January 08, 2016

God Alone Is Good

Mark 10:17-27

No one is good—except God alone.

—  Mark 10:18

When our children were small, we taught them a simple prayer to say before meals: “God is great. God is good. Now we thank him for our food. By his hand we all are fed. Give us this day our daily bread.” Early in life it’s valuable to learn about God’s goodness. 

As a boy, I loved the story of Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Heidi was an orphan who lived with her embittered grandfather, a hermit, high in the Alps. The Alm-Uncle, he was called. He avoided everyone, and everyone avoided him. But Heidi’s gentle goodness changed the Alm-Uncle, and he learned to put his bitter past behind him.

Growing up, I found that I was a mixture of both good and bad, as we all are. As Paul says, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18). I tried to be good, but sometimes I was untruthful, rebellious, disobedient, self-centered, lustful, and lazy.

When I came to know that God is totally good—unmixed with evil—and that through Christ I could be forgiven and live a life of peace with the great and good God, my heart overflowed with joy. 

It’s important for each of us to acknowledge the evil in our lives. But it’s equally important to know that God forgives our evil tendencies and restores us to himself through faith in Jesus Christ. Have you experienced that forgiveness?

How good it is, O God, that you are purely good, that in you there is no evil. How happy we are to rest in your forgiveness and to find peace with you. Thank you. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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