"Because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." (v.7)
We are seeing that "goodness" is essential goodness -- goodness in the inner parts. William Sangster, in my view, comes closest to grasping the content of this sixth fruit of the Spirit when he says: "Goodness is the impression a Christian makes as he moves on his way, blissfully unaware that he is reminding people of Jesus Christ." Perhaps we can get no nearer to a definition of supernatural goodness than that -- reminding people of Jesus Christ. But note the words -- "blissfully unaware ..." A Christian is largely unconscious of this fruit at work within him, for it is not something he tries to manufacture but something that flows out of his deep relationship with Jesus Christ.
George Muller of Bristol, the man who cared for so many stranded orphans, was said to demonstrate the fruit of "goodness" to a remarkable degree. Dr. A.
T. Pierson says in his biography of the great man that one day, Muller was pressed to share what he considered to be the power behind his ministry, and he surprised his questioner by talking about his secret death. "There was a day," he said, "when I died; utterly died" -- and as he spoke, he bent lower until he almost touched the floor. He continued: "I died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved of God." In those who manifest the fruit of goodness, one thing is always clear -- they have "died" to their own interests and have returned to "live" for Christ's.
Gracious and loving Father, help me also to "die" to my own interests so that I might return and live for Your interests. Whatever I need to bring me to this place, lead me toward it -- today. In Christ's Name I ask it. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What was Paul's testimony?
2. Why did he have to admonish the Colossians?