Goodness

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness. . . .” (Galatians 5:22). The fruit of the Spirit is the character of God renewed in you and working in you by the Spirit. The rich young ruler asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus first responded, “Why do you call Me good?” The young man did not recognize Jesus as God incarnate. He had no ground to call Jesus good. Ultimately, to be good is to be godlike. When Paul tells us “the Law is good” (Romans 7:16, 1 Timothy 1:8), he means the Law reflects God’s character.

On a personal level, when God gives you a new heart, He cleanses your “conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). He gives you a “good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:5). He gives you a conscience saying, “Yes,” when God says, “Yes,” and saying, “No,” when God says, “No.” You respond positively to God’s good pleasure, that is, God’s good Law. You “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

Paul also puts this in terms of light. “God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). What is the fruit of this light shining in your heart? Since “you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10). With light from God, you walk in God’s goodness seeking God’s good pleasure.

John puts the same idea a little differently. “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God” (3 John 11). The one who truly does good is born of God. Therefore, when you do good, you express God’s goodness in the fruit of the Spirit. This goodness comes to visible expression when you actually reject evil and embrace good. You actually “Depart from evil and do good” (Psalm 37:27). You do so by walking in God’s good pleasure in God’s good Law.

Because you belong to Christ and He is your Lord, you are “freed from sin and enslaved to God” (Romans 6:22). Lust no longer rules your life and heart. You follow the Tenth Commandment. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17).

Violations of the Eighth Commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15), are not an option. You do not covet, or lust after, your neighbor’s property. Violations of the Seventh Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), are not an option. You do not covet, or lust for, your neighbor’s wife. Violations of the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13), are not an option. There is no hatred in your heart for your neighbor because of his good estate and his servants. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15). You know and follow God’s good law. The goodness of God fills your heart. You manifest the fruit of the Spirit, goodness.

Denny Prutow

2019-01-04T10:19:26+00:00 January 7th, 2019|