Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

Galations 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Who'd like to be considered 'good'? All of us, right? But what exactly does it mean (from a Biblical context)?

According to Strong's Concordance, the word 'goodness' as found in Galations 5:22 means 'virtue'. Virtue itself is defined as 'moral excellence; goodness; righteousness' or 'conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles'1. I like how that sounds. So, in order to develop the fruit of 'goodness', I need to achieve moral excellence and conform myself to the moral principles embodied in the Bible.

It seems so simple when it's put that way. Much harder, however, is the effort to become virtuous. If we could achieve holiness on our own, as my Pastor often says, we wouldn't need God at all. But it's obvious that we do.

So how do we become 'virtuous' or 'good'? A hint can be found in Matthew 19:17, when Jesus was speaking to the rich young man who wanted to know what he had to do to attain eternal life. Jesus said:
.....Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Jesus let him (and us through scripture) know there was none good but God. Therefore, we can conclude that goodness has to be bestowed upon us by God. And that we can only achieve 'moral excellence' by following God and by adhering to His commandments.

1 virtue. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.0.1). Retrieved December 03, 2006, from website:

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