Despite what many people in our culture may think, anyone who reads the Bible will soon discover that Christianity is NOT a system for Good people trying to live good lives.
When people say, ‘I don’t believe in God or Jesus – but I’m just as much a good Christian as you..’ You can be sure that probably through no fault of their own they either missed the point or were given a description of Christianity that was about religion and rules and quite rightly rejected it.
But the REAL gospel – the good news, starts with the bad news that you’re not good. You’re more sinful than you ever dared believe; and more loved than you ever dared hope.
Because of the cross of Christ, if we exchange our own messed up record, we get his spotless one. That’s how we end up being ‘counted or reckoned as good.’ Justified, the Bible says.
Because of Jesus taking the punishment for my sins, I’m justified – it’s ‘justasifI’d’ never sinned.
If that’s all news to you, please get hold of my new book WORK IT OUT – order it from this site, because I put that together to help you put this together for anyone who has questions. Good questions – like…
1) What is GOOD?
There are two main Greek words in the New Testament that we translate with our one word, GOOD. Agathos and Kalos.
Agathos refers to being good in character, upright, pure, moral. Ethical virtue. It’s an inside job.
Kalos means doing good. Agathos is being good inside, pure to the core. Kalos is a good outward expression. A noble deed. A good turn.
Agathos is resisting temptation by walking past the Sex shop, kalos is help the homeless guy sitting in its doorway. Two kinds of good.
Kalos refers to doing good things.
A person can do kalos, without having agathos.You can do good deeds occasionally, but still be filled with inner conflict and evil. Hitler was a vegetarian because he loved animals, he really loved his Alsatian.
Or you can have agathos without kalos; intrinsic good character doesn’t necessarily always translate into compassionate action does it?
The Bible says when we turn our lives back over to God we are (re)created in Christ Jesus for good works – that’s agathos
But it also says that we are to let our light shine so that people will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven– that’s kalos.
God wants to work in us BOTH forms of goodness: the agathos of having good character, with the kalos of doing good deeds.
Look at Matt 7 :
17 So, every healthy [agathos] tree bears good [kalos] fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy [agathos] tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good [kalos] fruit. Every tree that does not bear good [kalos] fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Apple trees produce – apples. Orange Trees produce – oranges.
Bad tree – bad fruit, Good tree – good fruit
So what is Good? Anyone reading this ever do anything bad? Gone against even your own moral standard whether you believe in God right now or not?
Jesus calls that bad fruit – evidence that we have a disease. You know a person can look healthy and feel okay but have a disease? The Bible would call this disease sin. Denying it doesn’t cure it. However healthy the tree looks right now. Jesus went to the heart of the matter. What’s the solution? You need to become a whole new tree!
Cut the old one down – and get planted in the love of God. Then over time, you grow some new fruit. Christianity is not self improvement or self help. Self got us into this mess – and the only way out is self-death, and a new self.
I’ll look at another Good Question in my next blog post, one Jesus himself asked; WHO is Good?