|Vol. 13 No. 6 June 2011||
Virtually every member of the Lord’s church knows exactly what Acts 2:38 says: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
How many of us have ever focused our attention on what Acts 10:38 says? “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Luke 13:17b says, “…all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.”
Jesus speaking in John 8:29 said, “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” None of us will ever be able to truthfully make that statement. However, we must understand God is counting on us to go about doing good. His expectation is that our entire lives are lived in righteousness and holiness. Paul tells us we must “…be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24).
One of the many definitions of the word “good” in Vine’s Dictionary is being morally honorable, pleasing to God, and therefore beneficial, that which is ethically right and noble.
Have we ever given any serious thought to the fact that going about doing good is part of the reason we have been saved? God has not given us life on this planet merely to be taking up space, eating up food, wearing out shoes and clothes, and occupying a house! He wants us to have a future and a hope, so that He can fulfill His purpose for creating us (Jeremiah 29:11-13)!
Luke 13:6-9 tells the parable Jesus spoke about the unfruitful fig tree. Jesus said that a certain man had planted a fig tree in his vineyard and had come seeking fruit and found none. Verse 7 reads, “Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, good. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’” In verses 8-9, we see that God does give us time to come to the realization that we are to go about doing good.
We do not have that long to be here, so God is not going to wait on us all of our Christian lives hoping we will grow and mature! Jesus Himself said in John 9:4, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” We must go about doing good now — in this present moment, because now — in this present moment, is all we have!
Micah 6:6-8 asks very precise and meticulous questions regarding God’s expectations of us as His people. The answers are in the final question. “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Then we have that all too familiar heart wrenching James 4:17 which will confront us all the days of lives. “Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James lets us know we do not have to be actively engaged in some abominable sin to be displeasing to God. Yet, how often do we fail in our duties and choices? David Bragg, a brother in the faith, wrote a book entitled, Pure Religion: A Study of James. A few of his observations on James 4:17 are noteworthy. He says:
A recent bulletin article for the congregation was entitled, “Complaints,” Author Unknown. It began with: “Never once did our Lord have a path free from trouble.” One paragraph states: “When He did His best to be kind and loving in the face of mockery, they took Him as a sheep to the slaughter and drenched Calvary with His precious blood. And yet, in spite of it all, He never grumbled about His burden. Jesus did not complain at all! He just went about doing good.”
Psalm 22 speaks of the Messiah’s suffering and hope as He was to die for our ultimate good! Verse 24 says, “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He [God] hidden His face from Him [Christ]; but when He cried to Him, He heard.” Isaiah 53 is a description of the sin-bearing Messiah. Verse 7 reads, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was lead as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”
Again, 1 Peter 2:20-23 puts forth the description of how Jesus Christ, the highest example of love went about doing good. “For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.’; who, when He was reviled did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” Are we daily seeking to go about doing good? Draper’s Book of Quotations by Edythe Draper incites us on the waste and abuse of the time God has given to us all.“It’s up to me to use it.