Goodness and Faith
“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge” (v. 5).- 2 Peter 1:1-11
Goodness concerns the quality of generosity which perhaps is the principle focus of the fruit of the Spirit—at least regarding interpersonal relations. In the Bible, however, good also means “fitting, ordered, beautiful.” We see that used throughout Genesis 1, where each time God made something, He evaluated it as good, and at the end He evaluated the entire ordered cosmos as very good.
Protestant Christians do not seem very concerned with beauty. That is a problem because God is very concerned with it. God is Himself beautiful, and when He appears, He appears in glory. The tabernacle and the temple, built to His specifications, were masterpieces of color, form, balance, and order. God wrote 150 psalms, and other hymns as well, to be sung to musical instruments, and this obviously calls for great artistry, artistry worthy of the texts God has written.
As the Spirit is poured into our hearts, we will more and more appreciate good music, great art, fine literature, good architecture, and proper worship. It is a black mark against evangelicals that our music is so often simplistic and maudlin, our art propagandistic, our literature superficial, our church buildings either shabby or glitzy, and our worship centered on entertainment. The Spirit who hovered over the world and helped build it, who inspired Bezalel and Oholiab to build the tabernacle and David to write the Psalms, should be working in us to appreciate and create great art.
The fruit of faith is basically the fruit of trust. It implies faithfulness. The more we grow in grace, the more faithful to God we shall become. If we really believe God, we will not sin. First of all, we will believe Him when He says He will punish sin. Second of all, we will believe that He has given His law for our own good, and we will trust Him. Thus, the more trusting we become, the more faithful and loyal we become.
As we grow in trust we also grow in trustworthiness. God will entrust more to us, and people will also trust us more. We will also find it easier to trust others, because our confidence in God overwhelms our distrust of other people. Such trust works to build up the church, the community of the Spirit.
What are some practical steps you can take to increase your knowledge and appreciation of beauty expressed through great music and art? What about a class on these subjects in your church? If your church is not interested, what can you as a Christian individual do?
Passages for Further Study