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110 The Fruits of God’s Spirit: Goodness

The presence of the Holy Spirit will manifest itself in certain ways often called the fruits [or indicators] of the presence of the Holy Spirit, which will develop more and more over time, as we overcome more and more and grow in godliness.  

The scriptures contain a list of the Fruits of God’s Spirit and also a list of the Gifts of God’s Spirit.  Fruits means the evidence of God’s Spirit and nature in a person.  The Gifts of love, wisdom, knowledge and faith  are the same as the fruits, but the gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues are additional special gifts for the edifying of the whole assembly.  This series will present identical Fruits and Gifts together in the same articles, and will place those specific Gifts [healing, tongues and prophecy] not included in the list of Fruits in their own articles. 

We call the end results of anything, its consequences or fruits;  the Holy Spirit in us produces these fruits in us.  

The Holy Spirit is the essence and nature of God, therefore GOD IS:  Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love [agape], joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 523 Meekness, temperance: and we are to grow to become like God.

The fruits of God’s Spirit are the evidences or proofs of God’s Spirit and nature in us.  When we plant a seed that seed will germinate and grow to become a plant.  When God plants his Holy Spirit in us, it will grow [if nurtured by much study,  putting away sin and internalizing godliness, and obedience to every Word of God] and fill us with the nature of God [the nature of God being the nature of God’s Spirit [the fruits of the Spirit].  

The nature of God and of the Spirit of God in us, grows in us through the unresisted presence and growth of God’s Spirit in us.   If we are diligent to learn and to live by every Word of God, to diligently seek all truth – for God is truth, and to reject every false thing, the very nature of God will grow in us, which nature is:  Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The Goodness of God

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The Bible goes on to say that for six days God worked at restoring the earth (Genesis 1:13-27). At the end of the sixth day, God looked at everything He had made, including the man and woman that He had made on the sixth day, and announced that everything that He had made was very GOOD.

Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

We see God’s goodness He has for mankind right from the beginning, in that He created a very beautiful world full of nature, the plants and animals, humans made in His image, and supplying for all the needs of His creation with everything that He described as good.

The sixth quality of the fruit of the Spirit, is called in the King James version of the Bible “GOODNESS.” Even though there is one particular fruit called goodness, the fact is that all nine of the fruits are truly good and they are all interconnected to each other.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Definition of Goodness

The English word goodness is defined as “the quality or state of being good.” Just what is meant to be “good”?  The general idea of what it is to have goodness; is to have the inner qualities of virtue, excellence of character, high morals and a congenial temperament that is then displayed in one’s conduct and words.

In our modern day usage we use the word good in a somewhat casual non-Biblical way. It has become such a common word, used frequently to describe a whole array of what good means. And the meaning behind what one is depicting as good can vary greatly from one person to another as to how “good” a particular thing is.

Free On-line Dictionary definition of good: something that is good, something conforming to the moral order of the universe, praiseworthy character, goodness, a good element or portion, advancement of prosperity or well-being, something useful or beneficial, something that has economic utility or satisfies an economic want, personal property having intrinsic value but usually excluding money, securities, and negotiable instruments, cloth, something manufactured or produced for sale, wares, merchandise, canned goods, good persons, the qualities required to achieve an end, forever, permanently, for the best, beneficial.

There are many ways that the word good is used, most of its uses depict it as a desirable quality, something commendable, pleasurable, admirable, exemplary, noble, kind, dependable, reliable, things that most would consider to be highly desirable things to have.

The Hebrew word used in Genesis 1 as “good” is towb (Strong’s #2896) and  its meaning is; beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, fair word, be in favor, from towb; good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adverb (well) — beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, X fair (word), (be in) favour, fine, glad, good (deed, -lier, -liest, -ly, -ness, -s), graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, liketh (best), loving, merry, X most, pleasant, + pleaseth, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare, (be) well (-favoured).

In our study on Gentleness [kindness] we looked at the Hebrew word, hesed, which is usually translated as mercy, love, loving-kindness, grace, loyalty or devotion and is similar to the definition of “goodness”. Each of these qualities expresses aspects of God’s goodness, therefore hesed is sometimes translated as goodness in accordance with the context in which it is being used.

When tob or tub (derived from towb) is translated as good or goodness, it means to be or make good, better, or well. All of these are things we think of as normally good. It is the context that determines which usage the translators choose. Tub is a noun and is frequently translated as “goodness,”

God Abounds in Goodness

God describes Himself as abounding in goodness and He is the very essence of what it is to be good.

Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth…

Only God can be be called good.

Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God…

It is God that is the very source of all that can truly be defined as good and having goodness. God does not have just a measure of goodness; He is all good, and abounds in goodness. His abundant goodness is expressed in mercy, patience, forgiveness, graciousness, long-suffering, and justice; and these things are overflowing, plenteous, and He continuously pours out His goodness. He wants to give this fruit of His Spirit to His children.

The Goodness of God is the Righteousness of God

As the Scriptures teach us, the most infinite and fundamental sense of good is found only in God. Only God’s goodness is absolute and complete. Everything else is measured according to God’s standard of goodness. And what is God’s standard of goodness?

God’s standard is His Word, His LAW and the keeping of all His commandments:  all of which together constitute righteousness. Psalm 119:172 defines righteousness as such.  Righteousness is characterized as being conformed to the law of God and having the mind of God.

The righteousness of God is illustrated in Amos 7:7-8 as being like a plumb line in determining how well each of His children are measuring up to the keeping of God’s whole Word. This is depicted in Revelation 11:1 as well, for God’s people (His Spiritual Temple) are being measured out according to their zeal for godly righteousness and for how well they are getting their lives in alignment with every Word of God.

If a person is in alignment with God’s standard, God’s law and God’s truth; then that person is  righteous. God’s righteousness is  wholeheartedly living by every Word of God, including all of His laws, statutes, ordinances, precepts and judgments; not just in the letter, but in their spirit and intent as well.

Psalm 19 describes the law of the Lord and what it does for us when we embrace that law, (including the statutes, fear of the Lord, and judgments),.  When we live by the Word of law of God we receive the goodness that it imparts. The Word of God is Wisdom and is more desirable than fine gold and sweeter than honey; things that the world would consider to be very good things indeed, yet the things of God are better and are everlasting.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 19:8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 19:9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Paul, in Romans, says that the law is holy, just and good; and God through John says that His commandments are not grievous.

Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

John 5: 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [not a burden].

We, as God’s children, reflect the fruit of goodness when we agree with God’s assessment of what God says is good and then seek to apply it in our thinking and in our behavior.

The more we strive to learn of God’s standard and then seek to measure up to that standard and not the standards of the world, the more God’s fruit of goodness will grow within us.

Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

In these verses, God tells us through Paul, that He associates and links goodness with righteousness and truth. Goodness comes through being filled with the Holy Spirit and cannot be produced by carnal man.

If a person is described as being good by others; it doesn’t matter how famous, wealthy, nice, kind, generous, attractive, beautiful, talented, intelligent, strong, capable, competent, noble a person may seem to be; if that person’s character is immoral, does not have God’s Holy Spirit and is not striving to live by every Word of God, then he or she, cannot truly have the goodness of God in them.

Godly goodness starts in the mind and the heart of a person, influencing every thought, word and action of a godly person. This demands that motives from the very heart be right according to the Word of God, which right goodness comes from following the lead of God’s Holy Spirit to diligently zealously live by every Word of God.

Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

The Holy Spirit makes love of God and devotion to being in compliance with God’s Word and will in everything and in all circumstances; the overriding essence of our lives.

It is God’s Spirit dwelling within us, from which true righteousness flows and God’s Holy Spirit is the source of godly goodness.

Our motivations eventually become manifested in our actions, and if our motivations are from God’s Spirit, they will be based on God’s righteousness and we will be filled with the fruit of goodness.

How Can We Receive More of God’s Goodness?

If God is the source of all goodness, how do we become good as God is good? We must seek to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6), and sincerely repent seeking forgiveness quickly when we discover sin in our lives, we must incorporate the beatitudes that are taught in Mathew 5 and seek to live and walk in the Spirit. If we are obeying God, He promises that He will give the gift of His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).

And God promises in His Word that He will give good things to those who seek His Holy Spirit and earnestly desire to live in godly righteousness. We must ask, seek, and knock, and the way to obtain these things will be opened to us if we are striving to be faithful to Him in all of His ways. If we do these things, God promises that He will give us good things of godliness.

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children:how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

To have God’s Spirit and to be able to live by every Word of God is a very good thing; the best gift we could ever seek after.

Psalm 143:10  Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

2 Thessalonians 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

Psalm 31:19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

A Zealous Type of Goodness

In the New Testament, the Greek word for goodness is agathosune

(Strong’s #19) and means goodness, i.e. virtue or beneficence. The English word “benevolence” has the meaning that covers aspects of this Greek word which means; an inclination or tendency to help or do good to others; charity, an act of kindness.

Agathosune (goodness) is similar in meaning to the Greek word chrestotes that is used for the fruit of gentleness (or kindness) that we studied last week, but agathosune’s use in Scripture indicates a more invigorating activity in doing good.

The fruit of gentleness (or kindness) is more passive, whereas goodness can be a more aggressive type of kindness in action.  Agathosune (goodness) is more apt to be used to rebuke or discipline as a means of bringing about good things.

As we read at the beginning of this article, the English word for good, or goodness, has many meanings that depict pleasant qualities, whereas apathosune constitutes more fully a particular quality of goodness that can show up as sharp admonition and rebuke.  It is more than an high moral character; it is a heart expressing itself in a zealous goodness.

This fruit of the spirit, goodness, rightfully does not shy away from stern exhortation and warning to produce good in those they are dealing with when it is necessary. When God or others discipline us, it can seem very severe at times, but it is His goodness to bring about a good thing and can result in helping us to become better and more upright people.

Jesus expressed this kind of goodness when He drove out the money changers and the sellers of sheep and doves. Paul demonstrated this kind of goodness when he commanded the Corinthian church to put out of their assembly the man who was sinning with his step-mother.

Another person in the Bible was Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, the High Priest. Phinehas was grieved over the immorality with which the Moabites and Midianites had successfully tempted the people (Numbers 25:1-9) to worship Baal-peor. In response to the evil that they were bringing into the camp, he personally executed judgment in the situation with an Israelite man and a Midianitish women, thus ending a plague that had been sent by God to punish the Israelites for sexually intermingling with the Midianites. Phinehas is commended for having stopped Israel’s fall to idolatrous practices brought in by Midianite women, as well as for stopping the desecration of God’s sanctuary.

There are many other examples of men throughout the whole Bible who had this kind of righteous anger that was used to bring about the righteousness of God and to drive out evil.

When parents correct a son or daughter rightly, it is a good thing because discipline helps instill righteousness and responsibility in children and helps them to ultimately become respectable and responsible adults. It produces good results or fruit in our families.

Therefore a zealous type of goodness that all Christians must have, is gentle and yet strong at the same time, and is meant to bring about goodness by driving evil out. We use this kind of goodness on ourselves by sincerely repentance when we discover sin and bad habits; or wake up to the fact that we have been following after false traditions (rather than what the Bible teaches) and the men who propagate those traditions. We use this type of spirited goodness of God to vehemently do whatever it takes to expunge error and sin, and get in alignment with what God says is right and true.

Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

The following verse in Romans, is an example of goodness, right knowledge and admonishment being used in conjunction with each other, showing that admonishment is an aspect of goodness.

Romans 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish [counsel and instruct] one another.

When admonishing one another it must be with the right kind of wisdom by someone who is full of spiritual knowledge, and done in a spirit of meekness and humility.

Admonishing in self-righteous pride or meanness has no place in the body of Christ.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

James 1:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 1:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

We are accountable to God to develop godly character by showing godly love and concern for each other.  As “iron sharpens iron” we are to help each other to stay faithful and to encouraged each other to diligently stay close to God. That is what loving family members do; they protect and encourage one another to live by every Word of God. We exhort each other “to hold fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:11)

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Building and edifying others demonstrates goodness even if it is sometimes requires admonition. God’s goodness; this fruit of His spirit, is always beneficial in every situation.

God’s Goodness in Warning the Brethren and the World

It is because of God’s great love for His Ekklesia and all of mankind that He sets up watchmen to warn. We know from Ezekiel 33 that the watchman is to blast the trumpet when he sees the sword coming [including spiritual danger!]; and if he doesn’t warn the people, then the people’s blood will be required at the watchman’s hand.

God’s sends those who have been entrusted with His TRUTH, that know it and have themselves repented; to make the knowledge of godliness known to the rest of humanity whenever they have the opportunity to do so; and to warn of and rebuke sin, to give all people the opportunity to repent and turn from their wicked ways so that they can be saved and not perish.

Ezekiel 33:8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 33:9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. 33:10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

In God’s tremendous goodness He provides the world with His warning witness and the Gospel Message, “for He is not willing that any should perish” but that we should have a chance to be told and to realize that we have been sinners and are under the death sentence unless we sincerely repent, and commit to go and sin no more.

If the people do not heed now to the warning message, then at least they have been warned and may repent later when they see the watchman’s word came to pass and they find themselves in severe trial.

All Things Work Together for GOOD to Them That Love God, to Them who are the Called According to His Purpose

When God recreated the earth and made man, he proclaimed that all of it was very good. But now after 6,000 years of man’s sin and mismanagement, the earth is rapidly being destroyed. The waters, the air, the food and soil, the lakes, oceans and streams, are polluted. Some of God’s created animals are becoming diminished and even extinct, and some areas of the earth are being contaminated with nuclear radiation from leaks and damaged nuclear power plants.

Many countries now possess nuclear bombs that could eradicate all life and completely destroy the earth many times over. In Matthew 24:22, Jesus says that unless He intervenes for the elect’s sake no flesh would be saved.

And that is part of the Good News, that He is going to deliver the whole earth from the evil clutches of Satan and all those who are controlled by him and who do his bidding. It will be done by God’s anger; His righteous anger that will rise up to destroy those who destroy the earth (Revelation 11:18), and then He will take over the reign of all this world’s kingdoms.

For a while it will not look like it is a good thing happening, but if He doesn’t clean up the earth by correcting evil doers, just like He did in the Temple when He drove out the unscrupulous money changers and corrupt sellers of animals; the earth would end up as before: without form, void and dark, completely devastated again just like it was about 6,000 years ago.

But instead, the whole earth is going to become once again like the garden of Eden. And it will be God’s goodness (apathosune) that will bring it about.

Isaiah 51:3 For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. 51:4 Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. 51:5 My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.

Revelation 21:10  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,21:11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

Goodness is something we must diligently commit ourselves to seek to make a part of our character. We have been called out of a world that is for the most part not seeking after the good of mankind and is not maintaining the beauty and sanctity of God’s creation; but is ever increasingly desecrating and destroying it. We have been immersed in this present evil world and have had to conform to God’s goodness (with God’s help) from being selfish and self-seeking into becoming God’s people who need to be filled with God’s goodness.

God made the earth full of the goodness of the LORD (Psalm 33:5) and that goodness will soon be restored, because the LORD is good Himself. He is molding His children to be refashioned into His image and wants us to witness to others that the God of goodness is our God, and that we reflect the same goodness that is of Him. He is making us ready, preparing us for serving in His Kingdom and God wants us to demonstrate His goodness to all those that come within our influence; and to do all that we can to cultivate His goodness into our lives.

And even though most of us are going through very difficult times in our lives right now; we know that if we seek to obey God in all things and endure unto the end; that it will all work out when He sets up His Kingdom. Then God will be able to say again of His creation and of His people…. “And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

The Goodness of God 

  • God made the marvelous universe and all that is in it,
  • God made man and woman,
  • God made us to have children, 
  • God the Father gave his only begotten Son to save mankind from bondage to sin and death, 
  • The Son lived a perfect life in the flesh overcoming Satan, sin and death, and he gave his life to pay for our sins – while we were still rejecting God in sin – and redeem us from the destroyer and death, 
  • God the Father resurrected the Son and set him as our Intercessor and living sacrifice so that sinful men could be reconciled to God and saved,
  • God will call all humanity out of bondage to sin and death, He will save all those who follow His call, God will then give Eternal life to all who turn to godliness.   

Revelation 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

God will then give His children the universe – not yet complete – and give us the task of completing and perfecting the entire universe! 

God is Good, God is a maker of all that is good, and a doer of all that which is good, and God is a giver of good things.  When we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God: No more will man war and destroy or make or do anything that is evil is evil.

God’s Spirit will enable us to internalize the nature and goodness of God and we shall also become doers and givers of good things, and the earth and the universe will be filled with GODLY GOODNESS. 

Psalm 31:19  Oh how great is thy goodness,

which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee;

which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

 
 Constance Belanger and James Malm

1 Comment

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  1. In discussing ‘goodness” and “good” you both correctly point out:

    “The Bible goes on to say that for six days God worked at restoring the earth (Genesis 1:13-27). At the end of the sixth day, God looked at everything He had made, including the man and woman that He had made on the sixth day, and announced that everything that He had made was very GOOD.
    Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

    Then you both correctly explain:

    “Only God can be be called good.
    Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God…

    This seems to portray God as contradicting himself and would benefit from further clarification.

    Tim McCaulley
    Jacksonville FL

    The Good God made all things on this earth and when the project was completed God said that all these physical things which he had made were good.

    About four thousand years later Jesus said that only God the Father was good, in context implying that no MAN is good compared to God the Father.

    This comparison of men with God the Father being the greater, is what he meant.

    Some confusion comes by overlooking the fact that mankind was created good; but remember mankind DID NOT REMAIN good. Mankind which was created good [but still not as good as God, in the sense that a babe is like his parents but not yet fully grown, complete and perfectly like his parents] sinned and fell into evil from his state of good.

    As for Jesus, Jesus was good, but being reduced to the physical state was not as good as God the Father [Jesus being flesh at that point] who was an eternal perfect spirit while Jesus had given up his God-hood to become imperfect flesh for a time.

    Jesus words were meant to express that even the best human being is not as good as God the Father. Indeed even the physically perfect Adam was not as good as God the Father or as his Creator, just as a babe is not as great as the parents who made him; and of course the “good” man quickly fell from even that state of physical goodness. .James

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