The Standard for Goodness

Yep, still working my way through Health Lambert’s A Theology of Biblical Counseling: The Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry; and I’m learning a great deal. His title is both accurate and appropriate—with each turn of the page, foundational truths are being presented that directly correlate to how we can help ourselves and others.

Take, as an example, his writing on the goodness of God. Dr. Lambert states:1

People who experience harsh treatment over time can lose their perspective on justice and injustice, right and wrong, cruelty and kindness. Clarity about what is good comes only when we focus counseling on the God who sets the standard for goodness.

So what does it mean for God to be “good”? What does His standard look like?

God’s goodness means that everything God is and does is the standard in the universe for what is best. Wayne Grudem says, “God’s being and actions are perfectly worthy of His own approval.”

cover85287-mediumGod’s character and behavior do not need to conform to any external standard of good in the universe to be approved. If it did, that thing would be the standard of good in the universe… Psalm 119:68 says, “You [God] are good and do good.” What God does is good because He is good. The character of God serves as the standard for good.

As sinful people, we get so confused about this. We often think we should be the standard for goodness. We think that sexual behavior that meets with our approval is good. We think our great ideas about how to treat others are good.

The Bible teaches, human history illustrates, and our sinful lives prove that there is no good without God. Everything else might look good, but it ultimately fails to satisfy.

Heath Lambert reminds us that we must look to the Bible to find the standard for goodness.

The Bible teaches us that something is good when it conforms to God.

He’s right. James the Just echoes this, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (1:17). Let us introduce others to a new standard of goodness. A higher standard. The Standard. God is good; and there is no one like Him. He is the standard for our goodness.


 Lambert, Heath. A Theology of Biblical Counseling: The Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016). 128-29.