Luke 18:18-19 NASB
” A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”But Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”
1 Peter 1:14-16 NASB
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
When a ruler called Jesus “Good Teacher”, Jesus corrected Him by pointing out that no one is good except God alone. Was Jesus good? Yes He was and is but Jesus, who is the Son of God, wanted to let us know that “goodness”, originates from His Father and God the Father’s standard of “goodness” is the benchmark by which all “goodness” is determined.
Many people can and do look at someone else, or even themselves, and come to the conclusion that the person to whom they are looking at, or even themselves, is good. Can there be an element of truth in that observation? The answer to that question depends upon what that “goodness”, within that person, is being compared with.
If we are just comparing a singular person as being generally perceived as being a “good” person, as compared with a broader part of a population that contains some people who are generally considered good and others that are perhaps, not so good, then there can be an element of truth involved within that generalization, because we are comparing ourselves to one another.
But when we are comparing the “goodness” in and of ourselves, to the “goodness” that originates from, and is consistently maintained by God the Father Himself, the comparison becomes invalid because there is no comparison between the “good” in us as compared to the “good” that God our Father is, in and of Himself.
Think of lighting a paper match from a book of paper matches and compare it with a flame being shot out of a weaponized flame thrower. Do they both utilize combustion? The answer is yes but to say that they are one and the same would be an inaccurate comparison.
When we compare the “goodness” that we sometimes see in ourselves and others, with the “goodness” that is continually maintained by God, our heavenly Father, there is no comparison. God our Father is all light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
And in God’s witness to us in His Holy Word, when God looks at His “goodness” and compares it to our “goodness”, God Himself tells us of the comparison. Romans 3:10-12 NASB tells us: “as it is written:
“There is no righteous person, not even one;
There is no one who understands,
There is no one who seeks out God;
They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good,
There is not even one.”
Compare with Psalm 14:1-3.
Notice the “as it is written”. This is Old Testament, as is Isaiah 53:6 NASB which reads:
“All of us, like sheep, have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the wrongdoing of us all
To fall on Him.”
That “To fall on Him” is the promised Messiah and that Messiah is Jesus, the Son of God.
I frequently hear, “so and so is a good person” and that may have an element of truth in it, but that is only a valid comparison when we are comparing ourselves with one another. When we compare “goodness” between ourselves and the “goodness” of God, there is no comparison and as unfortunate as it may sound, that is NOT the comparison that is the standard, to which we are to be judged.
Throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we are told to be holy like the Holy One. The Holy One is God our Father. No matter which way you cut it, that is a tall order, and it is meant to be. Because when we begin to compare ourselves, not one to another, but to the standard to which we are to attain, to be at one with God, we run into a problem. We can’t, in and of ourselves, do it. We fail, we fall short, continually, all of the time, no matter how hard we may try.
A large part of the Old Testament has been given to us to bring us to the awareness and the conclusion that we need outside assistance to be at one with God, who is Holy. That would be outside assistance as in not via ourselves or others, but outside assistance as in divine, God sourced assistance.
And here in is the solution that God ordained right from the very beginning in the Garden of Eden to rectify this problem. The Apostle Paul spells it out for us in Romans 5:12-18 NASB when he says:
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all mankind, because all sinned— for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not counted against anyone when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the violation committed by Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
But the gracious gift is not like the offense. For if by the offense of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one offense, resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the gracious gift arose from many offenses, resulting in justification. For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
So then, as through one offense the result was condemnation to all mankind, so also through one act of righteousness the result was justification of life to all mankind.”
Jesus, the Son of God, is God the Father’s solution to our collective problem. So our salvation is NOT a matter of us being “good”, in and of ourselves, or comparing our “goodness” with one another. God the Father’s solution is our justification through His grace and the gift of righteousness, through His Son, Jesus the Christ. Jesus did for us what we in and of ourselves could not do, because this was the expressed will of God the Father.
Does this mean that we can give lip service to our acknowledgement of who Jesus is and what He has done, and then go about living our lives according to our own will? No it does not, and to assume that is an option goes against the entirety of the Old and New Testaments.
I know this post is longer than my normal posts and trust me, I have deliberately NOT included many Scriptures that have come to mind throughout producing this post, in endeavouring to keep it short. But do know this, our “goodness”, in and of ourselves, is NOT the criteria by which are to be judged, with regard to becoming a child of God (born again). It was and is the willingness of Jesus to follow the will of the Father that makes this gift possible and it is the acknowledgement of our own shortfalls and our need to acknowledge who Jesus is and what He has done for us that matters. And yes, it goes without saying that we are still required to follow the commandments and the great commission of Jesus, daily, as we pick up our cross and follow the Son of God.
If however, any of us are relying on our own “goodness”, as the means whereby we are to be welcomed into heaven, when we leave this world, such thinking is NOT supported anywhere within the Old and New Testaments, that I personally am aware of.
For an additional Scripture which validates God’s solution, I would suggest you read Romans 4.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!
None Good But God
Luke 18:18-19 NASB