Do you remember a moment, maybe in your childhood, when you felt really good because of something good you had done? Maybe an adult told you how good you were, or maybe you felt an intrinsic sense of goodness about something you said or did.
I remember the first time I experienced this feeling. My first-grade teacher told me I had made a good choice to follow directions when it had been tempting not to. She handed me a piece of candy and thanked me for being good and obedient. I felt absolutely elated and didn’t stop smiling the whole week! It wasn’t really about being rewarded with the candy or by another person; the knowledge that I was good gave me this unexplainable feeling. Whether she knew it or not, that teacher was showing me something about my true identity as God’s “very good” creation (see Genesis 1:31). After that, even if I slipped up, I felt motivated to express this sense of goodness every day.
Now, I’m not referring to the goodness that was or is personal to me or anyone else. Jesus rebuked that thought of personal goodness. When a certain ruler referred to him as “Good Master,” he replied, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:17, 18). And in Isaiah, referring to His servants, God says, “Their righteousness is of me” (Isaiah 54:17). So the goodness I’m talking about is God’s own goodness reflected in His entire creation.