Monday, November 17, 2008


Are you a good person?

The answer that most people give (Christians included), is usually "yes".

For the most part, we consider ourselves to be good because of what we do or don't do. We compare ourselves to others who we consider to be much worse than us. The bad people. Yes, even within the Church, we like to broadcast our goodness or elevate our good-self over that of others. Look at what I've done. I'm nice to people. I sacrifice my time & money. I help at the local soup kitchen. Feed the hungry. Give money to the poor. I tithe. I devote all this time to this ministry or that. I go on missions trips. Read my Bible. Pray. Go to church. Love my wife & kids. Doesn't all of that make me a good person? No. For the believer, these 'good works' are evidence of our faith. (James 2: 14-26). Fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23). In and of themselves, these works do not save us nor do they make us good before a Holy God. It's not enough that we try to justify our goodness through our works. We often base our goodness on what we don't do as compared to those we consider 'bad' or even 'evil'. Hitler... now THAT was an evil person. Criminals, child abusers, adulterers, terrorists, greedy corporate CEOs. Bad people.

Our human nature is at it's very core self-centered and self-righteous (Proverbs 14: 12). Think of #1 first (Philippians 2: 21). This is exactly why the 2nd most important commandment from Christ was to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22: 37-40). Our 'scale' of goodness is based on what we do compared to others who don't do as much or do much worse. This is the sin condition plain and simple.

Regardless of your religion, your lifestyle, what you think of yourself or even what others think of you, we are not good (Jeremiah 17: 9). Yes, I know, there are countless self-help books out there (many in the Christian bookstore too) that want you to believe that deep inside, we're all good. Contrary to this popular opinion, God makes it very clear that we are not good...

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. ~ Mark 10: 17-18.

But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. ~ Isaiah 64: 6.

Throughout the Bible, we are reminded of our lack of goodness and the wickedness of man... Psalm 14: 1-33.

The truth is, mankind is incapable of fully understanding what 'good' is according to God's standards as a result of our depravity and rebellion against Him (I Corinthians 2: 14), (Ephesians 4: 18).

In this short video clip, Paul Washer explains the universal sinfulness of man and our attempts to impress God with our goodness. How can we really be right with God? The key lies in humility. Being humbled before God and recognizing our sinful condition; unable to save ourselves. Unworthy of God's grace but acknowledging that only through this grace are we saved.

As a follower of Christ, good works are the result of a transformed life (
Romans 12: 2) and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2: 13). These works of obedience should not be viewed as things worthy of praise but as one doing what was commanded in the first place (John 12: 43). A child who makes his bed. An employee who completes a task. A soldier who obeys an order. All are acts of obedience; not things worthy of accolades and praise.

Likewise, the Christian should be doing good. Not as though this will save us but out of love for God who has demonstrated His kindness through the sacrafice of Christ for our sins (James 2: 14-26). Our goodness and works will not save us. Nor should we elevate ourselves higher than others because of what we do (or don't do). The reward every believer receives in the end will be a result of our faithfulness alone in Jesus Christ....

His master said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." ~ Matthew 25: 21



Anonymous said...

Very well said. Amen and amen!

Timely considering the wonderful gift for which we have to be thankful