Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The Spirit Helps us reflect the goodness of God

The fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

Galatians 5:22-23

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

What is “goodness?”

Goodness might be a little hard to define – especially when the advertisers use it in a fairly meaningless way: “Full of Crunchy Goodness!”

This Greek word for good (agathós) is almost always connected to the goodness of God.

When the Rich young ruler runs up to Jesus and says “Good teacher, what must I do to be saved?” Jesus responds, “Why do you call me good? Only God is Good.” Mark 10:17

The word they are using is agathós, the same word that Paul uses for goodness here.


What you don’t do - Jesus answer to the Rich Young Ruler – “You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.”

Just before Paul gives us the list of the Fruit of the Spirit – the things that are supposed to grow in our lives, he gives us a list of the deeds of the sinful nature– the things that we are not suppose to do: Galatians 5:19-21

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

But the Rich Young Ruler was not satisfied with not doing the stuff that you are not supposed to do – he wants more: Jesus says, “there is one thing you lack – go, sell everything you own, and give the money to the poor.

Righteousness is as much about what we do as it is what we don’t do – righteousness is always caught up with care for the poor.

Micah 6:8

He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

There is more to goodness than righteousness – when we say “God is good” I often am thinking about his grace, and his wisdom – when he forgives me, he is good, when he treats me better than I deserve, he is good, when he gives me the thing that I didn’t want, but was exactly what I needed, he is good.

In the commentaries God’s Goodness is always caught up in his Grace – it is the same in my life – when I am floored by his creation, I say “God is good,” when I meditate on my own forgiveness, I say “Good IS good!”

Aesthetic goodness – beauty

When God creates the earth and everything in it, one by one, he declares what he creates to be “good” – beautiful, of great value…

The Beauty of God - David Taylor

Consider the ordinary dictionary meaning of beauty—"The quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is associated with such properties as harmony of form or color, excellence of artistry, truthfulness, and originality."

Then consider this God.

Our God makes beautiful material stuff. He fashions the carnival-colored, wacky-jumping flat lizard of South Africa and the severe environment of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. He constructs the extravagant diversity of life in the Amazon rainforest. He invents homier things such as the capacity to savor tea and toast.

Our Creator commissions a multifaceted work of literature: the Bible. In it, we find the comforting poetry of Psalm 23. There is the Apocalypse, teeming with strange symbols that inspire fear and awe. In the Gospels Jesus’ parables deploy allusive turns of phrase. There is no sentimentalism in the laments of Jeremiah, no slick or sloppy writing in Paul’s letters.

There is also, preeminently, the beauty of God’s self-sacrificing love—of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. At the cross the beauty of God is mangled, smelly, dirty, misunderstood, "banged with terror," to quote one modern poet. It makes us weep. And it is good. And how it makes us yearn to be loved and love like such a God. - David Taylor

How does the Holy Spirit grow the fruit of Goodness within us?

Ezekiel 36:25-27 (Today’s New International Version)

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Backpacker illustration – Nicky Gumble

John 16:7-13

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

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