This journey we are on in the advancing Kingdom of God is unique to each of us. As a matter of fact I am finding more and more that when I hang onto a “this must be the only truth” idea…well God has another idea. The infinite Grace He has for us should be our Grace for one another. Our insistence on “being right” is not our salvation or our “faith” or our “eternal security.” Jesus saves us and is saving us and will continue to save us. When we “stand before the judgment seat of Jesus” we will be looking into the mirror of His grace. We will see ourselves in comparison to His perfect Love and compassion and forgiveness and mercy and humility and other-centeredness. We will be “refined” and “cleansed” and “baptized” and “judged” and whatever other term works for you. We will be molded and shaped and loved into His image so we will be compatible with His nature so we can enjoy eternal life as His family.
Pretty easy don’t you think? Well maybe not so easy but simple in that we are God’s kids and He is very serious about including His kids in His family dynamic as He intended. So our inclusion is in Jesus and Jesus on the cross proves it. The Holy Spirit is confirming our inclusion. Our believing and accepting and participating in this inclusion is our salvation. Our “transformation” is the renewing of our minds to the truth of our adoption. We are His kids now and were born His kids and we are learning what it means to be His kids as we walk this thing out. The transformation is from the inside out. It is an inside job by the Holy Spirit and Jesus and our Abba. The fullness of the godhead is in Jesus and He is in us as the hope of glory. Our glory (our true nature) is being revealed and is being realized in Him. We are living His life while being renewed by His truth while being transformed by His love. That is a serious inside job.
The serious work of this “transformation” is to metamorph our thinking from a fallen Adam way of processing into a Jesus way of thinking. We use our mind of Christ to see and believe as Jesus sees and believes. This means Jesus is undoing our Adamic thinking to agree with our new creation thinking. Too complicated? OK how about an example?
In the last post I introduced two Greek words for “good.” One word is “kalos” which is the external kind of good. Sometimes this word is translated as “beautiful” or “worthy” or “honorable.” It is definitely the outward appearance of a thing. How about this verse:
Gen 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die (ESV)
Oh yeah that’s right…kalos is the good-bad tree word. The forbidden fruit was from the tree of the knowledge of kalos and ponéros.
My supposition is the consumption of this fruit (literal or metaphorical, in the garden or today) is the root of all our issues. When we live by the good-bad we are judges with broken judgment mechanisms. We judge ourselves (and others) and find out we are not so kalos. Then we project our angst on God and paint a picture of a God in our image instead of in His image. We take all our dysfunction and delusion and division and create a creator in our minds that is a kalos version of us but bigger. This results in us hiding from that g.o.d. We cant’ come to trust Him or have faith in Him or let Him into our lives. This is why Jesus. This is why an incarnation and death and resurrection and ascension. We had to have a savior to save us from our fallen way of seeing our loving Abba. On top of that, the power of Sin uses our abyss of fallen understanding to plant seeds of rebellion and rejection and remorse. Sin takes advantage of the situation and drives us further from our loving creator into the bushes of darkness. The delusion of darkness creates chasms in our own minds and enmity towards God. Jesus fixes all of that as Immanuel, God with us. Jesus is still fixing that psychotic paradigm today by revealing His relationship with His Father. He is still meeting us in the bottom of our trash can and reminding us of our adoption. The Holy Spirit is still revealing the heart of our Father for His Son which is His heart for us. The Holy Spirit is our comforter and teacher and revealer. He loves to reveal God’s love for us.
OK, diatribe over…now want to see how Jesus used kalos? Here are a few verses with kalos:
Matt 18:8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better (kalos) for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. (NIV)
Jesus is really messing things up. Crippled and good (kalos)? What could be good about being crippled? Yeah, Jesus is telling them that outward appearances are not what is important. In that culture being crippled was evidence of sinning. Being crippled would mean that God had cursed them because of their sin or the sin of their ancestors. Now Jesus tells them that it is good, beautiful, worthy, honorable to be crippled? In another place Jesus accused the Pharisees of being hypocrites like dirty cups or whitewashed tombs. Perhaps what is inside is way more important than what is outside. Seems like performance takes a back seat to character.
Matt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good (kalos) to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (KJV)
This is near the beginning of the sermon on the mount. Jesus is not making friends by a statement like this. The Jews saw themselves as the chosen ones of God and it had gone to their heads. Their outward appearance and law keeping was their idea of good (kalos). Loving enemies and blessing those that curse them would not even cross their minds as a “good” thing to do. Just before this Jesus told them that being angry at someone was the same as murder. These law keepers would not be happy to see the law rewritten (so to speak). This would really expose the inside instead of hiding behind good (kalos) behavior.
Jesus does use the word kalos to describe the kind of fruit that is produced by an agathos tree. He does say that we should let our light shine before men so they can see our kalos works which will glorify God in Heaven. He talks about kalos dirt and kalos pearls and kalos seed. He talked about kalos salt and kalos stones. Notice that all of that is “stuff.” But for people He uses agathos. For the inside of us He uses agathos. We don’t judge the outside but observe what the inside produces. Check this out:
Matt 12:33 “Either make the tree good (kalos) and its fruit good (kalos), or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good (agathos), when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good (agathos) person out of his good (agathos) treasure brings forth good (agathos), and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (ESV)
In this passage Jesus has just been accused of being Beelzebub. Where is His emphasis? Where is His emotion? What seems most important to Jesus? Seems like the “words” of the accusers were telling about the character of His accusers.
I don’t know about you but we might assume it is easier to hide behind our kalos works and kalos deeds instead of dealing with the agathos inside? How many are really willing to let Jesus work from the inside out to produce agathos in us? How many are willing to embrace our adoption and let God work the inside job?
I was afraid and hid. I didn’t want Jesus messing around in there. There were skeletons all over the place. I had closets I didn’t even know about. I had more stuff I didn’t want to deal with than stars in the sky (or so it seemed). I didn’t want to be vulnerable and exposed. I didn’t want an intrusive God who would take away my fun and make me boring. How about you? I didn’t want a Jesus who was “personal” … then He would know all my junk.
Then I met Him and everything changed.
Now I know His agape is my agathos. His love is my goodness. His goodness produces my love. His abundance is my charity. His acceptance is my acceptance of others. His inclusion is my inclusion of others. His assurance is my confidence to love others. He is working from the inside out, doing the inside job and I am absolutely blown away by how awesome it is. I can’t hardly get my breath some moments because of His intense love for me. I can hardly concentrate because of His burning desire for me. I have moments of bliss that take me to other places and fills me with unearthly joy. There are no more closets or dust bins or trash cans or cesspools or any other hiding places. He is in every single one of them working the inside job. Oh yeah, now I have real kalos in my life not that plastic stuff. I actually do love people and don’t feel judgment for anyone.
So you tell me. Kalos the fake way or kalos from agathos? Do you want to finally surrender and let Jesus do the inside job? It is worth it and will cost you nothing but your life. That is a good trade…His for yours.