Summary: Being good is a work of God, therefore focus on Christ. Being good is more than doing good, watch your motives. Being good is not being nice, speak the truth in love.
43 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
There are many and varied uses of the word GOOD, but we can generally classify them in these 3 broad categories – in terms of its PURPOSE, its BENEFITS and with CHARACTER.
• When we say, “good job, good score” we refer to something that meets a certain standard; when we fulfil a certain benchmark, we say it’s good. It meets its intended purpose.
• When we say, “good deal” or “good weather” we may be thinking of the benefits; we had a good bargain, we had a great time because the weather was good.
• When we talk about a “good friend” we refer to his character; the qualities that we find in a person – he is someone who is dependable, someone you can count on to be there for you when in need, someone with a good heart.
There are some overlaps but generally we understand GOODNESS in these ways.
The Biblical emphasis is on CHARACTER (Luke 6:45), that will bring forth good purpose and benefits.
Clearly Paul uses the word GOODNESS in the Fruit of the Spirit to refer to a LIFE CHANGE.
• With reference to what he is contrasting it to – the WORKS of the flesh – then it is clear the word refers to the inner qualities of virtue, the goodness of a character, or his morality.
• Paul says we are made GOOD by God when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. We find ourselves no longer doing the WORKS of the flesh but bearing the FRUIT of the Spirit.
• It’s is the fulfilment of the prophecy that God gave through Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
JESUS says in Luke 6:45: The good man brings good things out of the GOOD stored up in his heart.
• Goodness flows out of a GOOD HEART, and a good heart (a regenerated heart, a new heart) is a work of God.
(1) BEING GOOD IS A WORK OF GOD, therefore Focus on Christ
Isa 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”
When the rich young ruler came to Jesus with the question: “What must I do to get eternal life?”
• Jesus’ reply was: “Why do you call me good? No one is good – except God alone.” (Luke 18:19)
• In saying this, Jesus was telling the young man that the reference point for goodness is God Himself. In fact, He is the only reference point!
He kept all the Commandments, no doubt. Most of the commandments were put in the negative – do not do this, and do not do that – and he kept them.
• But he failed to do what is right – love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus: “Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor…” He was not able to do the GOOD thing.
Any human attempts at trying to be good will not suffice. It will ultimately be tainted by self-righteousness, self-interest, or self-glory.
• Keeping the Commandments cannot make the young man good (Luke 18). He needs to trust Christ.
• He needs to drop whatever he is hanging on to and follow Christ. But he could not. He wanted to work for his own righteousness.
• Jesus wanted him to change his life (and make him GOOD), but that wasn’t what he really wants. He wanted to pride himself in his own attainment of goodness.
That’s the fallacy of the Pharisees in Jesus’ times, thinking that by observing the laws they can be good enough to please God.
• We can only BE GOOD in Christ. Apart from Him, nothing in us can be truly good.
• Let Him dwell your heart and rule in your life. With Him inside, goodness can flow.
Focus on Christ. He is the GOOD that is stored up in your heart. He lives in your heart to enable you to do the works of God.
• Turn your life over to Him. Allow Him to have His way in your life and we will find His goodness flowing through us in ways that we do not expect.