Goodness Comes from Christ Alone

Maria I. MorganBlog Archive, Understanding God's Plan

Goodness Comes from Christ Alone


As Christians, we can easily err one of two ways—we either develop a Pharisaical attitude where we begin to feel as if we have it all together and have “arrived” in our faith, so to speak. Or, we live as if we’ve never been changed, as if our old nature still has power over us. In the first example, we focus on performance instead of Christ in us. In the second, we focus on our fight against sin instead of growing our relationship with Christ.

Neither view is correct or helpful because in both, we’re focusing on ourselves rather than the Fruit Producer (Gal. 5:22-24). He is the One who gives us the power and desire to live differently, in a way that pleases God.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us goodness is the fruit, or product, of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it grows as we lean on and yield to Him.

A look at Paul


Paul wrote the book of Galatians. When we first meet him in Acts 7 & 8, he belonged to a highly religious and ritualistic group. They knew the Old Testament Law well and followed it meticulously.

Their lives were characterized by obsessive rule following. It appears much of their behavior stemmed from two motivations: first, they were trying to make themselves right with God. Second, they enjoyed elevating themselves in the eyes of their peers.

The results were ugly—hateful and murderous.

Scripture tells us about a Christian named Stephen who was seized and brought before the Sanhedrin (or high council).

There he defended the Christian faith—from the Old Testament, the Torah. In other words, he revealed evidence for Jesus using the law the Sanhedrin worked so hard to keep.

This enraged them, reminding me of Jesus’ words in the book of John:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.John 5:39-40, KJV

These “religious” men stoned Stephen while Paul watched, and he agreed completely with the killing. (Acts 8:1)

A radical transformation


But then, Paul came to Christ, or rather, Christ came to Him and transformed him completely, setting him free from his slavery to sin. (Romans 8)

Paul wasn’t simply taught a better way to live; he was empowered to live it. God removed his sinful, deceived, and stony heart and replaced it with a heart of flesh—one that would be sensitive to Him (Ez. 36:26). Paul now had the ability to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16). To allow the Spirit to guide his life.       

As we yield to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to lead and guide us, we will not gratify or carry out sinful desires. Notice, the emphasis isn’t on our efforts or hard work, but rather on the Holy Spirit working within us as we yield to Him. (John 15:5)

This is how we experience the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.

The more we yield to Christ and stay connected to Him, the more fruit He will produce in us.

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Love. Joy. Peace. Longsuffering (or enduring patience). Gentleness. Goodness. Faith. Meekness. Temperance (or self-control).

Goodness. The goodness Paul is referring to here comes from the root word agathós, which means “inherently” or “intrinsically good.” This is our new identity, our new nature, in Christ. We are no longer bound to our old behaviors and thought patterns! In Christ, we have everything we need to live dramatically different, transformed, God-honoring lives.

The goal, then, is to learn to live out our new nature so that we can more consistently reveal the goodness God’s Spirit is producing within us.

Your turn


Are you displaying the fruit of the Spirit, goodness, in your actions? What step will you take to do so today?


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More About Jennifer


Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com, is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, a ministry that exists to help women experience God’s love  and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. She and her team travel to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer.

When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her website and connect with her and the Wholly Loved team here.

Newest release: Healing Love


Genre: Women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread

Dual setting—Southern California, and El Salvador

Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com, is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, a ministry that exists to help women experience God’s love  and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. She and her team travel to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer.

When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her website and connect with her and the Wholly Loved team here.