One of the favorite New Testament stories for children is called the Good Samaritan. Everyone knows how the Samaritan responds to another in need. That is why he is called ‘good.’ But what exactly does ‘good’ mean? Other than the opposite of ‘bad’ how would we define good?
Goodness is defined as praiseworthy character; moral excellence. The Bible speaks often of the goodness of God (Ex 33:19; Rom 2:4). God’s goodness consists of righteousness, holiness, justice, kindness, grace, mercy, and love. Goodness is also one of the fruits of the Spirit that should characterize Christian believers (Gal 5:22). Christians are called to goodness, even as God the Father is perfect and good (Matt 5:48). Goodness differs from the previous fruit, kindness, in that kindness is an outer action and goodness is the heart attitude that causes that action.
When used of God, ‘goodness’ sometimes is used as a summary of all His attributes (Exodus 33:19). Goodness is all God is. To the extent that we are ‘good’ we are like God. When we are lovable, virtuous and righteous we are like God.
Goodness can not be separated from holiness. Holiness of life will always expresses itself in always of doing what is in the best interest of others. Moral Goodness is not optional, to keep the Commandments and God’s Word must be a high priority. We must conform to all God’s laws and principles. Holiness is not listed as a fruit of the Spirit, for it is part of goodness. When we are holy we are good, when we are good we are holy.
There is a difference between being good and doing good. Being good comes when God’s Spirit indwells us at the moment of salvation. Doing good is the acting out of that inner goodness in everyday life. Being good is the holiness of Jesus that God gives us at salvation. Doing good is living a holy life in all we think, say and do. In essence, only God is good. But when He lives in us then we have His goodness, the fruit of His Spirit, which works through us.
The ‘good’ Samaritan is a fine example to all of us of what happens when God’s goodness reigns in the heart. His love flows out of us to those around us. The good Samaritan wasn’t unique – we can and should all be like Him when God’s Spirit lives within.
Ps 25:8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
Rom 15:14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
What comes to mind when you think of holiness? Where would you say God’s holiness is most evident in your life? Where do you need God’s help to be more like Him?
Think of some ways you can show God’s goodness to others through your actions today. What are they?
Ask God to fill you with His Spirit today and have Him manifest the fruit of goodness in your life.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)