St. Sava Orthodox Church

Leavetaking of the Dormition: Is God Really Good?

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Scripture Readings

Philippians 2:5-11

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28

Matthew 19:16-26

Have you ever wanted to get on a special ride or roller coaster at the State Fair or an amusement park? If you are short, chances are the people who operate the ride measured you with a measuring stick to see if you were big enough to get on the ride. If you were tall enough, they let you get on the ride. If you were too short, they turned you away. We human beings measure a lot of things like this. Unfortunately, one such thing we measure like this is the question: “Is God really good?”

From the beginning of the human race, people have asked the question: “Is God good?” The answers people have given to this question have come from using a list of qualities we call “good” as a measuring stick. But what is good? How do we know that something is good? Is it because it makes us feel good? If that’s the case, then eating candy for every meal would be good. Clearly, there is something else that determines if something is “good” apart from the way something makes us feel.

When our Lord Jesus Christ tells the young rich man, “No one is good but One, that is, God,” He lets him know that “goodness” is not a list of qualities that God happens to meet, like the measuring stick for the roller coaster. God is what it means to be good. God is good. A person is said to be good only to the degree that he is like God.

When we did not exist, God created us out of nothing. And He didn’t create us to be His slaves but to be His friends—to have a life of love and partnership with Him. When we turned away from Him, refusing His offer, He did not abandon us nor destroy us. He called out to us, making a way for us to return to Him. He gave us His Law and sent us prophets urging us to turn away from our destructive ways and to turn to Him, the only One Who loves us absolutely. And if all of this were not enough, He came to us in the flesh, born of the Ever-Virgin Mary to complete the work He started in us ages and ages ago. We would not reach up to Him, so He came down to us, being tempted as we are tempted, only being without sin. He Who is God before the ages suffered as all humans suffer hunger, thirst, fatigue, the sadness that comes from loss. He died not from old age, but an unjust and untimely death. A terrible death. Entering death, He destroyed it utterly, defeating the devil, who held us as prisoners from the beginning. He set us poor prisoners free and made death temporary by His glorious Resurrection. He did all of this not just for those who believed in Him, although most of them abandoned Him during His suffering, but He did it for those who hated Him and for all people in all ages.

Is God good? Yes. He is what it means to be good. As a loving father, He is patient and merciful with us, even when we don’t deserve it.


  1. Name three ways God has shown that He is good to you.
  2. How can we say if something is good or not?
  3. If God is good, then how should we live our lives?