The big picture: Goodness and good works are acts designed specifically to benefit others, which are characteristic of God. We can be good because God is good. And He is in a good mood. Good works are not a “bad thing”. They will not save us but that isn’t the point.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” ~Jesus
God’s goal: Jesus requires and enables us to do good, although such is contrary to our human nature. Salvation does not depend on good works but leads to them. We are called to be like God, as a child of God. We are a new creation, not subject to our old self that missed God’s goal for our lives.
We have the power of the Holy Spirit and His fruit is growing in us. That is some very good news. Good works are characteristic of God. God is in a good mood. God has my best interests at the core of His being.
Goodness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit of God. Goodness is the quality of being or doing good. In the fruits of the Spirit, I think I have to see them in tandem. Do I have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? If so, I probably also have goodness.
Paul lists the “fruit of the Spirit”. “Fruit,” here, means “beneficial results,” the good things that come from the Spirit’s indwelling. As the Holy Spirit works in my life, my character changes. Where I had harbored selfishness, cruelty, rebelliousness, and spite, I now possess love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Everything in the list reflects the character of God, and goodness is one that relates directly to morality.
- Acts 10:37–38 (NASB) — You yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
- Jeremiah 32:36–40 (NASB) — “Now therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine and by pestilence.’ “Behold, I will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety. “They shall be My people, and I will be their God; and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. “I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.
- Psalm 119:17 (NASB) — Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word.
- Psalm 119:65 (NASB) — You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord, according to Your word.
- Psalm 125:1–4 (NASB) — Those who trust in the Lord Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people From this time forth and forever. For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous, So that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong. Do good, O Lord, to those who are good And to those who are upright in their hearts.
- Jeremiah 32:41 (NASB) — “I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul.
- Micah 2:7 (NASB) — “Is it being said, O house of Jacob: ‘Is the Spirit of the Lord impatient? Are these His doings?’ Do not My words do good To the one walking uprightly?
- Zechariah 8:14–15 (NASB) — “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Just as I purposed to do harm to you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and I have not relented, so I have again purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear!
Jesus clearly calls us to do good works!