Fruit of the Spirit.... Goodness

The Fruit of the Spirit is Goodness

The Pharisees who lived during Jesus’ time on earth thought they were good. After all, they had kept God’s commands all their lives. They had never taken someone else’s possessions, never murdered anyone, and never told lies about other people. Others might have talked back to their parents and used God’s name carelessly, but not them. They had never bowed down in front of an idol. As far as they were concerned, they thought that goodness consisted of the outward keeping of God’s law.

But Jesus tells us something completely different. He says: ‘No one is good but one, that is, God’ (Matthew 19:16). This tells us two important things.

Firstly, that in order to see what goodness really means, we need to look, not at rich, popular, religious, morally upright men and women around us, but at God, the creator and Lord of heaven and earth. He is ‘the Lord, the Lord God…abounding in goodness and truth’ (Exodus 34:6). God’s whole nature is good and he is the source of all goodness seen on earth. There are two ways in which God’s goodness is spoken of in Scripture.

1) God’s goodness refers to his moral flawlessness. When Jesus said that no one is good except God, he was speaking of God’s perfect character. There is no defect in him, no speck of anything that would detract from his goodness. Men set standards for themselves and then fail to keep them, but God is always consistently perfect and holy.

2) God’s goodness refers to his benevolence, or generosity, towards mankind. Not only is he good, but he also does good. In 1 Kings 8 verse 66, the people of Israel rejoiced at God’s goodness in allowing Solomon to build the temple as a place where they could come to worship God. Romans 11 verse 22 speaks of God’s goodness in bringing the Gentiles to enjoy his salvation.

Secondly, Jesus’ words tell us that any goodness there will ever be in us always comes as a result of God’s work in us. By nature, we are not good, but God is able to make us good. He can restore our flawed and sinful characters. He can give us the desire and will to act in ways that will benefit others. As Bible commentator, Matthew Henry puts it: ‘[God’s] goodness is of and from himself, and all the
goodness of the creature is from him; he is the Fountain of goodness and whatever the streams are, all the springs are in him’.

For us, the process of bearing the fruit of goodness may not be easy. Trees have to be pruned before they can be fruitful. It may be hard for us to sacrifice our own desires in order to display generosity to others. We may face many battles in dealing with our fallen sinful natures, but if God has brought us to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, we can be confident that his Holy Spirit is at work in us, changing us and making us reflect more and more of his perfect goodness. We have a perfect Helper now and one day, in heaven, we will display God’s goodness as we should.

By Naomi Wells

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. We love to hear our reader's responses. :)