I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. (Romans 15:14 ESV)
A ruler once came to Jesus and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. (Luke 18:18-19 ESV) In essence Jesus was linking the quality of “goodness” as something that only God possess. Galatians 5:22 states But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness… In today’s lingo, we use ‘good’ as a very general word. The Greek word used in this context is chrēstotēs which Thayer’s dictionary translates as moral goodness and integrity. The word integrity in the whole of new testament is generally translated as goodness.
Moral goodness or Integrity could be simply explained as ‘Demonstrating trustworthiness by doing what is good and saying what is right’. The word integrity is related to the word integer, often used in Mathematics, which is also rooted in Latin. An integer is an individual entity. It represents wholeness or completeness, in contrast to a fraction, which is incomplete. The root word tangere means “to touch”, so integer means “untouched, entire” (adapted from Cultivating Character, Character Solutions International) This leads us to explain chrēstotēs as wholeness or completeness of character. That is of course essentially a quality that only God possess!! That is why Jesus said “No one is good except God alone”.
Is it possible?
Apostle Paul, mentions goodness as the fruit of the spirit. I have had people ask me, if it is ever possible to attain perfection or completeness in character as long as we are on the earth. The answer is yes, Gal 5:22 supports that! When we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us to the extent of producing the fruit of the Spirit, we could come to a place where we are perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. That’s what Jesus commanded us to do. (Matt 5:48) If it wasn’t possible, the Lord would have never commanded us to do so. I pray that, this will be the aim and focus of our hearts all day long, that we be found blameless and perfect in character in everything we do and say.
Growth is Essential:
In other words, since we are born of the Spirit, we inherit the goodness of God, though it might take some time for it to show up in our character and our lives. A baby when it is born, doesn’t exactly look like his Father. As he grows, he becomes more and more like his Father. As long as we are spending time in knowing God, learning from him and growing continually into him, we will never lack goodness in our lives. Children, however sweet they are, have a very selfish and attention seeking attitude. A friend once tweeted “It’s cute to be kid, but to always remain so is not so cute!, God desires growth”
My prayer is that we will be full of the Goodness of God. Our level of integrity should be at such levels that people should be able to trust us on our word, than our signed letters and bonds! 🙂
(This post is a repost, and it was originally published on PastorPriji.com on July 12th, 2010)