Romans 12:21 What is goodness?

Romans 12:21 overcome evil with good

As we continue looking at the fruit of the spirit, have you ever asked yourself what is goodness?

I looked up the meaning of goodness at and found the basic definition is the “quality of being good, moral excellence, virtue, kindness, generosity, best part of everything, essence.”

Is the Biblical definition for goodness more specific? When the Bible speaks of being good, it means to imitate God and strive for godliness.

 Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:21

As Christians we know that good and evil are in constant conflict. We see the fight daily in the world. We also have internal struggles with our own sin nature.

Paul writes in Romans 12:21 the way to defeat evil is with good. This book is written to Christians in Rome during the height of the Roman Empire. Let’s recognize the Roman Empire and it’s leadership were evil. They persecuted Christians. Paul gives specific examples of how to live with the struggle between good and evil.

When Paul says to overcome evil, do good. What did he mean?

Romans 12 gives us a roadmap on how to be good and show goodness to others.

You may know that Romans 12 starts with verses about personal purity and making yourself a living sacrifice. Purity starts by dying to our own desires as a living sacrifce.

Further in this chapter, Paul writes about loving without hypocrisy (vs. 9) and opposing evil (vs.10), showing kindness and honor to others. We can also show goodness by rejoicing in our hope, being patient in hard times and continuing in prayer.

Then in verse 14, Paul says, bless those that persecute you. In verse 15, he shifts to a kind and generous spirit of rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those in grief.

We are also told to not repay evil with evil (vs. 17). Live peaceable with all men when possible (vs. 18). Finally, in verse 19, don’t give place to anger.

The chapter closes with today’s verse that says do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

What can we say about goodness from Romans 12?

Goodness is us showing God’s character to others. Goodness includes showing love, kindness, honor and respect to others. Goodness requires self-control and not letting anger and jealousy control us. Goodness seeks to do good to others, and does not wish harm or evil toward others not even our enemies. Jesus is the best example of goodness we can follow.

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