The Fruit of Goodness

Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” Psalm 37:3

In May of last year, as we worked through the attributes of God, I wrote a devotion, “God is Good”. You can find that here: https://nbopc.org/2020/05/13/god-is-good/. Goodness is a part of God’s character. It’s also something His Spirit is wonderfully at work bearing in us. We are called to “do good”. (Galatians 6:9, Matthew 5:16)

Conformity to God’s character is something that we strive for as Christians, with His Spirit working in us to do so as He sanctifies us (Ephesians 5:1). God defines and measures what is good. We know that in and of ourselves, we are unable to do good, according to His standard (Romans 3:10-11). Yet, as the Spirit works in us as His redeemed children, He grows and matures us both in our obedience to His law, as well as purifying the intentions of our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7).

There is a transformative work of the Spirit as He leads us and transforms our minds by His Word (Romans 12:1-2). Whereas fallen men and women can do things that are viewed as good and commendable, what they do isn’t done out of a love for Christ. For this reason and others, they aren’t ultimately good according to God’s righteous standard. Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 16 Of Good Works, Section 7 helps us better understand this when it says, “Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands; and of good use both to themselves and others: yet, because they proceed not from an heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God, they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God: and yet, their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God.”

However, the sons and daughters of God are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10) God has designed and prepared us for good works. We have the God given ability to do good, in an ultimate sense. Yes, this side of glory, even our best works and motives are fraught with impurity. However, by the Spirit’s work, we will do the right things for the right reasons and be fruitful in them.

What is evident in the fruit of doing good? Our Confession helps us again here. Chapter 16.2 says, “These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.”

Considering all of this, receive David’s instruction in Psalm 37 and prayerfully follow it this week, Beloved. “Trust in the Lord and do good.” John Calvin said it well- “The man who places his whole confidence in God, and gives himself up to be governed by him, will live uprightly and innocently, and will devote himself to doing good.” Have such confidence in your God. Humble yourself before Him under His reign. Be fully devoted to doing good, that He would receive the honor and glory.