Let us now examine the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit deemed as “goodness” by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.
The word here translated as “goodness” is the Greek word agathosune, defined by Thayer’s as:
Uprightness of heart and life, goodness, kindness.
This same word is used in Romans 15:14, Ephesians 5:8-12, and 2 Thessalonians 1:11:
And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
For ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of.
To which end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfil every desire of goodness and every work of faith, with power.
It should also be noted that the adjectival form of this word, agathos, is constantly used in the New Testament.
Goodness is a critical part of the life of a Christian. Our metamorphosis from a worldly sinner to a child of God cannot be done unless we go from serving ourselves and constantly doing what is wrong to serving all others and doing what is good. Our goodness goes hand-in-hand with the love we have for our fellow man and the kindness we are to show to them by doing what is good.
It may be asked, and rightly so: “what are the good things that will manifest goodness?” Goodness is doing what is right and avoiding that which is wrong, as we see above in Ephesians 5:8-12. Goodness is helping those who are in need, the widows and orphans and poor (James 1:27, Matthew 25:31-46). Goodness is encouraging your brethren and showing enough concern for worldly sinners to preach to them the Gospel of Christ (Hebrews 10:24-26, Matthew 28:18-20). Goodness is the willingness to die to self and live for Christ, humbling yourself to serve all others before yourself (Philippians 2:5-11). In the end, goodness is personified in Jesus Christ, and we should always look to His example in the Gospels to help guide us in how to display goodness and every good characteristic (1 Corinthians 11:1).
The goodness a Christian shows to his fellow man is instrumental in his ability to witness to the Gospel of Christ. How effective will the message be if it is preached by one who does not show goodness to his fellow man? How will the brethren recognize Christ in a person if he or she does not show goodness? If, however, we display the fruit of the Spirit by manifesting goodness, how much more powerful will our witness be to Christ? If we show His light through us by our goodness (Matthew 5:13-16), most of our evangelism will be done before we even mention Jesus Christ to those around us, for they will have seen our good works and our devotion to Christ. Brethren will love, trust, and be encouraged by one who displays goodness to them constantly, and most importantly, God is well-pleased with a child of His when that child imitates His Son and manifests an attitude of goodness to all.
As we conclude our thoughts on goodness, let us read the prayer of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 and seek to fulfill the message of the prayer in our lives.
To which end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfil every desire of goodness and every work of faith, with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.