Goodness – Fruit of the Spirit
What is good?
The word here is to do with practical goodness – ‘kind goodness’ – actions that go with standards.
What does the world think is the standard for goodness? People often try to go for some kind of standard which involves what the majority thinks, which boils down to ‘what’s popular is right’. Whether this is an outright atheism or semi-atheism, trying to criticise God’s standards by man’s. This doesn’t work
- What’s popular is changing all the time. Was the slave trade right, once? Was Hitler right, once?
- It’s just an arbitrary definition. Why not ‘what’s popular is bad’? Maybe that would be closer to the truth.
Reading Mathew 19v16-21 we see the following points
- We aren’t good.
- God is the only source of goodness
- This is revealed and summarised for us in his commandments, both negatively and positively
How can we do good?
a) Start where we are (6v10)
With God’s people, those who share our faith, the ‘household of faith’. Like an extra family. Reading Ephesians and Colossians the first area Paul deals with in his practical instruction is how we behave within the church. We need to be practicing giving, loving, faithfulness, telling the truth in love.
b) Look for opportunities (6v10)
Apply to specifics
As Paul did in his letters
No good waiting for some kind of random ‘goodness’ to come
c) Recognise that it’s only through the Spirit (5v22)
In Ephesians, Paul includes this in his shorter list of the fruit of the Spirit (Eph 5v9) No-one is good except God – so it’s got to come from him.
d)Don’t grow weary (6v9)
Because we will reap if we don’t give up. Reap what?
What is the result of goodness?
What does it say we reap here? Look at 6v8. Eternal life?
Does that mean eternal life comes by what we do? It seems so at first perhaps, and there are other passages that also speak of eternal life as a reward that we reap linked to what we do. See Matthew 25 and Romans 2v5-7 for instance. But look at them more closely. Read Matthew 25v34. These people have already been chosen, blessed by the Father and given an inheritance long before they were made. God’s grace comes first, and doing good comes after. It’s just the evidence. God’s purpose is that he should be able to look at mankind, and pick out those who are his not just because he knows them by name, but also by what they look like.
It’s the evidence that we have the Spirit. Read these verses in Galatians again carefully. It is of the Spirit that we reap eternal life. And it’s because we do not give up doing good. Doing good flows from having the Spirit. Where the tree is good, the fruit will be as well.