The goodness of God is the only valid reason for existence, the only reason underlying all things. Do you imagine that you deserve to be born, that you deserve to be alive? The unbelieving poet Omar Khayyám said,
Into this universe and why, not knowing nor whence, like water willy-nilly flowing, and out of it like wind along the waste, whither I know not, willy-nilly blowing.
And then He charged God with it all and said, “For all that I’ve done that’s wrong, O God, forgive and take my forgiveness.” He thought God owed him something. But remember that you can answer every question with this expression: “God of His goodness willed it. God out of His kindness willed it.” Why were we created? Was it that we deserved to be created? How can nothing deserve something? There was a time when there was no human race. How therefore could a human race that hadn’t existed deserve something? How could a man that wasn’t yet created earn anything or pile up any merit? It couldn’t be so. God out of His goodness created us. Why were we not destroyed when we sinned? The only answer is that God of His goodness spared us. The cordial, kind-intentioned God spared us.
Why would God the Eternal Son bleed for us? The answer is, out of His goodness and lovingkindness. “Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalm 36:7). Why would God forgive me when I’ve sinned and then forgive me again and again? Because God out of His goodness acts according to that goodness and does what His loving heart dictates that He do. Why does God answer prayer? Let’s not imagine that it’s because somebody was good. We Protestants think we don’t believe in saints, but we do. We canonize them: we have Saint George Mueller, Saint C.H. Spurgeon, Saint D.L. Moody and Saint A. B. Simpson. We get the idea that God answered prayer for them because they were really good. They would deny that fervently if they were here. Nobody ever got anything from God on the grounds that he deserved it. Having fallen, man deserves only punishment and death. So if God answers prayer it’s because God is good.
From His goodness, His lovingkindness, His good-natured benevolence, God does it! That’s the source of everything. These are the only grounds upon which anybody has ever been saved since the beginning of the world. There is an idea abroad that in the Old Testament men were saved by law and that in the New Testament we are saved by grace. The second is right, but the first is wrong. Nobody has ever been saved, from the day that Abel offered his bloody lamb on a homemade altar, down to the latest convert made today, except out of the goodness of God. Because of God’s grace, His mercy, His lovingkindness, His goodness and graciousness, His cordiality and approachability, He kindly saved people. We’ve taken the word “grace” and made a technical term out of it.
The people in the Old Testament were not saved by keeping anything, because we deserved hell, and if God had acted according to justice alone, He simply would have pulled the stopper out and flushed us all down to hell and been done with it. But God out of His lovingkindness graciously forgave those who would come according to the conditions God laid down. Everybody is saved by grace. Abel was saved by grace. Noah was saved by grace—”Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). So was Moses and all the rest down to the coming of Jesus and His dying on the cross. All were saved by grace out of the goodness of God. And everybody’s been saved by grace out of the goodness of God ever since.