now I see

In Joe Stowell’s excellent talk on Monday, he distinguished between the Greek terms for good, agathos and kalos.  He said that agathos meant something like moral purity and kalos meant acts of service.  He illustrated the difference by saying that if you pass by a pornographic shop on the street, that is agathos good works, and if you give $5 to a panhandler, that is kalos goodness.

When I wrote to thank him for his speech, I jokingly asked whether giving $5 to a panhandler is really a kalos deed, or have you just bought that fellow a drink?  Joe responded back in kind, saying that Jesus healed a blind man without wondering whether he would use his newfound sight to stare at women.

Joe meant it as a joke, but it got me thinking.  I have never considered what it would have been like to be tempted in the very area that I was healed by Jesus.  Would a former blind man think twice before using his redeemed sight to sin?  If it was me, I think I would.

Then it struck me that I am that blind man.  We read Augustine in class this morning, and he said that our vitiated nature has been restored by Christ.  Just as it would be unthinkably inappropriate for a healed blind man to use his restored sight to lust, so it is wrong for us to use any of our redeemed members for sin.  As Paul says in 1 Cor. 6:19-20, “you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.” 

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  1. man…nice one!

    “Just as it would be unthinkably inappropriate for a healed blind man to use his restored sight to lust, so it is wrong for us to use any of our redeemed members for sin.”

    that line packed a punch…makes me think about those particularly healed areas in my life and how I use them to sin.

  2. Thanks for the great thought…

  3. Quite well put. Jesus saved me KNOWING I would still sin with my new found freedom, yet I have been told not to give cash to the homeless because the MIGHT buy drugs with it.

    (Of course, the solution is to give to homeless shelters and not to the homeless directly; the money goes further that way and feeds more people.)

  4. Why would you waste that insight on a blog entry when you could so easily write a book about this, with each chapter being about how we SHOULD use our redeemed members to glorify GOd and how instead we use them for Christ. Intro would be “me and my good buddy Joe Stowell were talking…” And it could be marketed as the super practical life-and-holiness followup to HIAPOE. The book title/’80s song could be “It’s a Sin” (Pet Shop Boys)… Although the kalos/agathos distinction is a little too simplistic; definitely overlapping semantic domains at play here (i.e. “What good [agathon] deed shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good [agathou]? There is only one who is good [agathos], God.”

    Kind of like the philia/agape distinction that preachers often draw.

  5. Zach:

    Next you’re going to tell me that “dunamis” doesn’t mean “dynamite”! Or that we aren’t comprised of 3 parts: spirit, soul, and body. Or that invisible things don’t lnecessarily last forever. Maybe “Common Mistakes Preachers Make” would make a more interesting book?

  6. “Common Mistakes Preachers Make”. Now, that would be a good book! You could even get Dr. Meadors involved. I seem to remember him bringing up a few of those in class. I only hope that I have not committed anything that would appear in such a book.🙂

    Your thoughts in this post really did strike a chord. I think we need to be careful not to erect criteria that people must meet before we are willing to show them love and compassion. Isn’t that the core of the gospel? “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

  7. BTW, I was watching my son with most of my mind while I typed that comment. I meant that each chapter would be about a different member (eyes, feet, hands, etc.) and how we SHOULD use it for redemptive work, but instead use it for SIN.

    And dunamis absolutely DOES mean dynamite. As Meadors puts it, “Chucky said so on TV last Sunday.”

  8. Gary T. Meadors April 8, 2009 — 3:48 pm

    I n t e r e s t i n g … interesting how you can say what may be true and butcher Greek all at the same time. I guess that’s God’s truth-protect valve.

    Whatever happened to NT1?

  9. Gary T. Meadors April 8, 2009 — 3:50 pm

    PS My Greek reference is to the illegitimate totality transfer applied to Greek terms translated “good.”

    A lot of this stuff comes from Wuest’s Bad Word Studies.

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