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What Is Good?

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by George Bentch
Our four year old grandson did something that displeased his mother. She said, "It was bad for you to do that." He looked up and asked, "What is good?"
His question made me think of the times I have taught from Galatians 5:19-21. Each time identifying the bad without explaining what is good. For every bad action there are good actions that oppose it. There is no positive action in, "Thou shalt not." Both baby humans and baby Christians need to be taught "do this, avoid that." Christianity is a religion of action. Righteousness is doing right things. We must explain what is good. Paul did that as he pointed out the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22-26.
ADULTERY is having sexual relations with someone other than your mate. It is the ultimate sin against the divine institu­tion of marriage. It is breaking the vow to forsake all others and be true to our mate. IT is bad!
It is good for a man and woman to commit themselves to a lifetime of faith­fulness. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 9:9, "live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity."
The words of Genesis 2:24 are won­derful. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Jesus added in Mark 10:9, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." If it is good and pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity, how much more for husband and wife? Keeping the vows of marriage sacred leads to a beautiful God-pleasing life. It is where two people find love, joy, peace, and fulfillment as they support each other in the Christian life—blessed indeed.
 
FORNICATION and adultery are the same act under different circumstances. Sexual relations by those who are un­married is fornication. If one is married it is adultery. Fornication may cause one to be tempted to commit adultery. It is a sin that will damage the foundation of future marriage. Paul wrote in First Corinthians 6:18, "He that committethfornication sinneth against his own body." IT is bad!
It is good that we remain morally pure. Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:22, "Flee also youthful lusts." In 1 Cor. 6:18 he wrote, "Flee fornication." In the apos­tle's letter to the Gentiles in Acts 15, they were told to abstain from fornica­tion. In 1 Cor. 7:2, Paul wrote that it was good that every man have his own wife and that every woman have her own husband to avoid fornication. It is good that we heed Paul's words in 1 Tim. 5:22, "Keep thyself pure."
 
UNCLEANNESS is to be indecent, ob­scene or morally impure. IT is bad!
It is good that we remember we live in the presence of God. We should be decent in language and conduct and dress. It is good that we avoid obscene or profane language. Paul wrote in Eph. 5:3-4, "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness let it not be once named among you as becometh saints. Neither filthiness nor foolish talking nor jesting which are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks." It is good to keep in mind that we are not to be con­formed to this world which is enter­tained by obscenity, indecency, and sometimes profanity.
 
LASCIVIOUSNESS is looking with lust or evil desire. In Proverbs 23:6, Solomon warns of those who have an evil eye. The lewd covers on magazines stir evil thoughts. I am told that the desire to look at pornography is the fastest growing addiction in this country. IT is bad! It is good that we turn our eyes away from evil sights. Job said, "I have made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?" David wrote in Psalms 101:3, "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me." It is good to walk away from lewd or obscene conversation. Hebrews 3:13 tells us to, "Exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Constant exposure to the sight and sounds of sin will harden our conscience until sin no lon­ger offends us.
 
IDOLATRY is worshiping of things other than the living and true God. An idol is anything that becomes more important than serving and worshiping God. IT is bad!
It is good that we heed the words of Paul. In Col. 3:5-6 he wrote, "mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inor­dinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness which is idolatry: for which things sake, the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience."
It is good that we remember that the all knowing, all-powerful God loves us. Paul wrote in 1 Tim. 6:17 that we should not "trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." He is justly due our praise, our worship, and our love. I John 4:19 says, "We love him, because he first loved us." This is wonderful to consider as we trust in His promises, looking forward to heaven. Nothing on this earth can promise us anything that is eternal.
 
WITCHCRAFT suggests someone trading their soul to Satan for powers he can give and also worshipping him. Our society treats it as something that is harmless instead of the evil practice that it is. IT is bad!
It is good that we give our soul to God by obeying His Word. We must worship Him in spirit and truth. 1 Cor 6:20 tells us, "Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." It is good that we open our eyes to the igno­rance of our society. We must see witch­craft for the evil it is. The law of Moses said, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" (Exodus 22:18). Isaiah admonished the people of Israel in Isaiah 8:19, "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto wizards that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God?" Those who teach, practice, and promote witchcraft would turn us away from God. It is good that we, as children of God, recognize Him as our Father and submit ourselves to His will.
 
HATRED is to have strong ill will toward someone with desire to hurt them in word or deed. IT is bad!
Jesus said there are two great com­mandments. One is "Love the Lord." The other is, "Love thy neighbor." It is good that we have love in our hearts toward all people. It has been said that pity is akin to love. We should also feel pity for those in error. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem as he considered the sins of the people. It was love that brought our Lord to this earth. John wrote in 1 John 4:17, "Every One that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." Love is a beautiful God-given emotion. Romans 13:10 tells us, "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." We must love others in spite of their faults. Love will cause us to forgive others, thus avoiding hatred.
 
VARIANCE is being inconsistent. It brings discord and distrust. James warns that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. IT is bad!
It is good that we be as Christ is: the same yesterday, today, and forever, speaking the truth always. That way we don't have to try to remember what we said yesterday. Ephesians 4:25 tells us, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another."
We must be consistent in our belief, having that faith that comes from hear­ing God's Word. Changing our mind when proved wrong is not variance. Refusing to change is stubbornness. Samuel told Saul that stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry (1 Sam. 15:23).
 
EMULATION is the desire for superior­ity. It suggests rivalry between brethren. It is demonstrated by people like Diotrephes who John said, ".. .loveth to have the preeminence among them." IT is bad!
In Psalms 133:1, David wrote, "Be­hold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." Paul in Romans 12:10 wrote, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with broth­erly love; in honour preferring one an­other." Then in 1 Cor 10:24, "Let no man seek his own, but every man an­other's wealth." We must understand that we are all equal in God's eyes. He is no respecter of persons.
It is good that we strive to do our best in God's service without looking down on others. Arrogance is not a Christian attribute. Jesus, in Luke 18:9, "Spake a parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others." What­ever we have is a gift from God. It is good that we not be lifted up with pride one against another.
 
WRATH is violent uncontrolled anger or grudge bearing. IT is bad!
It is good that we remember Eph. 4:26, "Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath." Also James 1:20 tells us, "The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." Anger is a natural reaction, but we must have self control. James 1:19 tells us to be slow to speak, slow to wrath. There is never a time when we are not account­able for our words and actions. Hebrews 10:30 says, "For we know Him that hath said, 'Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again the Lord shall judge His people."
 
STRIFE is contention in anger or enmity. It leads to discord and division. IT is bad!
It is good that we be easily entreated and sympathetic to another's view point. In doing so we cannot adjust the truth or compromise to get along with those in error. Jude tells us to earnestly contend for the faith. Paul told Timothy, "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." In all con­frontations the Bible must be recognized as the absolute authority.
 
SEDITION is the stirring of discontent with or against authority. It is a possible result of emulation and strife. IT is Bad! It is good that we accept and submit to authority.   Hebrews 13:17 tells us, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves for they watch for your souls, as they that must give ac­count, that they may do it with joy and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." This refers to the overseers of the church who are concerned with our spiritual well being. In Titus 3:1, Paul refers to civil authority. "Put them in mind to be subject to the principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work." Any rebel­lion against authority is bad. We must not pull away or divide from those who hold the truth. Paul admonished the Corinthians against divisions. I Cor. 1:10 reads, "Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." We should be, as Paul told the Colossians "knit together in love."
 
HERESIES are doctrines opposed to established principals, or intending to create division. THEY are bad!
Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim 2:15, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth." Our studies should be to find and support the truth. We should not study to support our own opinions. It is good that we stand for the truth against all false doctrines. Paul told the Corinthi­ans, "There must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." We must always labor for God's approval, laying aside our pride in submission to His will. In 2 Cor 10:18 Paul wrote, "Not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth." He praised the Corinthians for keeping the ordinances as he had delivered them. (1 Cor. 11:2) Solomon tells us the Lord hates those who sow discord among brethren. It is good that we fear God!
 
ENVY is to be discontented with the sight of another's success. It is related to covetousness which Paul said is idolatry (Col. 3:5). IT is bad!
It is good that we love others to the extent that we are pleased by their suc­cess. The command is "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." We should be happy to see our neighbors succeed both temporally and spiritually. It is good that we compliment others on their spiritual growth. Words of approval mean a great deal to those who are growing in the faith.
 
MURDER is the destruction of human life. IT is bad!
It is good that we count human life of great value. Life is a gift from God. John warns in 1 John 3:15 "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abid­ing in him."
It is good that we help others to live both physically and spiritually. The thought of taking someone's life should never enter our mind. Thus we cannot be involved in carnal warfare. Neither can we consider killing a baby by abor­tion.
There is such a thing as spiritual mur­der. If by my words or actions I lead someone away from the truth, they die spiritually. Those who promote unscriptural doctrines or speak words of dis­couragement will answer to Almighty God! It is good that we speak the truth in love, leading others to life eternal.
 
Drunkenness is indulging in alcoholic drinks until memory and self control are lost. That applies to the use of drugs for the same result. IT is bad!
It is good that we keep our wits about us and maintain self control at all times. We should follow Paul's example keep­ing control over our bodies (1 Cor. 9:25-27). Solomon tells us, "Wine is a mocker; strong drink is raging and who­soever is deceived thereby is not wise." It is good that we avoid anything that takes away our reason. It is good that we remember that drinking and drugs are easy to start, but very hard to stop. The best way is to stop before you start. Remember Paul included drunkards in the list of those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
 
REVELING is noisy festivity or rioting often associated with drunkenness. IT is bad!
It is good that we know where to stop in our celebrations. It is good when we enjoy our festivity without encroaching on the rights of others. We must avoid involvement in any gathering that incites rebellion or destruction of other people's property. Peter wrote that they who count it pleasure to riot in the daytime will receive the reward of unrighteousness.
It is good that we, as Paul wrote in Eph. 5:15, "Walk circumspectly." That is, looking around and being alert to present dangers. By doing this we avoid being involved in fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. James warns that we are tempted when we are drawn away of our own lusts and enticed. Sometimes there is a struggle within us over what we want and what is right. John warns us that if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us. It is good that we do not follow the example of Demas. He ex­changed the love of truth for the love of this present world. 
It is good that we remember that this present world will end, but eternity will not. There is joy ahead for those who do as Jesus said. That is, deny self, take up the cross, and follow his example. He achieved glory by way of the cross.
 —105 W. Jefferson, Richland, MO 65556
 

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