What is Goodness?

The Bible says in Romans 15:14 that we are to be “full of goodness.” One of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians is goodness. But what does it really mean to be good? What quality or behaviors is God trying to reveal to us through this word “goodness”? Certainly, we can say that goodness means you have right behavior—that you do good things. You help people. Your behavior speaks of goodness, grace, mercy, and kindness. When people look at you, they would say you're “good.” If there's a continuum of good and bad people, you're on the good side because the qualities you possess and the behaviors that you exhibit are summed up in the word “good.”

 

But what the Bible also means by “goodness” is avoiding things that are bad, such as wrong behaviors. Goodness is not only a choice to do what is good—what is right, wholesome, and powerful—but it's also a desire in you to not do certain things in order to protect your goodness. And so Paul writes, “I'm convinced, my brothers, that you are full of goodness”—that when people put a label on you, “good” is one of those words.