The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Goodness
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”Galatians 5:22-23
Paul’s use of the word “fruit” in his teaching of the fruit of the Spirit, which means “beneficial results,” the good things that come from the Holy Spirit dwelling within a true believer. As the Holy Spirit works in our lives, our heart changes and our character matures. Where we had harbored selfishness, cruelty, rebelliousness, and spite, we now possess love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Our lives begin to reflect the character of God and the nature of Jesus Christ.
Goodness results in a life characterized by deeds motivated by righteousness and a desire to be a blessing to others. It’s a moral characteristic of a Spirit-filled person. The Greek word translated “goodness,” agathosune, is defined as “uprightness of heart and life.” Agathosune is goodness for the benefit of others, not goodness simply for the sake of being virtuous and seen as good in the eyes of man.
Someone with this type of goodness will selflessly act on behalf of others. Confronting someone about a sin demonstrates goodness, as does giving to the poor, providing for one’s children, visiting the sick, volunteering to clean up after a storm, and praying for an enemy.
Goodness is not a quality we can manufacture on our own. In the first chapter of James we read, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” This certainly includes a life characterized by goodness. In consistently yielding our lives to the Holy Spirit, we are blessed with the fruit of goodness. As others see our good works, they will know they have come only from God.
What Is the Significance of Goodness?
Goodness relates to doing intrinsically good actions, a zealous activity to do good for another person’s benefit. Doing goodness for the purpose of blessing or benefiting others occurs when the Holy Spirit makes us alive in our spirits. It is an act that stems from our very soul or being. No one of us possesses goodness except God, so it is His presence in the believer’s life that generates good deeds.
The Bible is clear that in and of ourselves, we are incapable of being or doing good. It is God who works in a believer’s life to become more like Jesus, which is the whole point of the fruit of the Spirit— to make us into the image of Christ.
As the characteristic of goodness grows in a believer, it is acting out God’s love to others by helping others. It manifests itself from within the heart. This can only occur through our living out of the Holy Spirit in our lives. An act of goodness is not simply for the sake of being virtuous or “good,” but for seeing others blessed by it.
The Goodness of God
God, by nature, is inherently good. He is the ultimate example of goodness, and He did not obtain it from another source. People can have good traits or do good deeds, but goodness is not in our character. Our goodness can only come from God.
The Goodness of God is evident in all His creations and accomplishments. We cannot earn and do not merit His goodness. It is available to us just because of who God is. And God’s goodness is personal. He is good to each of us personally, in ways that meet our individual needs.
God is our perfect role model. Being good, demonstrating good, for the purpose of benefiting others, is what God demonstrated to all of mankind. Everything God brings into a believer’s life ultimately is for our good to make us more like Jesus. God’s goodness offers us security and encouragement. God will always be good. His character does not change.
God’s Goodness Calls For Our Response
Without His demonstration of love through His goodness, there would be no salvation, no repentance, and only God’s judgment of wrath on us as sinful man. Because of God’s goodness, though, believers can be at rest, in God’s perfect peace, regardless of what is happening in our lives. God’s goodness is stored up for us and actively demonstrated to us in His perfect timing. As we mature and grow in the characteristic of God’s goodness provided by the Holy Spirit, it enables us to do good to others, regardless what they may have done or failed to do for us.
It is He who can transform us into good. It is the fruit of the Spirit that allows us to demonstrate a passion for goodness to help and benefit others so that they may be drawn to Jesus through us.
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