God sets the standard for goodness


How do we determine what is “good” and what isn’t “good”? What is the standard for “goodness”?  In Matthew 19:16-17 we read of the story of the Rich Young Ruler. The Rich Young Ruler had everything money could buy … he was living the “good” life. One day he comes to Jesus and asked Him:

“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

Jesus wants to teach him the standard for “good” and He replies:

“Why do you ask me about what is good? “There is only One who is good.”

The Rich Young Ruler didn’t know what “good” was. He thought it consisted of “good things”, “good circumstances”, “good feelings”. His standard for what was “good” was based on the wrong source. Unfortunately many people fall into this category.

God sets the standard for goodness

Anything that is good comes from God. If it’s not from God, it isn’t good. If something isn’t good, it didn’t come from God. It doesn’t matter how good it looks, how good it feels, how good it tastes, if it doesn’t come from God, it isn’t good and if it isn’t good, it didn’t come from God.

Let me give you an example: Peas don’t come from God but chocolate does! There will be no peas in Heaven! Adam and Eve had no peas in the Garden of Eden.  Peas came after the fall of man – a result of the curse upon the earth! Peas will be the main course in Hell.  Heaven will be full of chocolate. I’m being facetious, of course because I don’t like peas and I love chocolate!

The truth is (as much as I hate to admit it) peas are good for me. They even teach us a spiritual lesson here: Goodness is not determined by experience but by its source.  I’ve had a bad experience with peas but that doesn’t determine whether peas are good or bad. Goodness is determined by its source not by experience.

Chocolate tastes good, it makes me feel good, it makes me happy but chocolate isn’t good for me (at least not in the proportions I eat it!). Experience is not the standard for goodness. James 1:17 says:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Every good thing has God as its source. God only produces that which is good. We might use it for a bad purpose but goodness is determined by its source, not by experience!


This is part 2 of 4 in a series of posts on how God is good.  You can read the rest here:

1.  God is good.
2.  God sets the standard for goodness.
3.  God can turn badness into goodness.
4.  How can we make God’s goodness real in our life?

Make sure to come back and check out the rest of the posts!

Categories: Christian living

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