I wish to draw a contrast between man’s idea of goodness, and God’s idea of goodness. Getting this wrong is dangerous whether saved, or not.
There is good as God defines it, and there is good as mankind defines it, and we will have to make a choice about which one we will allow to shape us. So we should explore the doctrine of God’s goodness, and the doctrine of original sin in man.
There is a modern day infatuation with those who do what modern society defines as good.
Animal rights activism is at an all time high, especially among those in Hollywood, and within the music industry. Performers who sing songs and actors and actresses who promote causes against animal cruelty feel that it magnifies their goodness. The Bible says, the righteous are kind to their animals, but it does not say, all who are kind to their animals are righteous.
There are bumper stickers that read: do random acts of kindness, love your mother earth, save the whales, or go green.
Going green! There’s a big one today. If you are really good you will drive an expensive hybrid car, live by candle light instead of incandescent lights, use solar power at home, plant trees, oppose oil companies, and hate republicans. That can define you as being good.
When Christmas season hits many will achieve goodness by donating time and great sums of money to the homeless of society.
This worldly standard for goodness can effect the church tends as well. An evangelist may think all who witness daily are good. An intercessor may feel all who gather in groups several times a week to pray, are good. Maybe it is generosity for another, or perhaps study that implies goodness. This implies we are good based on what we do, or do not, do. So what happens if you fail to do it as much as someone else? Who sets the standard?
Although acts of kindness are needed in society, should these things determine whether or not a person is good?
Jesus went about doing good, and healing all who were sick and oppressed of the devil.
He provided free health care for the sick, free emotional healing for the mentally and spiritually oppressed, free meals for the tired and poor, free services to poor widows who lost their only sons, free eye care, free services for the hearing impaired, free services for the physically handicapped, free tax assistance, and he caused a rich tax collector to give money to the poor. He would be the ultimate modern day presidential candidate.
Jesus met all the modern day criteria for what defines good. There were those in His generation who felt He was good. But they called Jesus good based on what He did. How did He respond?
Matthew 19:17 ¶ Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" 18 So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
About The Author
- Tim Atchley
- Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
- I currently serve as Senior Pastor of Harvest Church in Knoxville, Tn. I was sent out from Trinity Chapel of Knoxville in 1993 accompanied by my wife Sheila our four children Sarah, Hannah, Josiah & Isaac and a handful of bold, brave and committed believers determined to plant our first church. Pioneering is hard work but well worth the journey. That is why we desire to make disciples of Christ who will, like us, also embrace the call to plant churches.