“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Goodness means to be morally righteous and virtuous. The Greek word for goodness (ἀγαθωσύνη; agathosyne) means to have a generous spirit towards others. It means reaching out to people and being generous to them even when such generosity is not deserved.
Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
Psalm 34:14 says, “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
In commenting on Romans 12:9, Dr. R .C. Sproul writes, “The Apostle likely has several ideas in mind here. First, in doing good to those who hate us, we keep ourselves from being corrupted by the world and its way of doing things, and so we grow in our sanctification. We will be tempted to love the world and its sinful approach to reality, which is why John tells us not to love the world or the things of the world (1 John 2:15). As we do good when others hate us, we are not conformed to the pattern of this world; instead, we evidence the transformation that the Holy Spirit is working in us (Rom. 12:2).”
“Second, doing good to those who do evil against us can bring about the end of their evil. This does not always occur, but as we saw in Romans 12:20, people who have done wrong are often shamed when we do not repay them in kind, and they stop mistreating us. The Holy Spirit can even work in this to bring about the repentance and conversion of our foes.”
Dr. Sproul concludes by saying, “Finally, in doing good to those who hate us, we show forth the character of our Savior before the world. He loved those who hated Him so much that He gave up His life to save them. We cannot atone for sin, but we can imitate His love for His enemies by loving our foes, thereby pointing them to Christ Himself.”
Theologian John Murray writes in his commentary Romans, “By well-doing we are to be the instruments of quenching the animosity and the ill-doing of those who persecute and maltreat us.”
How may you be generously good to someone today? It may be in the generosity of a kind word of encouragement. It may be in the giving of a kind or generous statement in the midst of criticism. Practice God’s goodness today.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!