“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act
justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
In an era marked by social divisions, hatred, and cruelty, the herald of the goodness of God is
paramount. Even when religious institutions that should be guardians of kindness and mercy
fester deep schisms and conflict, there is a need for a higher good to embark on our darkness-
The Holy Scripture anchors goodness in the heart of God – constantly beating through His
people to save and help humanity which is not just about actions but also intimate relationships.
It is a loving goodness rooted in the redeeming and restoring works of Christ Jesus that spills
over to touch every human connection and compel us to do good.
This brief commentary is an attempt to unravel the true essence of ‘goodness’ and underscore
its centrality in reflecting God’s heart and furthering His purpose on earth.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good…”
The word “טֹוב” (tov) in Hebrew, when applied to goodness as depicted in Micah, goes beyond
the simple understanding of good vs. wrong. It encompasses moral excellence but also touches
upon the ideas of completeness, wholesomeness, and dynamic functionality. Genesis 1:31
mentions, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good (tov).” Here, “goodness”
captures the perfection and completeness of God’s creation.
This text reminds us that God’s goodness serves as a blueprint for a life that isn’t merely
morally upright but also rich and fulfilling. It’s a life in sync with His divine nature and intentions.
In other words, to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” is not just a directive
for behavior but an embodiment of God’s declaration of who we are. It is an expression of a
holistic and blessed life.
Experiencing the Goodness of God
God’s Goodness, Our
King David, in Psalm 100:5 sings: – “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His
truth endures to all generations.” This verse unequivocally declares God’s goodness as an
intrinsic part of His nature.
Building upon this foundational truth, the Bible not only reveals God as the epitome of
goodness but also extends an invitation for us to experience and partake in this divine
goodness as the Psalmist in Psalm 34:8 urges- “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is
the one who takes refuge in him.”
This metaphorical call to “taste and see” urges believers to encounter the Lord’s goodness
personally. It’s an open invitation, implying that God’s goodness isn’t a distant concept but is
accessible and tangible to all who seek Him.
The Apostle James amplifies the truth that every fragment of goodness we witness or
experience in this world originates in God. He stated: – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is
from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17)
His goodness permeates every facet of our lives, manifesting as blessings, gifts, and grace.
This verse reinforces that God isn’t just inherently good; He actively bestows His goodness
The Bible doesn’t just describe God as good; it paints a picture of a benevolent Father who
desires to share His boundless love and grace with His children. His invitation is transparent
and open, beckoning us to immerse ourselves, finding refuge, blessings, and the perfect gifts
Goodness in Action
Micah 6:8-9 illuminates God’s heart and desire for humanity to reflect His goodness through
justice, mercy, and humility. These aren’t just moral guidelines; they’re intrinsic to God’s grand
purpose of restoring relationships and sowing harmonious co-existence among people. By
heeding this divine directive, we align ourselves with God’s vital mission in the world, becoming
witnesses of reconciliation and unity.
Scripturally, doing justice implies more than just fulfilling legal obligations. It refers to living out
inner convictions in a righteous way within the society, where everyone, especially the
vulnerable, is treated fairly and equitably.
Justification as it is expressed in the new covenant through Jesus christ’s works of atonement
isn’t merely a legal term or a spiritual acquittal but a transformative reality. Because of Christ’s
redemptive work on the cross, believers were made right with God, not based on their merit but
purely by placing faith in Jesus. The apostle Paul, in his letters to the early Christian
communities, elaborated on this profound idea. He proclaimed, “For we maintain that a person
is justified by faith apart from the works of the law” (Romans 3:28).
While believers were made right with God through faith, this new status ignited a newfound
purpose. The grace that justified them now propelled them into a life of action, echoing the
Prophet Micah’s call for justice.
Being justified, believers are now free from the shackles of trying to earn God’s favor. Liberated
from this burden, they are empowered to lead lives reflecting God’s heart for justice. The same
faith that justified them is the very force driving them to “do good” in their communities and
beyond. Justification, then, isn’t a passive doctrine; it is an active invitation to mirror the
goodness and justice of God’s kingdom here on earth.
The Apostle James emphasized this interplay between faith and works. “What good is it, my
brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save
them?” (James 2:14). While salvation is undeniably through faith, the evidence of such a
transformative faith is visible through deeds, especially works of justice.
Justice is propelled by mercy, representing deep love that works through unfailing kindness.
The Hebrew “ֶחֶ סד ” (chesed) encapsulated a steadfast love, transcending mere compassion.
This kind of mercy is loyal, genuine, and unwavering.
Mercy remains a central theme in the New Testament. Jesus’ ministry was marked by acts of
mercy, from healing the sick to forgiving sinners. The Beatitudes proclaim, “Blessed are the
merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
Jesus epitomized mercy, most notably through His sacrificial death on the cross, a direct act of
mercy to reconcile humanity with God (Romans 5:8).
The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) illustrates God’s boundless mercy towards
repentant sinners. The father’s unconditional acceptance of the wayward son symbolizes God’s
merciful embrace. Weary, broken, and expecting nothing more than a servant’s position, the
prodigal son decides to come back home. What awaited him was beyond his wildest
expectations: a father who seeing him from a distance, runs (an undignified act for a man of his
stature in that culture) to embrace and restore him. The son, deserving of reprimand and
punishment, was granted a robe, a ring, and a festive banquet. This is where received mercy
meets shared responsibility. The forgiven son now asks to be seen as one of the servants, a
humble status that reflects a deep sense of gratitude. He desired to honor his father’s love by
serving others. St Paul writes, “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we
do not lose heart,” referring to the ministry of the new covenant, the gospel of Jesus Christ (2
Corinthians 4:1). For him God’s mercy is not just a passive attribute or a one-time experience;
it’s an active, sustaining force that propels the believer to continue in their God-given mission,
as the love of God compels them.
Walk Humbly With God
Works of justice and mercy stem from having a humble fellowship with God by walking with
Him, recognizing our absolute dependence on Him, and continuously learning from Him.
The emphasis on “walking” with God bears a meaning that calls for more than random mobility;
signifying a way of life and a consistent journey in alignment with God’s character and will. It is
about making an intentional move into a close relationship with God and reaching out to others
with love and diligence.
In the new covenant, the notion of “walking” takes on a new dimension. Jesus, emerging on the
scene, beckons with a simple yet profound invitation: “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19). To follow
Jesus is not merely to believe in a set of doctrines but to embark on a transformative journey.
Paul amplifies this in Colossians 2:6: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,
continue to live your lives in him.” It’s a walk of faith, grounded in the redemptive work of Christ
and directed towards God’s grand purpose: to share His love with the world.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ was a transformative moment in human history, infusing our
relationship with God with newfound vitality and purpose. With Christ’s victory over death,
believers are indwelt by the risen Lord Himself. This living presence gives us a dynamic and
palpable energy that compels us to live and move for His glory. The resurrection became an
active, ongoing reality that energizes our daily walk with God.
Jesus commissioned his disciples before ascending to heaven: “Go into all the world and
preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). This call was about extending the
transformative power of the resurrection to every corner of the world. The apostle Paul captures
this sentiment in 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in
Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him
everywhere.” For believers, then, every step, every word, and every action becomes an
opportunity to radiate the life-giving aroma of the resurrected Christ, revealing God’s love and
power to a world in need.
Walking with God today might look like defending the voiceless, mentoring a younger individual,
sharing the Gospel with a neighbor, or sacrificing personal comfort for a higher Kingdom cause.
It’s a dynamic, daily journey of tuning into God’s voice amidst the din of modern life and
adjusting our steps to His lead.
The Good Lord in Us
The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) resonates across generations and
cultures. The injured man by the road, left for dead by bandits, can be seen as a representation
of humanity—bruised, broken, and in desperate need of salvation. The priest and the Levite,
despite their religious standings, bypass the endangered man, a stark reminder that religious
rituals and titles, devoid of genuine compassion, fall short of God’s desire for humanity.
The Samaritan, despised and considered an outsider, he embodies love and mercy. In much
the same way, Jesus, often rejected by His own, emerges as the unexpected savior, providing
healing and restoration. Just as the Samaritan spared no expense for the man’s recovery,
Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross, ensuring our complete repair.
This parable, in essence, paints Jesus as the true Good Samaritan, the perfect neighbor who
not only cares for the afflicted but redeems them entirely. Furthermore, this parable doesn’t
merely highlight Jesus’s role as the savior; it also calls believers into action. As recipients of
Christ’s unparalleled love and mercy, we are empowered and commissioned to be ‘good
Messengers’ in our world. Jesus, by His life and teachings, enables us to transcend societal,
racial, and religious boundaries to display genuine love and compassion. By realizing that
Christ first loved and rescued us, we are stirred to engage in good works, to be conduits of His
love in a world rife with division and pain.
In a similar vein, Jesus said that He is the good shepherd who guards his flock by night and
guides them to green pastures by day and the one who is willing to lay down His very life for the
sheep (John 10). This commitment was the pinnacle of sacrificial love, an embodiment of God’s
relentless pursuit of His children. It was intimate, deep-rooted, and personal. “I know my own
and my own know me,” Jesus declared, drawing attention to His close connection with every
believer. It’s a relationship where every cry is heard, every joy is celebrated, and every pain is
felt. The sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice, symbolizing the unique and cherished bond
that transcends mere acknowledgment into realms of heartfelt communion. This wasn’t a
distant deity; it was God in the midst, intimately involved in the intricacies of human life.
Amidst the dangers that lurk—a thief, a predator, or the peril of being lost—there’s the Good
Shepherd, standing as the sole orate for and gate to safety, nourishment, and life in its most
whole measure. He beckons all to enter through Him, to find solace in His embrace, and to
partake in the abundant life that overflows and impacts others. In a world marred by transient
joys and fleeting certainties, Jesus emerges as the eternal constant, urging every soul to find its
rest, purpose, and destiny under the watchful eyes of the Good Shepherd and the Good
“In All Things For the Good”
The Apostle Paul writes, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who
love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28-29)
First, Paul says, “in all things.” The word he uses here, “Panta,” means “all” or “every.” This tells
us that God is involved in everything that happens to us. Good or bad, happy or sad, easy or
hard, God is there. An example of this is in John 9, where Jesus heals a man who was born
Then, Paul tells us that God “works for the good.” The word for “works” here is “sunergei,”
which means working together. This means that God does not force things to happen. Instead,
He works with us, using our actions and choices to help us. The word “agathos,” which means
good or beneficial, shows us that God wants the best for us. He wants us to grow and become
Next, Paul says this happens to “those who have been called according to his purpose.” This
means that God has a special plan for each one of us. The word “prothesis” means purpose or
will, and it tells us that God’s plan for us is specific and intentional. We are not here by accident.
We are here because God is good and He has a purpose for us.
Lastly, God’s purpose is for us to become like Christ. God uses all things – high and low, good
and bad, happy and sad – to help us become more like Jesus.
So, no matter what you’re going through, whether you’re doing well or struggling, remember
that God is with you. He is working with you and using everything that happens to you for your
benefit and according to His purpose. So, remember the promise, “in all things, God works for
the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
The commentary discusses God’s goodness and how we can reflect it in a world shattered by
hatred and cruelty. It explains that God’s goodness goes beyond morality to encompass
wholeness, completeness, and dynamic transformation. God desires for us to experience and
take part in His active goodness.
The text then explores how we can live out God’s goodness through acts of justice, mercy, and
walking humbly with God. Doing justice means treating everyone fairly and righteously.
Showing mercy involves steadfast, loyal love. Walking with God signifies an intentional and
consistent journey, staying aligned with His will and character.
Jesus personified goodness by sacrificially giving His life to redeem humanity. As recipients of
God’s goodness and love, believers must engage in good works and serve others. Despite
hardships, God works through all circumstances for the benefit and excellence of those who
love Him and fulfill His purpose in each person, culminated in the likeness of His Son, Jesus
Christ. Overall, the text is a call to embrace and spread the goodness of God in a broken world.
How does the essence of ‘goodness’ as rooted in the heart of God challenge the current societal
norms and behaviors, and how can individuals and religious institutions embody the Lord’s goodness
to bridge the divisions and conflicts prevalent in today’s world?
In what ways does the “taste and see” invitation in Psalm 34:8 encourage believers to
experience God’s goodness in their life? How does this personal encounter impact our daily
actions and relationships with others?
The commentary highlights justice, mercy, and humility as reflections of God’s goodness. How
can believers practically demonstrate these virtues in today’s complex societal landscape?
In what ways our pillar doctrine of justification by faith reflects works of justice and mercy
among the marginalized and socially ill-treated?
How does recognizing Jesus as the Good Samaritan and the Good Shepherd within us inspire us to
actively pursue doing good in our services to others?
In what ways God works through our trials and triumphs for our benefit and excellence and shape us
into the image of Christ to be His faithful witnesses with a renewed purpose, resilience, and hope?
Yared Halche, PhD
Executive Director of Witness
Southeastern District, LCMS