For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added to the Lord.
A good man is —
I. A CONVERTED MAN. "In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." "There is none that doeth good, no, not one." These statements are not inconsistent with the fact, that there is a natural conscience in man, and that there are amiable feelings urging to noble and generous actions; nor can it be denied that, apart from the power of Divine grace, there is often a striking superiority of one man above another. But the qualities of unconverted men come far short of goodness; nay, they serve to show more strongly the wickedness of the human heart, which resists the dictates of natural conscience, and the admonitions of the Word of God. We must, therefore, be "transformed, by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." The eyes of our understanding must be enlightened, our affections must be fixed supremely on God. We must be dead to sin, that we may live unto righteousness. Till then, sin must have dominion over us.
II. A MAN WHO BELIEVES IN CHRIST AND MAKES OPEN AND STEADFAST PROFESSION OF HIS FAITH. Infidelity is obviously incompatible with true goodness; for it is the wilful deliberate rejection of the truth. But unbelief, in the sense of the refusal of a sinner to accept of Christ as his Saviour, is equally incompatible. How can it be otherwise? All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. A Saviour has been provided, and, in the riches of the Divine beneficence, has been freely offered to men. Can there be any goodness in the heart which remains unmoved by love like this? Is there anything but the spirit of unholy rebellion in the breast of that man who refuses to comply with the first duty of a perishing sinner? No, a life of holy obedience must have its beginning in submission to the righteousness of Christ as the only ground of acceptance. And this faith we must openly and steadfastly profess. Believing with the heart unto righteousness, with the mouth we must make confession unto salvation. This is one of the evidences of the sincerity of our faith, the proof to ourselves, and the world around us, that our faith is a true and a saving faith, and not merely the cold speculative belief of the doctrine of Christ.
III. A MAN OF PIETY AND DEVOTEDNESS. Who can deny that it is one of the first duties of man to love God, and to seek to please Him? He is the all-perfect Jehovah, the fountain of our being, and the source of all our happiness; one whom we are under the strongest obligations to love, and fear, and serve. If it be our duty to love and honour our fellow men, much more it is our duty to love and honour God. This will appear still more evident if we consider that where there is no piety, the opposite dispositions must have the ascendency in our souls. If we do not love God, we must be at enmity with Him (Matthew 6:21; James 4:4).
IV. A MAN OF ACTIVE AND ENLIGHTENED BENEFICENCE. The Second Commandment of the law is as essential to real goodness as the First. Love to men never fails to flow from love to God. Love is the fulfilling of the law; it completes the character of a true Christian. No gifts or endowments, however excellent, can compensate for the want of Christian love. But all beneficence is not goodness. There is the beneficence of sudden impulses; the beneficence which needs to be awakened by touching representations; the beneficence of the Pharisee, who doeth his alms before men to be seen of them; extorted beneficence compelled by the example of others — the beneficence of fashion or custom, not of religious or even moral principle. True good. ness or beneficence is different from all these. It has its root in a renewed heart. It is constant and uniform — a habit not an act — an ever-flowing stream, not the effervescence of momentary feeling. A good man loves his fellow men, and because he loves them he is earnestly desirous of promoting their real welfare. His "liberal mind deviseth liberal things."
V. A MAN WHO ENDEAVOURS TO REGULATE HIS WHOLE TEMPER AND CONDUCT BY THE MAXIMS AND PRECEPTS OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. He recognises the law of God as the only rule of his life and conversation. The law is not made void, it is established, by faith. Other men are governed by the principles of the world, principles often decidedly at variance with the law of God, and the morality of the gospel. A good man steadfastly refuses to submit to their authority.
VI. A MAN WHO EARNESTLY DESIRES THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE DIVINE GLORY AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF HIS KINGDOM. "None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself," etc. This desire is not confined to the duties of prayer and praise. The good man is actuated by a holy solicitude that every part of his conduct may be so entirely in agreement with the law of Christ, as to curb and restrain the wickedness of the ungodly, and to strengthen and encourage the hearts of true believers in the diligent pursuit and practice of true holiness.
(P. McFarlan, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.