One of most famous college basketball coaches of all time was John Wooden, coach of the UCLA Bruins. Coach Wooden, a devout, outspoken, Christian, set many NCAA records during his coaching career at UCLA. He set records for number of undefeated seasons (4), number of conference championships (19) and number of NCAA championships (10). To read more about the achievements of coach Wooden please go to http://www.sacredhoops.com/john-wooden/
Besides being known for his extraordinary spirituality, coaching skills and achievements, Coach Wooden was also known for NEVER using profanity. Many times he would use the phrase “Goodness’, Gracious’ sakes alive!” as a replacement for profane language. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxMGcmp5t30
Unknown to many, this phrase carries with it a reference to Jehovah, the triune God who Coach Wooden served.
Both the terms Goodness and Gracious are attributes of Jehovah God of the Bible. Exodus 34:6 makes this very clear “… The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” This is how the phrase “Goodness, Gracious” began, it was used as an alternate name(s) for our God. Because He is a good God, He is given the title “Goodness”. Because He is the God of grace, He is given the title “Gracious”.
This being the case, what does it mean when the Bible says God is a God of goodness? Let’s continue our study centering on “goodness”, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The attribute of “goodness” reflects a combination of ideas: “to be virtuous, morally upright, useful, and honorable”. In other words, if someone has “goodness” they are leading a law abiding, moral life that is useful and pleasing to both God and man.
The ultimate example of One that possesses all goodness is our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is perfect example of One who has kept God’s laws perfectly, bringing honor to His Father and Himself, while working for the benefit of His people.
Matthew 5:17 summarizes Christ’s relation to the law … “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Mat 5:17) A part of Christ’s mission was to fulfill the law of God. By keeping the law, He aided His people in at least two ways… He remained sinless, enabling Him to be the perfect sacrifice bearing the sins of His people upon Himself and He set a perfect example for us to keep God’s law.
As He kept God’s law, He also was pleasing to His Father as well. Isaiah 42:21 is a prophecy teaching us about Christ’s earthly ministry… “The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” In this verse, we are told that God the Father (the LORD) would be pleased when Christ would keep the law perfectly, showing it’s importance to all.
Yes, without a doubt Christ’s goodness can not be disputed, based upon His accomplishments during His life on earth. He was the ultimate “good” One, whose goodness was both useful and pleasing to God and man.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
Sometimes as Christians, we have a tendency to forget that others are watching our lives and following the examples that we set for them. Paul understood and taught on the importance of a Christian’s example. One of His life’s decisions was to refuse to eat meat sacrificed to idols, because he was afraid it would result in weak Christians worshipping those idols. (1Co 8:13)
Paul not only understood the need for him, personally, to set an example but he taught all of us to set the example as well. (1Co 8:9) The solution to leading a life that sets a good example for others is by exercising the fruit of “goodness” as we live our lives on earth. Just as Christ set the example for us through a life of goodness; so, too, we should be living a life of “goodness” for others to see. As we rely upon the Spirit to enable us, as Christians, we will naturally and joyfully begin to set a Godly example for others to follow.
For those who are not Christians, I realize that the idea of following the example of Christ and submitting to His Lordship may seem like a burden or drudgery. Let me tell you from my experience, serving the Lord and submitting to His Lordship is a source of great joy and comfort. When a person is saved by God’s grace their desires change. This is one part of becoming a new creature in Christ. (2 Cor 5:17) A Christian is so thankful for God’s forgiveness and the promise of eternal life with God that the Christian wants to serve Him. It is not a burden or a dread, it is actually a pleasure knowing that He gave His life for us and this is one opportunity to show Him our appreciation for all He has done for us.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luk 17:10)
If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.
Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”