as a new covenant head from everlasting (Prov. 8:23).
Q. 14. How does it appear in the execution of our redemption?
A. In sending His Son to assume our nature and thus to fulfill all righteousness for us (John 3:16, Jer. 23:6) and on the foundation of that righteousness, giving us grace and glory, and every good thing, from a cup of cold water, to a seat with him on His throne (Psalm 84:11; Rev. 3:21).
Q. 15. What are the streams in which the special goodness of God flows out?
A. In the streams of love, grace, and mercy, according to His name, Ex. 34:6 “the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious,” etc.
Q. 16. What is the difference between the love, grace, and mercy of God?
A. They are much the same, only love considers the sinner simply as God’s creature; grace views him as ill-deserving; and mercy, through a satisfaction, respects him as in misery.
Q. 17. Who are the objects of God’s special goodness?
A. His chosen ones, Psalm 106:4, 5 “Oh visit me with thy salvation, that I may see the good of thy chosen.”
Q. 18. Can this special goodness of God be expressed in words?
A. No; for “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,” (1Cor. 2:9). and Psalm 31:19 “Oh! how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee.”
Q. 19. Where is this goodness of God laid up?
A. It is laid up in Christ who has received the gifts of God’s goodness for men, Psalm 68:18 “When he ascended up on high, He gave gifts unto men,” (Eph. 4:8) and therefore God has made Him most blessed for ever (Psalm 21:6).
Q. 20. How is this goodness laid out and brought near to us?
A. It is laid out in the exceeding great and precious promises (2 Pet. 1:4) and brought near in the full, free, and unhampered offer of the gospel (Mark 16:15).
Q. 21. How are we savingly interested in all this goodness?
A. By faith receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation, as He is freely offered in the gospel (John 1:12; 1Cor. 3:22, 23).
Q. 22. What are the properties of this goodness?
A. It is seasonable goodness (Heb. 4:16); it is soul-satisfying (Psalm 107:9); and it is immutable and everlasting (Psalm 52:1).
Q. 23. What improvement ought we to make of the goodness of God?
A. We ought to “praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men,” (Psalm 107:8), to be influenced to repentance from the consideration of his goodness (Rom. 2:4), and to imitate God in it (Heb. 13:16).