Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chapter 6 - Goodness

   $ Galatians 5:22-26 and Colossians 3:12
  In the Bible it talks about Christ being righteous and those who practice being righteous, are of him. (1 John 2:28-29)  Now goodness can’t be studied unless we look at righteousness, for righteousness is the essence of goodness.

Righteousness: Act of being in accordance with what is just, honorable, and free of guilt or wrong.  It is upright, virtuous, and noble.
Goodness is described this way: bountiful, sound, whole, well-founded, commendable, having a standard, virtuous, kind. Having character, being righteous, having humility.
  Now goodness is something achieved, not given like a super power, it has to be maintained through faithfulness and discipline (self-control).  Now goodness is not the necessary element to being saved, on the contrary being saved is the declaration that your old self and ways have been shed so that you can receive God’s saving promise and grace.  You receive when you declare, believe that Christ is your savior, and “go and sin no more.”  Goodness is something we are called to pursue after we have been saved and see that we are a changed person. (It cannot be achieved without Christ’s sacrifice being accepted in our hearts.)

2 Corinthians 5:21: For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

  Christ even says in Matthew 5:6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.  Pursuing goodness (righteousness) is not an easy thing, is hard to pursue goodness in a world that is no longer good, it is filled with very evil things which pull at us more than the good things.  However, in that God states that even then when he sees the hunger for righteousness He will not let us down, but rather be faithful and fill us.
  This promise is also in Psalm 37:23-24: The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

  We have to remember too that we cannot achieve goodness on our own, in Psalm 16:2 it reminds us that our goodness is not of ourselves, but of God in us.

Psalm 16:2: O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from you.”

  Goodness (righteousness) is something we cannot achieve without God, goodness wouldn’t even exist unless God existed because he IS goodness.  That’s why God couldn’t look at Christ as he hung on the cross, because Christ had taken on the evil sin of the world and God is pure goodness, and because evil and goodness can’t be together God had to look away.  Now here is a kind of an interesting thing (in my opinion) take the extra ‘o’ out of goodness and you get godness, so as we pursuing God’s character, which we are called to do as we are called to pursue “Christ-likeness).
In Romans, it talks about how those who pursue goodness will continue in his goodness (and as we’ve seen in the previous verses will be upheld and blessed by God), but those who fall away and don’t return will be cut off.

Romans 11:22-23: Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness.  Otherwise you will be cut off.  And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

  If you have a slight advanced knowledge about plants and such you will know that when you graft a plant you are taking a plant shoot and putting it with another plant so that they join and grow together, they create a ‘union.’ (Interesting picture, huh?)
  Many times growing up I have heart people many times say that they couldn't serve a God who is so harsh or so quick to burn people, well I got news for you, if you are a parent (or if you work with children like myself) you realize that God is not condemning God, but rather a fatherly God.  Parents give children many chances (in order to let them have the opportunity to do what is right, for they have been taught what is right and therefore know what is right), however, when the child doesn’t seem to get it or seems to start taking advantage of the grace of the parent, the parent then has to punish the child in a way that will make them get the message to “shape up.”  Think about it this way too, if someone keeps abusing us in any way, shape, or form we tend to drop them, “hey if they are going to just abuse our friendship, take advantage of me, or keep being devious, I’m not going to deal with them anymore.”  (Does that sound familiar?) It’s funny how that’s how we react as people and then we expect God to be different!?! It’s kind of selfish to act like God should except people no matter what, but come on why would God want to dwell with people who have declare pure hatred of him? Do we dwell with people who hate us? Do we dwell with people who we hate?   No. (No remember back to kindness and gentleness we are not supposed to hate people, but some of us deal with hatred which is the same as hate, instead we need to kindly dislike the behavior and love the person.)  Also you have to really pay attention too, because as you read the scriptures Christ always has way out and a way for us to still except him and to get another chance.  It clearly states that in the second half of our Romans verse.  So, I think that if people claim that God is a ruthless hateful God who just destroys, you have to ask them, ‘well how well do you know God’, because my God, the God in the scriptures is a God of justice and of second chances. (Every  time I say that statement ‘A God of second chances’ I always think of the ‘Veggie Tale’ song from Jonah sung by the veggie angels, “Our God is a God of second chances.”)

  Now that we know what goodness/righteousness is let’s take a look at what it does:
Philippians 2:14-16: Do all things without complaining or disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of the life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Psalm 15: Lord, who may abide in your tabernacle? Who may dwell in your holy hill?  He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes eyes vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; He who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

  One who bathes in righteousness is conscious of his sin and understands that it is sin, and in response then turns, asks for forgiveness, then goes and sins no more.  For the righteous see with truth glasses and they act with humility and Christ wisdom.

Ezekiel 20:43: And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed.

  Later on in our study we will be talking about love, peace and joy.  We will discover that the scriptures talk about how when we follow Christ and his example we are reward with Christ’s peace and joy.  In Proverbs it talks about following the word will find good and trusting in the Lord will bring happiness! We just finished studying faithfulness and looking at God’s faithfulness and I think that because we see that God has always stayed true his promises we must then remember and be faithful in our end of the relationship so that we can take part in the peace and joy He has to offer us!

Proverbs 16:19-20: Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.  He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.

  On your own I would encourage you to look at the beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-11 and remember in the beginning of this study we saw that it takes self-control and humility to enable us to be successful in living the Fruit of the Spirit.  It takes humility and self-control to develop righteousness, for righteousness is (as we saw at the top) being free of wrong and just, well we have been told that we are free of wrong when we seek forgiveness of the Lord, and when we seek we fill find.  (But it takes humility to get there!)
So in conclusion, remember that Jesus loves you; he wants you to be successful and to lead a deeper and full life that honors him and brings you closer to him!

2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new

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