The past few days we have been talking about the Fruit of the Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control (Gal. 5:22). Today, we’re going to study Goodness.
The Greek word for “Goodness” in the context of the above verse is agathōsynē [ἀγαθωσύνη] (1) which is a “rare noun found [only] four times (2)” in the Bible (Rom. 15:14; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9; and 2 Thess. 1:11). This word indicates the virtue of “goodness” in the sense of “(moral) uprightness of the heart.”
But what does “Goodness” really mean? As I sat pondering this, I couldn’t help but think that there’s got to more to it then what it looks like. Anyone can be “good.” Honestly, I would rather be ‘great’ then ‘good’. So why is it on this list?
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says this…
“The thought of God as good and the prominence given to “good” and “goodness” are distinctive features of the Bible.”
It goes on to say that the Greek word agathōsynē is more than just one of the fruits of the Spirit of God, but also described alongside righteousness and truth as “the fruit of the light” which Christians have been “made” on Christ.
When we look at Ephesians 5:8-13, it sheds a little light on this (pun not intended).
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
We are Light. Paul is telling us to “live of children of light”. 2 Corinthians 6:14 to 7:1 outlines the differences between the child of God and an unsaved person. Paul did not say we are “in darkness” but that we “were darkness.” Past tense. Now that we are saved, we are filled with the Spirit. We are light. And light produces fruit.
A book on Systematic Theology has a similar take on “goodness.”
“The Bible … teaches that all goodness in man is due to the influence of the Holy Spirit, and that all spiritual blessings are the fruits of election; that we are chosen to holiness and created unto good works because [we are] predestined to be the children of God.”
The Bible commands us not to be like the World, but rather, to be in likeness to God – “the source and perfection of all good.”(3) God wants to make you worthy of His calling by filling us with HIS goodness (2 Thessalonians 1:11).
Before I continue, I want to lay this out there for you if I’ve lost you.
The “goodness” mentioned in Galatians 5:22 is not the same “good” as we use when we describe how a child behaves or how our day goes. This “good” is talking about the “goodness” you can only find through Jesus Christ and the filling of the Spirit.
This brings a whole new meaning to the saying :
“God is Good, All the Time; And All the Time, God is Good.”
There is a Bible Biography Series that discusses Joseph and the Patriarch of his Character. In it, they say that as you examine the list of the fruit of the Spirit, you can actually see the illustrations of each in Joseph’s life.
For the sake of this post, let’s just focus on what Joseph’s life portrays about “goodness.”
Joseph’s goodness is demonstrated:
- in the reporting of the truth of his brothers’ evil conduct to his father;
- in his purity when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife;
- and in his honesty with Potiphar as a slave.
Pay close attention to those emphasized words. Aren’t those words that you could also use to describe God?
I’ll leave you with this last passage as it is my prayer for you today.
11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.~ 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NKJV)
Nichole is a Social Media Marketing Manager, student, daughter and friend. She has a Marketing Diploma and a Certificate of Christian Theology. She is an avid coffee lover who enjoys a good movie or book. She takes great joy in organizing, scheduling, and volunteering. Her passion for volunteerism extends specifically to those who are hurting, whether it is emotionally, physically, or mentally.
Nichole is certified to provide Mental Health First Aid, which means she can provide immediate support and guidance in a safe environment, comfortably have a conversation about mental health related issues and offer professional and other supports. This does NOT make Nichole a psychologist, or a counselor. It simply gives her the tools to direct people to the help they need.
References: 1 Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. 2 Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Word Studies for Key English Bible Words Based on the Hebrew and Greek Texts. 3 The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.