“Unconditional Kindness” – Summary of Sermon on July 9, 2023

This is a summary of the sermon preached on July 9, 2023 (Click here for a recorded audio).

  • Date: Sunday July 9, 2023
  • Venue: A Sunday service at Tokyo Multicultural Church
  • Title: "Unconditional Kindenss"
  • Scriptures: Galatians 5:16, 22-23 1


Today we’re going to look at the fifth fruit of the Spirit, kindness, in detail.

It appears that there are many non-Christian Japanese who are very kind to others. But

would this mean that we might not need so much help of the Spirit to bear the fruit of kindness as we do for the other fruit of the Spirit such as love, joy, and peace?

Well, the answer is no.

None of us, Christians or non-Christians, are able to bear any fruit of the Spirit, including kindness, without the help of the Spirit.

Then, what’s wrong here?

Why do we see so many non-Christian Japanese who are so kind to others?

Well, I’d say that the problem lies in how we define the “kindness.”

In other words,

we are to consider what the Bible talks about “kindness” or what the Bible means by “kindness.”

We should not take the Bible out of its context.

Only after getting the message of the Bible in its context, we are to apply it in our own context.

If we get that order wrong, then we’ll misunderstand the Bible and misapply its message.


first let’s try to find out what the “kindness” means in the Bible, especially in Galatians 5:22.

Unconditional kindness of God leads to repentanceod fulfills

The Greek word translated as “kindness” in Galatians 5:22 doesn’t appear so often in the New Testament, only 10 times, all of which appear in the letters of Paul.

In many cases, the kindness refers to that of God (Rom. 2:4; 11:22; Eph. 2:7; Titus 3:4).

In Romans 2:4, for instance, we see that

God is kind not only to the Gentiles but also the Jews.

God won’t usually bring judgment upon people right after they commit a sin.


God waits for them to repent without changing His gracious attitudes and actions toward them.

God is kind to anybody, the Jews and the Gentiles, and the obedient and the disobedient. And

God's unconditional kindness leads people to repentance.

Unconditional kindness of God leads to unconditional love

You may wonder that this unconditional kindness of God is somehow related to the unconditional love of God.

As a matter of fact, we may say that

unconditional kindness leads to unconditional love.

In Luke 6:35, Jesus tells His disciples to love their enemies, do good to them without expecting anything in return.

The reason behind this exhortation of unconditional love is because God is kind to anybody, and we Christians are children of God of such kindness.

Those who have experienced the unconditional kindness of God are to show unconditional love in their attitudes and actions as children of God (cf. Eph. 4:32).
God’s unconditional kindness leads people to unconditional love.

Unconditional kindness of God expressed in unchanging love and faithfulness

If we look at the Old Testament, it is interesting to note that the Greek word translated as “kindness” in Galatians 5:22 is translated as “goodness” (Ps. 25:7; 119:68; 145:7) or “bounty” (Ps. 65:11; 68:10) in NIV when referred to God.

And the adjective form often translated as “good” or “kind” in the New Testament is translated as “good” (e.g. Ps. 25:8; 34:8; 52:9; 69:16; 86:5; 100:5; 106:1; 107:1; 109:21; 119:39, 68; 136:1; 145:9) not “kind.”

What is good about God in the OT is His unchanging love toward His people and His faithfulness to the covenant (e.g. Ps. 100:5).

We can appreciate this goodness (kindness) of God as we look back the history of Israel.

It is true that the nation of Israel was chosen by God to be God’s people.


the Israelites were chosen not because they were greater than other nations, but because God loved them and kept the promise He made with their ancestor Abraham (see Deut. 7:7-8).

Furthermore, God’s love for the Israelites and faithfulness to the covenant did not change even when they went astray from Him.

God rather sent prophets to call them back to Him, urging them to repent.

Yet, still, they didn’t repent but persisted in going their own ways.

So, in the end,

God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to save them from condemnation.

Here we see that

God’s kindness (goodness) is expressed in His unchanging love and faithfulness.


So far, we’ve seen what the kindness of God is like.

This kind of kindness of God is indeed what the Spirit helps us to acquire as the fruit of the Spirit, which represents some of the characteristics of God.

Therefore, the kindness in Galatians 5:22 is not simply helping somebody in need of help.

Rather it is

unconditional kindness shown not only to a specific people group, but to anybody.

Whether we like that person or not, or whether that person does good to us or not, we are to be kind by showing unchanging love and faithfulness to him/her.

In short, we may say that

the kindness as the fruit of the Spirit is unconditional love expressed in our attitudes and actions.

Whether they are for us or against us, or whether they do good or do harm to us, we are to love them as they are, trying to help them with everything we can do without expecting anything in return.

I wonder how many people, Christians and non-Christians, can love others like this.

How many people can be kind like God or Jesus?

It is true that there are so many “kind” non-Christian Japanese.

But I don’t think they are as kind as God of the Bible. Their kindness is not so unconditional as God’s.

But of course, we cannot blame Japanese for not being so kind as God because

many, if not all, Christians are not so kind as God, either.

The question then is how we can be so kind by showing unchanging love and faithfulness to others.

How can we be kind like God/Jesus?

Sure, we all know that we are to rely not on our own strength or power, but on the power and help of the Spirit.

But then

how can we rely on the power and help of the Spirit?
Exactly what should we do to allow the Spirit to work in us?

Well, for us to allow the Spirit to work in us,

we must recognize that we do need the Spirit to overcome our sinful desires, which prevent us from becoming kind like God (Gal. 5:17).

We should never forget that it is not our reason, willpower, or even conscience that fights against our sinful desires.

Rather it is the battle between the Spirit and our sinful desires.


in prayer we must ask the Spirit to fight for us, and then we are to follow His lead.

There are three steps here:

first, acknowledge our sinful desires;

second, ask the Spirit to take hold of them in prayer;

and finally follow His lead.

I think this is what Paul means by “walk or live by the Spirit” in Galatians 5:16 and 25.

To acknowledge your sinful desires, reading Galatians 5:19-21 would be of help since Paul lists the acts of the flesh there.

In the case of being kind like God/Jesus, if you have, for instance, hatred or jealousy for a person, it’d be extremely difficult to be kind to that person.


if you have any negative feelings toward a person, you must ask the Spirit to fight against them.

Then in most cases, the Spirit would tell or show you what to do with them:

for instance, you may be prompted to go talk to the person to get to know him/her more so that you can resolve misunderstanding about the person, if any;

or you may be compelled to apologize to the person for the wrongdoing on your part, if any.

Whatever that may be, which the Spirit tells you to do, you are to follow His lead.

To this end,

the Spirit would also give you courage and power to follow through.

Once you’ve dealt with those negative feelings toward the person, it’d become much easier for you to be kind to him/her.

As far as I’m concerned, acknowledging my sinful desires would be easiest of all.

Yet, asking the Spirit for help and following His lead are really challenging.

I do remember to ask the Spirit for help on some occasions. But on many other occasions, I just can’t remember to pray to the Spirit for His help.

Not only that, I make many excuses for not following His lead.

As a result, I end up doing something unkind to other people, especially to those for whom I have some negative feelings.

I believe that you’d be also like me in one way or another because we are all not perfect in God’s eyes.

But the good news is that God knows all about it.


when you and I do something unkind to somebody, what is important is to repent, turning our focus to God, and redirecting our lives according to His will and purposes.

Never forget that

God’s love and kindness are unconditional;

you don’t have to be kind like God/Jesus to earn God’s favor.

God loves you and is kind to you even though you cannot be kind like Him.

More importantly, you should never forget that

being kind unconditionally is not the means of salvation.

In fact, bearing the fruit of the Spirit is not the means of salvation, either.

You are to bear the fruit of the Spirit not because you want to get saved but because you have already been saved. And

you are to be kind like God/Jesus because you have already tasted His unconditional love and kindness for yourself (cf. Luke 6:35; Eph. 4:32—5:2; 1 Pet 2:1-3).
be kind like God as He has been kind to you.

Bibliography and Notes

  • Bruce, F. F. The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text. The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Paternoster Pr., 1982.
  • deSilva, David A. The Letter to the Galatians. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2018.
  • Hawthorne, Gerald F., Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, eds. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Pr; InterVarsity Pr, 1993.
  • Longenecker, Richard N. Galatians. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas, Tex.: Word Bks, 1990.
  • Moo, Douglas J. Galatians. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2013.
  • Schreiner, Thomas R. Galatians. Edited by Clinton E. Arnold. The Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Academic, 2010.
  • Silva, Moisés, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. Second edition. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Academic, 2014.
  1. Unless otherwise noted, all the Scripture verses will be quoted from NIV.