Goodly Or?

In reading John’s third letter this morning, I was intrigued that he specifically states that one who does good is of God, and one who does evil has not seen God.  I pondered that for a while, and had to struggle with what “doing good” and “doing evil” must really mean.  Here’s the thing: we all sin.  “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (‭1 John‬ ‭1‬:‭8‬ NASB)  That’s right, the same guy (and of course the same Holy Spirit) that essentially said we all have sin in us yet (and will until we meet our beloved Savior on That Day) also said that if we are of God, we do good.

I believe John in his third letter is speaking more to a pattern.  Yes, we will struggle for the rest of our lives on Earth with the ravages of Adam’s failure, but in placing a new Spirit in our hearts, our pattern will become one of love, goodness, kindness, etc.  We truly do become new, and even if we fail, our desire is to serve and obey our Heavenly Father.

I  know that I have failed many times, that I have allowed myself through my selfishness to do the very things I don’t want to do… by God’s Grace I want to honor Him and obey Him, and yet my own personal rebellion places me ahead of Him at times (more often than I ever want to admit).  I know better, I want better, and yet I fail.

Thank you Jesus for the Cross and that you catch me despite my selfishness!

But the Believer in Christ, the follower of the Most High God, those sealed with the Holy Spirit by the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus through Faith, are taught and moved by the Holy Spirit to a path of goodness.  God starts by changing your heart to come to Him for salvation, and spends the rest of your life changing you, softening your heart further, teaching you love and compassion for others, giving you an inner desire to obey Him.  It is not a burden on the Christian to obey God, but a privilege!  As a result, one who is “of God”, will show a pattern of change and goodness… without good works, James writes, faith is dead.

So, I’m confident that John is not promoting a “perfection or nothing” perspective on doing good, but rather that those who know God will show a pattern of goodness… they will be known as “good” despite their human frailties.  I will fail, you will fail, but those around us will see the goodness that God has placed in our hearts day after day whether we like it or not.

May God transform your heart today to be like His and protect you from the enemy.