Are you good?
Is man basically good? Are you good? ‘Yes,’ is the answer of many who know nothing about Scripture, and therefore who know nothing about the true definition of goodness. In Chapter 7 of The Fruit of the Spirit Rev. Smit provides an excellent explanation of what the Bible says about goodness.
Definitions are important, and once again Rev. Smit provides a helpful definition of goodness on page 105:
We believe that the goodness of the child of God by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit is the ability to do to others morally pure acts—that is, acts that have a proper and honorable purpose with respect to our Father in heaven and with respect to the person to whom we perform some particular act of goodness, such as giving food or words of encouragement to a fellow saint.
The definition implies that human beings are not basically or naturally good. Rev. Smit takes for granted that goodness is a characteristic only of a “sanctified and godly believer.” Without the sanctifying operation of the Holy Spirit, which is preceded by the regenerating work of the Spirit, no one can be or is good. Believers are able to produce the fruit of goodness “by the miraculous grace of the Holy Spirit (pg 113).” Thus, goodness is one of the wonderful benefits of salvation God graciously gives to his people.
Rev. Smit explains how the goodness of saints is a reflection of the goodness of God (pg 105-106). That goodness of God is also revealed in the face of Jesus Christ (pg 107-108). As believers we should see the goodness of God and the goodness of Jesus Christ as a standard for us to follow in seeking to be good unto others. Additionally, the motive of our goodness is the knowledge that God is good to us in the salvation he has given us as a free gift.
So, as the objects of God’s grace who are sanctified by the Spirit, we are to be good to others. (Remember Rev. Smit explained in chapter 5 that the 2nd set of 3 fruits – longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness – highlight how we are to behave outwardly to the neighbor.) What is the good goal of the Christian in his interaction with others? How is goodness displayed? Read pages 108-111. Take the instruction to heart and apply it to your life, and you will cultivate the fruit of goodness in your life.
It seems appropriate to end this post with the questions Rev. Smit asks on page 112.
For what would you like to be remembered?
Your sports trophies?
The money and possessions you have acquired and can pass on to your children?
Should we not desire to be remembered for the virtue of goodness that shined clearly and brightly in our lives and labors through our actions to others unto the glory of God?
Should we not desire to be remembered as those who did good to others, even to our enemies, with the good desire that they might fully enjoy the truth of our only comfort in life and death in Jesus Christ alone?
Other articles by Rev. Spronk on The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ:
This article was written by guest blogger Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Peace Protestant Reformed Church in Lansing, IL. Rev. Spronk will be blogging for us several times a month, taking us first through a brief study of Richard Smit's newly released book, The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If there is a topic you'd like to Rev. Spronk to address, please contact us.