We have been looking at the attributes of God, which are the qualities that describe God. We have seen that these attributes can be classified as "incommunicable" (attributes which cannot be shared with the creature) and "communicable" (attributes which can in some measure be shared with those whom God renews after His own glorious image in Jesus Christ).
We have seen that God is perfectly holy, righteous and wise.
The other three communicable attributes can be classified under God’s goodness, which is His ethical goodness or benevolence. They are God’s most beautiful attributes for the believer in Jesus Christ, His love, mercy and grace.
Grace is God’s beauty or pleasantness: “Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2). As the infinitely beautiful God, God delights in Himself. When God shows His creatures grace, He shows them favour, and when He shows sinners favour, He shows them unmerited or undeserved favour. Grace is a beautiful attitude of favour to guilty sinners. No wonder Christians celebrate it! “By the grace of God I am what I am” (I Corinthians 15:10).
Mercy is God’s blessedness, according to which God is and wills Himself to be the blessed God. When God shows mercy to the creature, He shows pity or compassion out of the tender affection of his heart to those who are miserable. “The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).
Love is perhaps God’s most celebrated attribute, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God’s love is an ardent affection or deep delight—which He has first of all for Himself. God’s love is His determination to do good to the object of His love—first of all to Himself. God’s love is the seeking and forming a bond with the object of His love—first of all with Himself.
Does this make God self-centered or selfish? Not at all—as we shall see, God is not one person, but a plurality of loving persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we understand that, we will better understand how God loves Himself. Besides that, who is more glorious and worthy of love than God Himself? Since God is the implication of all perfections, it is perfectly natural that He loves Himself.
The wonder is not that God loves Himself, but that He loves His own people. He loves His own people, mind you, who are sinners, and who, therefore, are utterly unworthy of His love. Paul writes of this in Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth (demonstrates) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us."
Praise God that His goodness—His grace, mercy and love—does not remain within Himself! He shows His goodness to His people in Jesus Christ, and the greatest display of His grace, mercy and love is in the cross of Christ.
Do you know the goodness of God in Jesus Christ?
Repent of your sins, and believe in Jesus Christ, and you will!