GOODNESS: DOING GOOD TO ALL MEN by Bishop Dr. J. Akin Atere

TOPIC: GOODNESS: DOING GOOD TO ALL MEN

TEXT: GALATIANS 6:10

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

In this Epistle of Paul, he is exhorting us that as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us be morally good to all people, not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage.

Paul describes the experience we feel when we are amongst our brothers and sisters, by referring to us all as the household of faith.

He has been talking about how we are to look out for one another, to protect each other from the snares of sin, and to be careful to teach sound doctrine while being discerning towards false teachers. And then he says we are to do this to everyone, and  especially to those who are of the household of faith.

What is a household? It is not necessarily the same thing as a family. The dictionary says a household is “the people living together in one house collectively.”

In Acts 11, we read of the household of Cornelius which consisted of his own family as well as servants and even “A devout soldier”. Peter repeats the words of the angel who spoke to Cornelius saying, ‘send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ (vs 13 & 14).

And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

In Acts 16:11-15, we read of the conversion and baptism of Lydia and her household, and of the Philippians and his household, although his household is also referred to in verse 33 as his family.

We know from reading of the Book of Revelation that the household of faith will ultimately consist of people from every tongue, tribe, and nation on earth that has ever existed. So with the vast majority of believers, the only thing we have in common with one another is faith.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave no free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:28

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, save, free, but Christ is all, and in all. Col. 3:11

“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”

Obviously, if you’ve read any of the preceding five and a half chapters,  you know this  doing of good, this performing of good deeds is not meant to have any connection with acquiring salvation. But there is a connection with salvation. The saved are expected to do good. Believers are commanded repeatedly to do good. We have even been predestined by God to do good. Eph. 2:10

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

God has foreordained particular good works for His people to do. We are to be good people, not just morally, but actively. We are to be about the work of doing good. (1 Tim. 6:17-18).

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.”

We should be working at doing good for others even to the point of becoming weary and discouraged in it.

The particular good I believe Paul speaks of  here is the instruction in sound doctrine of those who have fallen for the deceitful teaching of the Judaizers.

I am convinced it takes many years, and in some cases, decades, to establish a doctrinally sound and spirituality mature church. We’re slow learners when it comes to spiritual matters, particularly mature church. We’re slow learners when it comes to spiritual matters, particularly when we need to correct false ideas we’ve been taught.

Teaching sound doctrine isn’t the only good is referring to. He is speaking of doing good in general as we have opportunity, or as the occasion arises. When a need presents itself in the providence of God, we should be eager to meet that need, whatever it may be, and work to meet that need as we are able. Paul says we are to do good to everyone.

But in this verse there is also a priority for meeting the needs of others. Our fellow believers are first in line. We’re to do good especially to those who are of the household of faith, particularly to our fellow believers, first to our fellow members in the Body of Christ.

See that no one repays anyone evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 1 Thessanians 5:15

“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. Matthew 25:40

CONCLUSION

We have opportunity – while it is the time of sowing let us sow the good seed; and let our love be, as the love of Christ freely, manifested to all. Let us help all who need help according to the uttermost of our power; but let the first objects of our regards be those who are of the household of faith – the members of the Church of Christ, who form one family, of which Jesus Christ is the head. Those have the first claims on our attention, but all others have their claims also, and therefore we should do good unto all men – This is the true rule about doing good. convenient; or when it will advance the interest of a party; or when it may contribute to our fame; the rule is, that we are to do it when we have the opportunity.