(Ephesians 5:9) “(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)”
Have you ever heard the expression, “Living the good life?” What does this usually mean? In commercials during football games it usually means kicking back with a group of friends, popping open a cold one, and having a party. In Florida, we see advertisements of retirement communities where seniors can play golf, hang out with friends and enjoy nice walks on the beach. It’s evident that a “good life” means different things to different people. In these cases, “good” equals “fun.” But in the bigger scheme of things, can we really know the life we are living is “good” in the eyes of God. Who defines what is truly “good” and whether we are living a life that is good? How does this relate to our life in Christ?
In this parenthesis, we find the connection between our identity and our walk. At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit places us into the Church, the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians12:13). We become saints not by virtue of what we’ve done but by virtue of who we are. But we are not left to walk in our own power to fulfill our identity. The Holy Spirit indwells us for the purpose of living a life under the power of God.
Our conscience is designed to recognize goodness, righteousness and truth. Unfortunately, we live in a world system that will question, violate and eventually sear the conscience. All three of these are not regarded as absolutes but are judged as relative attributes. By defining these virtues in a relative sense, any real definition is lost and it becomes impossible to recognize what is good, righteous or true. All of it becomes subjective and therefore our lives are defined by self. The only way to live according to a standard higher than self, according to a moral conscience that is consistent with a Higher Authority, is to abandon the relative and cling to the absolute. The only way to understand and live in the absolute is to have a source and authority outside of self. This is what allows us to live consistently according to the faith we hold and Christ we proclaim. For the believer, the Holy Spirit is the connection between our identity and our walk. Any virtue produced in our lives after salvation are to the glory of God because He is the One producing it.
Renewed Thought – “As Christians grow in holy living, they sense their own inherent moral weakness and rejoice that whatever virtue they possess flourishes as the fruit of the Spirit.” – D.A. Carson