Commentary on "The Fruit of the Spirit is Goodness"
Day 1: Sabbath Afternoon, February 6, 2010
The author introduces this lesson by defining the word goodness as “...not only exhibiting right behavior, but also avoiding its opposite, evil. Goodness is holiness put into practice.” He goes on to further state that the greek work for goodness is agathosune, which according to Galatians 5:22 indicates an active and aggressive form of goodness.
He reinforces this definition of goodness by stating that claiming to have a “good heart” or a “good soul” apart from the actual action of goodness means nothing. He concludes by stating “Good intentions, good thoughts, good motives are fine and have their role, but in the end, goodness is to do good. We fool ourselves into thinking otherwise.”
At initial glance, the author seems to accurately define the nature of “goodness” as described in Galatians 5:22. But one must question, is the act of “goodness” just actively doing good works? And, what empowers us to do these good works? Is it diligence? Is it a result of a consistent commitment and loyalty to “be good”? Is it a behavior discipline?
Nowhere is it indicated in the lesson where this “goodness” comes from or how we achieve it. He merely defines goodness and challenges the reader to incorporate it into their life through good actions and good deeds.
So how does one obtain the “goodness” as described in Galatians 5:22?
The same Greek word agathosune that is used in Galatians 5:22 is also found in Ephesians 5:8, 9: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).” Verse 11 contrasts this “fruit of light” with “the fruitless deeds of darkness”.
According to Scripture, true goodness can only come as a result of being “in the light”. What does it mean to be “in the light”?
1 John 1:5 says, “...God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” Paul addresses his brothers (Christians) in 1 Thessalonians 5:4 as “...sons of light”. If God is light, when He gives birth to us, we then become sons of light, or in referring back to Ephesians 5:8, we become “children of light”.
In other words, only when we become born again, are we able to walk in the light. By nature, we are born in darkness. Only when we accept Jesus as our Lord by trusting Him alone for our salvation, and He comes into our lives through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, are we then children of light. Colossians 1:13,14 puts this beautifully, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Apart from being born again, and becoming “sons or children of light”, we are not only unable to live out goodness, but it is impossible to fully comprehend it. Goodness goes beyond “action”. Goodness is the natural outpouring of God’s Holy Presence in our lives.
GO TO DAY 2
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