One of the interesting facets of the Greek that is lost is translation to English is that of the four loves — Agape, Philia, Eros, and Storge.
However, there is actually another one of the fruits of the Spirit — goodness — that has two separate meanings. Likewise, the same for the bad.
G18 — ἀγαθός — agathos — ag-ath-os’
A primary word; “good” (in any sense, often as noun): – benefit, good (-s, things), well. Compare G2570.
G2570 — καλός — kalos — kal-os’
Of uncertain affinity; properly beautiful, but chiefly (figuratively) good (literally or morally), that is, valuable or virtuous (for appearance or use, and thus distinguished from G18, which is properly intrinsic): – X better, fair, good (-ly), honest, meet, well, worthy.
G4550 — σαπρός — sapros — sap-ros’
From G4595; rotten, that is, worthless (literally or morally): – bad, corrupt. Compt. G4190.
G4190 — πονηρός — ponēros — pon-ay-ros’
From a derivative of G4192; hurtful, that is, evil (properly in effect or influence, and thus differing from G2556, which refers rather to essential character, as well as from G4550, which indicates degeneracy from original virtue); figuratively calamitous; also (passively) ill, that is, diseased; but especially (morally) culpable, that is, derelict, vicious, facinorous; neuter (singular) mischief, malice, or (plural) guilt; masculine (singular) the devil, or (plural) sinners: – bad, evil, grievous, harm, lewd, malicious, wicked (-ness). See also G4191.
G2556 — κακός — kakos — kak-os’
Apparently a primary word; worthless (intrinsically such; whereas G4190 properly refers to effects), that is, (subjectively) depraved, or (objectively) injurious: – bad, evil, harm, ill, noisome, wicked.
As you can see, the definition of kalos from Strong’s clarifies the meaning for us. This is important to know, since we know that agathos is an intrinsic quality of being good while kalos is about the extrinsic of doing good. Likewise, the same for the intrinsic quality of evil and the bad. This distinction is very important as we will see when we examine the context the certain ways that Jesus uses these two words in the Gospels.
Matthew 7 (NASB) — Jesus on false prophets
17 So every good (agathos) tree bears good (kalos) fruit, but the bad (sapros) tree bears bad (poneros) fruit. 18 A good (agathos) tree cannot produce bad (poneros) fruit, nor can a bad (sapros) tree produce good (kalos) fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good (kalos) fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will [m]know them by their fruits.
This passage is extremely pertinent to the burgeoning discussion in to game or not to game and game is not a toolbox on why game is evil because the nature of game as selfish produces selfish actions.
This is why “game” as advice for telling us what to do such as dread game are evil because you are using a foundation of selfishness and this is reflected in your heart. It bears bad (sapros) fruit.
While the utility of what “game” tells us what not to do as Christian masculine men such as be needy and seek validation around women is useful. It helps you to avoid from bearing bad (sapros) fruit.
This is why this conclusion right here is so important:
- It is good to know to learn about what to do and what not to do from the nature of intersex relationships from the Scriptures, godly mentors, prayer, fasting, meditation on the Word, etc.
- It is good to know what not to do from knowledge of the nature of the flesh such as game.
- But I would be very, very, very careful about what learning what to do from something inherently selfish like game.
Exchanging an idol — pedstaling of women — for another idol — self and/or primary focus women — is in no way a good thing.
Now that we have had our fill of game for the day, let’s turn our attention to understand how the good and the good relate to us in terms of God and ourselves as Christians.
In God is good I referenced the passage of the rich young ruler, so let me pull that passage out to the forefront again.
Matthew 19 (NASB) — Parable of the Rich Young Ruler
16 And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing (agathos) shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good (agathos)? There is only One who is good (agathos); but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
(KJV) 16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good (agathos) Master, what good thing (agathos) shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good (agathos)? there is none good (agathos) but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
This is where the KJV is more illuminating that other translation even though I like NASB, although both have their utility.
First, the intrisic word for God is used. This further amplifies what I said in God is good that it is only God who is intrinsically good.
Second, if you notice the wording in each passage you can see that the question might be a bit vague. The reference to being good in NASB is that Jesus believes the young ruler is asking Him about good things or works, while the KJV passage translates the passage that Jesus assumed that the young ruler was calling him good rather than asking about good.
The utility in understanding this is that Jesus, in human form, did not consider himself to be on par with God if we take the translation of KJV to be true. This is further expounded upon in Philippeans 2 (NASB),
3 Do nothing [c]from [d]selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, 7 but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [h]on a cross.
A revisit to God doesn’t owe you anything and not personal responsibility but stewardship.
Matthew 25 (NASB) — Parable of the Talents
20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good (agathos) and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your [c]master.’
It is those who are good stewards with what God has given them that are called intrinsically good when they settle accounts with their master. This cannot be understated. It is not the good (kalos) we do, but because we are good (agathos) and faithful in that which He has called us to do.
Paul expounds on the nature of the good and the good and bad and the bad in Romans 7 on the two conflicting natures.
12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good (agathos). 13 Therefore did that which is good (agathos) become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good (agathos), so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.
14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold [m]into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good (kalos). 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good (agathos) dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good (kalos) is not. 19 For the good (agathos) that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil (kakos) that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21 I find then the [n]principle that evil (kakos) is present in me, the one who wants to do good (kalos). 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God [o]in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in [p]the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner [q]of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from [r]the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
This is a very deep passage, and there are many things to learn from it.
1. The law is intrinsically good (agathos), but our actions in regard to the law confessing that it is good (kalos). That is we do good (kalos) by the law when we observe it, but it doesn’t make us intrinsically good (agathos).
This is one of the fundamental parts of Christianity and why God had to send Jesus to save us. For while we can do good (kalos) by observing the law, we cannot be cleansed to be intrinsically good (agathos) by observing the law. And therefore, God requires a sacrifice to stand in the gap and cover our multitude of sins.
2. Although we want to do good (kalos), since nothing good (agathos) is present in us we cannot do good. This is what the Holy Spirit allows us to do, because we are in Him we are able to do good (kalos) even though our flesh is not good (agathos). When the Spirit is working in us we are recreated in Him to be good (agathos) and thus we can do good works (kalos).
3. I find it quite interesting that Paul used kakos instead of poneros here, though I imagine that kakos and sapros are synonyms in that it refers to what is intrinsically corrupt and therefore only corrupt actions flow henceforth.
I find it horrible that English is so limited that we don’t glean a lot of the knowledge of how the words were used in Jesus’ and Paul’s time. And thanks be to God that He has allows my study of the Greek here to bear good (kalos) fruit and allowed me to share it with all of you.
Finally, we get to references to Galatians 5. The reason why I continue to hammer home Galatians 5 is that Jesus is so adamant on our fruits that he dedicate many of the parables to understanding that we need to obey His commands and not be of our own selfish ambitions.
The word used in Galatians 5 is a derivative of good (agathos),
G19 — ἀγαθωσύνη — agathōsunē — ag-ath-o-soo’-nay
From G18; goodness, that is, virtue or beneficence: – goodness.
And the passages in which it is used are thus,
Romans 15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness (agathosune), filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness (agathosune), faithfulness,
Ephesians 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness (agathosune) and righteousness and truth), 10 [f]trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even [g]expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are [h]exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will [i]count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness (agathosune) and the work of faith with power,
The main thing that stands out to me is that which I have constantly hammered home like the Galatians passage. It is only when we are walking by the Holy Spirit that we can express the goodness of God in our actions.
My conclusion is this.
When we are good (agathos) through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to do good (kalos) works. People then ask us why we do this good (kalos) then it is necessary to praise God because it is His goodness (agathos) in us that has allowed us to do good (kalos). This is one of the things that I continue to learn to grow in. Although God has created and blessed me with certain talents, it is only through the working of His Holy Spirit that I can use them for good (kalos).
If I self depreciate saying it was nothing or take credit for myself then I have done a great disservice to God claiming credit where it was His power in me. Therefore, I should instead praise only God for the goodness that others see in me and my works, for without the transforming nature of His power I would not be able to do good.
I believe this is why many think they can do good works to gain salvation. They do not understand the nature that if the tree is corrupted by sin it cannot bear good fruit.
Salvation, then, requires a bridge to stand in the gap. The cross is symbolic of the bridge from us to God, though it is the blood of Jesus that covers a multitude of sins and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that allows us to to be transformed into a creation worthy of the Father.