But Wait! I’m A Good Person

Ecclesiastes 7:20 NLT “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.”

There are many who are deluded into thinking they are good people. You hear them say it all the time; “I’m a good person.” Interestingly Jesus who truly is good was once called a good person by someone and had this to say about it:

Luke 18:19 NLT “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good.

So if Jesus–the only human to never sin–didn’t let people call him good, who are we to make such a claim? Being what we call, “A good person,” is not enough to please God. The next passage illustrates this well:

Luke 18:18‭-‬30 ESV “And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

WOW! There’s so much to learn from this passage. But one of the things we glean is here was a man who didn’t steal, didn’t commit adultery, wasn’t a murderer, honored his parents, and didn’t slander others. Still he wasn’t good enough to please God. Because good works alone can never gain God’s approval the Bible says. The man started his conversation with Jesus by calling Him, “Good Teacher.” But when the Good Teacher taught him what he must do to receive eternal life he couldn’t accept Jesus’ teaching. Instead he became very sad. Jesus told him he was only lacking ONE thing. But that one thing was a doozy. It occupied the man’s heart. This is evident by his response (becoming very sad) about what Jesus commanded him. Though an ethical person the man’s true heart was uncovered. He was devoted to his riches and despised Almighty God. He loved his money and hated God:

Matthew 6:24 NIV “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Here’s another example that proves our perceived goodness; our own righteousness, will get us nowhere:

Luke 18:9-14 NLT “Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: [10] “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. [11] The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people-cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! [12] I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ [13] “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ [14] I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

WOW!!! There it is again. The Pharisee seemed to be doing everything right; it appeared he had his act together, but he totally missed the mark. He too depended on his own good works instead of God who makes people righteous. And here we have a known sinner; a tax collector, who doesn’t claim any goodness or righteousness of his own, but depends on God, and winds up pleasing Him. God justified this sinner, not the religious Pharisee. WOW!!! Isn’t God cool? He puts down the arrogant but shows grace and favor to the humble.

None of us can truthfully make the claim that we are righteous. We sin way too much.

Romans 3:23-24 KJV “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

And lastly, one of my favorite examples of how a person who is not good can be made right with God by simply believing in the one who is good; Jesus Christ:

Luke 23:39-43 NIV “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” [40] But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? [41] We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” [42] Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” [43] Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

YES! YES! YES! 😂 Don’t you see it? God is so good! And He makes righteous whom He declares righteous! No puny human can ever step to him and say, “I am good.” It is blasphemy. But those who come to God with a contrite heart, and humble spirit like the man on the cross, and like the tax collector, WILL receive a righteous standing before Almighty God, because God is that good and kind!

Romans 4:5 NIV “However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”

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