Christians know that God is good. They also know that he is glorious. Perhaps it is also true that the glory of glories is God’s goodness revealed in His gift of repentance.
In Romans 3:10-12, we read: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
This does not mean that no one does anything good, but that if good is done – prior to regeneration – it is done not for God but for man.
What about these words of the Lord Jesus? ‘A certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God (Luke 18:18-19; Mark 10:18).”
The Unitarian will argue that the above verses prove that Jesus is distinguishing between himself, a mere human being, and God. Granted that these verses in isolation from the rest of scripture (for example, John 5:21; 5:22; 5:23; 20:28) do imply this distinction. When, however, taken in the context of other parts of scripture (see above references), what the Lord Jesus is doing is challenging the ruler’s “fallen” view of goodness and pointing his eyes toward God, who is the only one who is ultimately (in the final analysis) good. And only when the ruler understands what it means to call God good, will he have any understanding of God’s glory.
When would the ruler understand what it means to call God good? When he repents. And only then will he begin to understand God’s glory. God’s glory manifests itself most in His goodness. What is the kindest thing that God can do to undo the effects of the “Fall?” In other words, what is the unique divine act that reconciles God to man? It is the divine unilateral act of regeneration, that is, raising the sinner from death to life and granting faith and its accompanying gift of repentance.
“Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? 18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” (Acts 11:16-18).
Did you not know that “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4b). How can you know this unless God raises you from the dead? The sinner’s new life begins at the foot of the savage salvific cross. Here is John Cumming:
“Lord, show me not my fame, my destiny, nor even my name in the Lamb’s book of life; but show me thy glory, let me see it as it shines in the firmament when the heavens are telling, and all the stars are the syllables that compose it; let me see that glory on earth ; in the quiet beauty of morn, in the meridian strength of noon, in the matron dignity and soft shades of evening, let me see thy glory. Let me see it in providence, overruling its most complicated events, to beneficent and glorious issues.”
And God saw that it was very good.
“But above all, continues Cumming, show me thy Glory, where that glory is concentrated as in the brightest and most refulgent mirror, in Christ crucified, in whom alone I trust, and who is ” the brightness of thy glory, and the express image of thy person.”
God’s beautiful creation is indeed glorious, but nothing compared to his recreation – of the sinner, which begins at Calvary. Where does understanding begin of the glory of Christ crucified? Here is Cumming again:
“…that when God is seen to be most good to his creatures, he is then seen to be most glorious in the universe; that the glory and the goodness of God are so connected together that where the one is most revealed, the other shines in its richest splendor. Not power in creating, not justice in punishing, but goodness in saving, sets forth most the glory of God. Creation is the mirror of his power; Sinai is the pedestal of his justice; but Calvary is the scene of his goodness, and therefore of his great glory.” (John Cumming 1854. Sabbath Morning: readings on the Old Testament, John Cumming, 1854, CHAPTER XXXIV – free ebook).
And God saw that it was very very good.