The Test Of Goodness

Applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge.
–2 Peter 1:5

How do you know if you are spiritually healthy? The first test is the test of goodness. Paul said to the church in Rome, “I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness” (15:14).

What did Paul mean when he said they were “full of goodness”? He was talking to people who were already saved. So when Paul said they were “full of goodness,” he not only meant they were full of Christ’s goodness because they had been declared not guilty, but he was also talking about ethical righteousness. Now that they were saved, sin was no longer the rule of their lives; it was the exception. If you are truly a Christian, then you are full of goodness. That word “goodness” is a desire to want to please God.

Can you honestly say that your tendency as a Christian is to do the right thing in every situation? Is your desire above all to please God? For example, if a cashier accidentally gives you too much change, is your inclination to return it or to keep it? When somebody has a need that you are capable of meeting, is your inclination to meet that need or to look the other way? Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us that good works are useless in gaining our salvation. Paul said, “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Good works cannot earn our salvation, but good works are important after we are saved. In the next verse, Paul said, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (2:10). A natural result of salvation is goodness–a desire to do the right thing.

Peter said that this goodness in our lives is the primary sign of whether we are truly saved. In 2 Peter 1:5, he wrote, “Applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge.” Peter was saying, “After you are saved, there are some things you have to supply to make your faith complete. And at the top of the list is moral excellence.” That is another word for goodness. If you are saved, then goodness will permeate your life. Then Peter said in verse 10, “Be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.”

Do you have any doubts about whether you are really saved? One way to know whether you are saved, Peter says, is this: Is the quality of moral excellence a part of your everyday life? Do you have a desire for goodness? You cannot be good enough to earn salvation, but once you are truly saved, goodness will flow out of your life. If it doesn’t, then you have reason to doubt your salvation. One test of your spiritual health is the test of goodness.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “It’s Time For A Checkup” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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