How do you show kindness to someone? What does it mean to be kind? In this 5th video in the 9-part video series on the Fruit of the Spirit, digital artist Daniel T. Adams tackles that very question. While watching the "Kindness" picture being created in this Bible Speed Art video, you can see what the Bible says about kindness and see what that means for your life, and the lives of those around you.
A KINDNESS OF ITS OWN KIND
Its easy to what to hear about kindness and think that it means to just be nice. It’s what us parents tend to teach our kids. We often interchange the phrase “be kind” with be nice. However, as we take a look at God’s Word – which is the ultimate authority for all things – we see a kindness much more distinct and far more excellent and profitable.
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable to everyone.”
These verses written by Paul are a wonderful place to begin understanding kindness, more importantly, God’s kindness. However, to understand kindness, we first need to be reminded of our need to be freed from the power of sin. Which is why these verses begin being reminded about the way we all enter this world, as those are lost in our own “passions and pleasures”. Not only are we sinners, but we are enslaved to sin. Thanks to other writings in the New Testament, we also know that there is a price to be paid for sin. It says this in the book of Romans:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Elsewhere in the Scripture, we see that sin is a global problem, meaning that it effects every man and woman born in this world.
“What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.'”
I think its plain to see that, not only does sin have a penalty of death to be paid, but that sin affects each and everyone of us. Nobody can escape the wages of sin because we all sin, and therefore we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This problem poses a very important question for us all: If we are all sinners, is there any hope for us at all? Keep reading and find out.
THE FORGIVENESS IN KINDNESS
Without forgiveness for sin, there is no way out of the penalty of death. We’re stuck. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a hopeless cause. That is why I thank my Lord and Savior every day, because in Christ, the story does not end so bleak and disastrously. In the book of Hebrews, the writer gives us some important information of what is required for forgiveness. It is written:
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
As we see if we were to take time to read through the Old Testament offerings and sacrifices, we would see an illustration of what Jesus did for us on the cross. In the law, the requirements provided were not enough to offer forgiveness of sins however. because, as it is written,
It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
The blood of the sacrifices in the Old Testament was good to only cover sins for a time, which is why they were needed to be offered every year. The blood of the animal was only enough to cover the sins, and yet only for a year. It makes sense, because the blood of an animal can not pay the price for the sins of mankind. However, they were meant to be an annual reminder that in the proper time, God would send the Messiah – the Anointed and Chosen servant of God – to be the one sacrifice that would, once and for all, be able to offer forgiveness of sins. Due to that fact that mankind was needing to be redeemed from the grip of sin, it would require the sacrifice to be like man in every, yet to be without sin. This is where Jesus comes into play.
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.'”
1 Peter 2:21-22
We can see from Peter that the life Jesus lived, although a man just like all of us, was not bound to sins of his own that required atonement. This, then, would allow him to be the perfect and only sacrifice worthy to offer us a chance at forgiveness from sin.
“The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”
With all that being said, we can clearly see that the first part of kindness has to do with the forgiveness that God offers us through his Son, Jesus Christ. What an amazing and incredible gift that was offered!!! All praise and glory to you, Father God Almighty!
REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS HERE!
Knowing that there is forgiveness found through the blood of Jesus should not be something that we understand in vain. In fact, the Bible teaches us that there is a designed result that should come about from truly understanding the kindness of God. As it is written:
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
As we can see from these 4 simple verses, the goal of God’s kindness should be leading us to repentance. Knowing of the forgiveness that God offers us freely should be enough of a reason to turn us towards Christ, and therefore away from the sinful life that has enslaved us since birth. To claim a belief in Jesus and yet want to live in our sinful nature is not only impossible, but it is a way of slapping God in the face for the kindness He has shown us. So rather than judging others for their sin, as outlined in the verses above, should we not be focusing on living in the richness of God’s mercy instead of the sinful nature? Why do we hold to our old passions and pleasures instead of clinging to the very words of God.
God’s mercy is the next thing to understand when it comes to true kindness. As we mentioned earlier, we all deserve the wages of sin, however, when we turn to God and away from our sinful nature, we find that God’s mercy is there to offer us a living hope and an inheritance in his kingdom that will never spoil, perish or fade (1 Peter 1:3-4). This is a gift that none of us deserve, yet through faith in Jesus we are given it freely. We get to be called children of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)! Amazing! With that being said, we should now have a clear picture of the kindness of God, by understanding the forgiveness and mercy of God our Savior. So, now what?
PUTTING ACTION TO KINDNESS
As we continue to go through the Fruit of the Spirit series, we are seeing an incredible thing unfolding. When we give our heart to Jesus as Christ and Lord, the Spirit of God gives us a new nature. The old is gone. The new remains. The character that we receive is the character of Christ, and through the Spirit of God the nature of God becomes our nature. Therefore, as we see the kindness of God at play, that same kindness should be the life and example that a true believer is showing to the world.
So, why is there so much division in the world of “Christianity”? Why is one church judging another? Why are we hating one another instead of showing the world what the forgiveness and mercy of God looks like. And how can we live the kindness of God if we are still struggling with the previous parts of the fruit of the Spirit? Hopefully by this point in the series we can start to see why we have to begin with self-control and then move up from there.
The choice is yours! If you are someone who claims to be a believer in Jesus Christ, do the people in the wake of your life able to see and understand the forgiveness and mercy of our God? We should be the difference. We should be the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s time to take true kindness to the world through the Word of Christ. As it is written:
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”