Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Fruit of the Spirit is...Goodness...

How shall we define goodness as a fruit of the Spirit? R.C. Sproul wrote, "Goodness incorporates a basic personal integrity. The fruit of the Spirit promotes a person of guilelessness (sincere, honest, straightforward). Goodness is a relative term. Something or someone is good relative to some standard." A study note for the ESV Study Bible defines goodness as "working for the benefit of others, not oneself."

So goodness is not simply being good. It is basically lookout for the well-being of others. Paul told the Philippian church, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:4). He told the Galatian church as he concluded his letter to them, "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10).

As Christians we are called to do good. We are called to do good works to glorify God. We are called to do good to our neighbors all around us just as Jesus pointed out in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Our good works is the fruit of our salvation, not the root of it. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we are saved by grace through faith, not of works. This is a popular passage that many quote when giving a gospel presentation which is a good thing, but there are times when verse 10 is often overlooked by well-meaning Christians.

Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Workmanship means work of art or masterpiece. Paul is not writing to a specific person, he is writing to the church that has been saved by faith alone. What he is communicating is the church is God's masterpiece to display His glory through them as they do good works.

Notice Paul says, "that we may walk in them (good works)." What does that mean? Jerry Bridges wrote, "The word walk suggests our common, everyday experience, not the unusual and heroic. We all have a tendency to rise to the special occasions of our lives, but God has created us to do good works in the midst of the humdrum of daily living."

Goodness as a fruit is doing good in our daily living from the simple things to even the most significant. Doing good works may not get us noticed at times, but it honors God as we serve those around us. Jesus was a servant during His earthly ministry and the work of the Spirit is to conform us into His likeness.

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