Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law.”
The fruit of the Spirit, goodness, is not our goodness, but God’s. No one is good except God alone (Luke 18:19; Ecclesiastes 7:20), but faith requires action for the Christian. James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” Some misinformed Christians think this means we are saved by good works and not by faith. That’s not what it means at all. I go into more detail about it here.
Faith itself becomes known to other people by your good works; it is your faith in Christ that saves you and it is the good works of your faith that enables people to see God at work both within you and in the world. For, “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Don’t be a lazy Christian and do nothing with your faith. We are not called to complacency; we are called to action, and we know this from Jesus’ Great Commission to the disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), which has been passed down to us as Jesus’ modern disciples.
Whenever Scripture talks about good works, they are not described as things we do to attain or add to our salvation. Rather, they are described as things we do for our neighbour. How do you love your neighbour? Do good works. There are numerous ways to do good works according to your faith. Give to the poor, as Jesus commands us (Matthew 5:42), humble yourself and serve others in humility as I mentioned in the fruit about love, and so on and so forth. We all know what it means to be a Christian according to our actions—we all know how to love our neighbour; we just have to actually do those things. By trusting in the Holy Spirit who’s in us to create good works within us, we show people the goodness of God.
Stay tuned for next time when I talk about the next fruit of the Spirit: faithfulness.