Thursday, February 15, 2007

what is good?

We live in a world full of goodness. Majestic roses with a glimmer of aroma, which matches their beauty. Food that not only satisfies our hunger, but satiates our taste buds. Romantic love, which sweeps us off our feet, and sets us down a road of lifelong commitment and companionship. All in all, just a world flooded with good.

Yet we know there is a problem. Humankind, in our sin, does not live a good life. "The good life" is held out by most everyone. But what does it mean? To humankind, in our sin, it means grabbing for all the gusto one can get, living free of constraint, satisfying every whim, doing what seems good in one's own eyes.

The only problem? Just like the "free love" of the 1960's, it just doesn't work. We find a way to live, from what the Creator has prescribed in Scripture, that is in keeping with who we are, who this God is who reveals himself in Jesus, and what we find in the world as we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Good is everywhere around us, including what we see in the mirror. Because God created everything. Christian holiness teachings and doctrine has often been hard on creation. Humans are meant to enjoy God's creation. And indeed, we know that God's goodness is poured out on humans all over the world (Acts). However, we also know that good and evil are set together. We can surmise that these exist, and this includes reflecting on our own lives. We abuse the good gifts God has given. Including ourselves and others.

The answer is found in Jesus. In the kingdom of God having come in him. And in the new creation which begins now, and of which we in Jesus are a part. Good comes from God. And is inherent in his creation. And in his remaking of that broken creation, by the redemption of Jesus (Colossians; Romans 8). The good life can be only found and lived out in this reality. And as we remain in this reality.

Yes, we're to take up our crosses in this life, and though enjoying the things of this world, not be engrossed in them (1 Corinthians 7). But we must beware of a killjoy mentality which carries over to how we live. As if being a Christian is about what we deprive ourselves of, rather than what we experience as good from our God in this world. As in everything we give thanks, and invite others to come to share our joy in God.

What would you like to add about goodness?


L.L. Barkat said...

I have sometimes thought on this subject based on Genesis... the fruit incident. The fruit they took, was it not good? Everything in the garden, created by God, had been declared good.

But, the husband and his wife took the "good" outside the context of relationship with God. And so the good became a source of evil. In a certain sense, I believe sin is just that... taking from the good of God's creation (the "natural" world or his creatures), outside the context of gratitude to God and love of Him. In such moments we become exploiters.

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Great insight there! We can learn so much, as we go back to the Garden, in the account in Genesis. What you say here is so worthy of our further reflection. Thanks.

Kim said...

One aspect is that goodness is one of the fruit of the Spirit. It's a character quality of Godly people.

To the extent that we are able, with God's help, to battle back our flesh and allow our spirit to function we will draw others to God (who alone is good). Blessings.

andre said...


Good post - really good post. We see around us both the good world that God created and the effects of the fall (sin, crime, sickness, death, etc...). Sometimes, it's easy to see the aspects of the fall without remembering the beauty and goodness of what God created like the common grace of friends, the love of my family, a beautiful sunset, laughter and sushi...just to name a few.

LL, yes - much of sin is taking the good and using it outside of the context God intended. Good thoughts there.

Ted Gossard said...

Kim, Yes. The fruit of the Spirit in our lives. To make us good. Certainly a goodness from God that overflows to others, in how we live.

Thanks for that good reminder.

Ted Gossard said...

Andre, Thanks!

That sushi looks interesting. Not sure I've had it before (looked at the Wikipedia article, including the "sushi gallery" there. Interesting.

Yes. It's so easy to forget the good that is right there, even in the brokenness of this world, which God in Christ is fixing in the new creation.