We now turn to the second division of Ephesians 5:8-10. Now that we know the difference between darkness and light, we are prepared to examine the details of walking according to light, as Paul declares in verse 9-10: For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. We find here three things that prove we are walking according to light. By way of illustration, it is interesting to parallel this walking according to light with physical light. We all know that white light consists of all the spectral colors. We also know that there are three primary colors (red, blue, and green), and that any other color sensation can be duplicated by mixing varying quantities of these three. So, to parallel, we are about to examine the three primary characteristics of spiritual light.
First, is all goodness. Goodness was something Paul stressed often in his Epistles (e.g. Rom. 15:14; Gal. 5:22). We often hear the words “good” and goodness, but what exactly does that concept mean? There are three Greek words translated “good” or goodness in the New Testament.
One is kalos (137 times), which means “noble and beautiful.” Another is chrestos (7 times) which means “useful, good, suitable, proper.” But the word used in our text is agathosune (4 times), which comes from the root agathos (106 times). This important word refers to “virtue” and “uprightness of heart and life.” Therefore, to “be good” means to be virtuous, upright, and moral. What an admonition this is in light of the immorality of our day!
But the truth found in our text goes deeper yet with the word all. The Greek is pas, which is used, of course, as an adjective. Now, as one Greek authority points out, if pas is used with the article (“the”) it can have several meanings such as “all, whole, whoever, or generally.” But here in our text pas is used without the article. It can, therefore, mean one of two things: First, it can carry a distributive significance such as “each” or “every goodness,” or, second, it can have an elative significance such as “full” or “total goodness.” We submit, however, that in the final analysis BOTH of those should be true of the believer. Every single aspect of the Believer’s life AND the total sum of the Believer’s life is to be characterized by virtue, moral goodness, and impeccable character.
Corrie ten Boom’s father was a watchmaker, but there were times when business was down and there was financial need in the family. Corrie tells the story that during one of those times she watched how her father dealt with a wealthy customer who decided to buy an expensive watch with enough cash that would have meet all the family’s needs. But as she watched her father, who already had the cash in his hand, he did something that horrified her. She heard the customer say that he was buying the watch because Mr. ten Boom’s young competitor could not fix his old watch. Corrie’s father asked to see it, opened it, made a small adjustment, and handed it back saying, “There, that was a very little mistake. It will be fine now. Sir, I trust the young watchmaker. Someday he will be just as good as his father. So if you ever have a problem with one of his watches, come to me. I’ll help you out. Now I shall give you back your money and you return my watch.” Looking on in dismay, Corrie watched her father open the door for the man, bow deeply in his old-fashioned way, and the man walk out. She ran to her father with rebuke, only to be herself reproved gently and patiently through his steel-rimmed glasses, “Corrie, what do you think that young man would have said when he heard that one of his good customers had gone to Mr. ten Boom? Do you think that the name of the Lord would be honored? As for the money, trust the Lord, Corrie. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He will take care of us.”
That is character; that is all goodness.