Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Goodness and Faith

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness knowledge" (2 Peter 1:5).

It is sometimes baffling to us that fallen man does nothing that is truly good. In our eyes it actually seems that many unbelievers often do good, even surpassing Christians in their good works.

To evaluate goodness, however, we have to apply God’s standard: Good works are not simply outward conformity to His law, but also an inward disposition of faithfulness to Him. A good work, in biblical terms, must be motivated by a desire to please God. The Christian is indeed capable of goodness because he has been given a new possibility of desiring to please God.

One aspect of goodness that is often overlooked is seen in Genesis 1, where we repeatedly read that God saw what He had made, and it was good. Goodness is closely associated with order and beauty. As we grow in grace, we should grow in our appreciation of beauty and in our ability to do and make beautiful things, to God’s glory.

What is faith? Biblically speaking, faith is not just believing that God exists. Faith is trusting God. If we really trust God, we will take Him at His Word. We will believe Him when He tells us not to do certain things because those things will harm us.

When grace takes root in our souls and we grow in the fruit of the Spirit, we have an increased capacity to believe God. And that belief has a direct impact on our ability to struggle with sin. In particular, our faithfulness to God makes us more faithful in our relationships with other people. As patience produces kindness, so kindness produces orderly goodness in our lives. And that orderliness makes us more stable and trustworthy.

Meditate again on the order and progression of the fruit of the Spirit. Can you explain how love leads to joy, loving joy to peace, loving joyous peace to patience, etc? Jot down the order on a slip of paper and look at it during the day. Remind yourself of this progression of growth and ask God each time to bring it to pass in your life.