Why do people riot, cause trouble, and even kill people? What is good about destroying businesses and stealing their merchandise? So, what has happened to goodness? This post and the next will explore what goodness is and how to achieve it. I have to admit, I only had a vague idea of what it meant to be good. I was challenged by what I found in my research. I hope you will be challenged too.
What does goodness mean? Which definition do you think describes goodness?
- Obey instructions.
- Be moral or virtuous by choosing the right actions and thinking and having a “good” character.
- Be kind; generous; unselfish.
- Have excellent quality, like good workmanship.
What does the Bible say about goodness?
Obey God’s instructions:
Deuteronomy 12:28—Be careful to obey all these words … that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. Also, read Jeremiah 42:6.
Turn away from evil: good is the opposite of evil:
To do evil is to cause harm or trouble. God, instead, wants us to pursue peace with all men (see Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14). He also expects us to love one another, so when we do not love but are unkind, impatient, or destructive, we do evil (see 1Corinthians 13).
1Peter 3:11—let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
Romans 12:21—Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
1Thesalonians 5:15—See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. And, Proverbs 17:13—If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.
Proverbs 11:27—Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to him who searches for it. And, Proverbs 12:2—A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of evil devices he condemns.
Isaiah 1:17—learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
Be humble and generous and ready to share with those in need:
1Timothy 6:17—As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18) They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19) thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
Titus 3:14—And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
Hebrews 13:16—Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Rely on God’s goodness, not your own.
Most of us are born, grow-up, and die as selfish, self-centered sinners; wanting our needs met instead of loving and caring for other people. So, how can we achieve the standard of God’s goodness? Only through the power of the Holy Spirit as you humbly renew your mind with the truth of God’s Word. If you are uncertain that you have the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, then pray and ask God to forgive your sins and ask the Holy Spirit of Jesus to come into your heart. Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit to do good. Act 10:38 states, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”
How should good deeds benefit others?
The good deeds we do are from faith in Jesus and are like the good fruit on a tree or vine (see Matthew 7:15-20). In John 15:5, Jesus states, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Ephesians 2:10—For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
James 2:15-18—If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17) So also, faith, if it does not have (good) works, is dead being by itself. 18) But someone will say, you have faith, and I have (good) works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith out of my works.
1John 3:17-18—But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18) Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Galatians 6:10—So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Luke 6:33—And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Hebrews 10:24—And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
Matthew 5:16—In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
You can love your enemies and do good to those who hate you through the power of the Holy Spirit in you. And, God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil, and so can we through His goodness.
Luke 6:35—But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
Luke 6:27— “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
We receive God’s goodness when we fear Him and take refuge when trouble comes:
Psalm 31:19—Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
King Solomon said at the end of his life in Ecclesiastes 3:12—I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live.
I asked at the beginning of this post, what definition described goodness. The answer is all the above. When I began this post, I did not know much about goodness. I learned it is good to obey God and do what is right, to share, and help others in need. One word of caution, your perception of good works can be a source of legalism and judgmentalism. To learn more, read my post called How To Overcome Legalism And Judgmentalism. Doing good also raises another controversy. Some people believe that being a good person and doing good works gets you to heaven. The Bible says we are saved by grace and believing in the Son of God. I write in my post called What Is Required?, we also need to do the will of our Father in heaven, which is to obey God’s instructions to do good works because of our faith. Those who riot and destroy are following their evil nature. We all need the power of the Holy Spirit through believing in Jesus Christ to be genuinely good.
Do you obey God’s instructions in the Bible?
Do you sacrificially help others in need and share what you have with them?
Do you avoid evil and do good to others, even if they hate you?
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