Fruit of the Spirit – Goodness

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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

We will be looking at the sixth characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit this week.

A quick recap:

  • There are nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23
  • There are not 9 fruits of the Spirit. Fruit in the Greek is in the singular. There are nine characteristics listed, but this list is not exhaustive
  • The Greeks did not have an “etc” so the way the Greek expresses “etc” is by listing like qualities
  • Other characteristics that build up the body of Christ and encourage growth and maturity in the believer is assumed to be included in the list of those characteristics that make up the fruit of the Spirit

I learned as a new Christian to memorize the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit by seeing that there are three sets of threes based on syllables:

  • Love, joy, peace – one syllable
  • Patience, kindness, goodness – two syllables
  • Faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – three syllables

The Greek word for goodness is agathosume.  The goodness referred to in this word is very specific. The word is only used 4 times in the entire New Testament. The word good appears hundreds of times, but this particular word only occurs 4 times. Agothosume refers to an intrinsic goodness that comes from God and shows itself in spiritual and moral excellence or virtue.

Not only does agothosume only occur 4 times in the New Testament, it occurs nowhere else in secular Greek. This is purely a Christian term for only Christians can demonstrate a goodness that comes from God.

We cannot generate goodness on our own. This goodness is not in us. We are powerless on our own to live out goodness. Jesus says, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18). We can only live out this goodness and virtue as God enables us through the Holy Spirit.

Agothosume is a goodness and virtue that only Christians can live out in our world. I look forward to learning about this goodness which only Christians can demonstrate to a world desperate for goodness and virtue!

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