If you stopped someone on the street and asked, “Are you a good person?,” most people would answer in the affirmative. Generally, people think that if they are good citizens by contributing to society through working hard, paying their taxes, and staying out of jail, then they are good.
Who does Jesus say is good? In his conversation with the rich young man, Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone” (Mk. 10:19). This is a startling fact that no one is good according to Jesus.
How does the Bible justify this teaching? Jeremiah 17:9 explains the state of man’s heart, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” In Romans 3:11, Paul says that “no one does good, not even one.” Later in the chapter he writes “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…”(Rom. 3:23). In Titus 3:3, Paul describes Christians before God converted them as “once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
If you are still not convinced, then please take this test. Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen? Do you envy your neighbor’s possessions or spouse? Have you used God’s name as a curse word? Have you hated someone in your heart? Have you disobeyed your parents?
If you are honest, then you will admit to failing this test. These questions come from the Ten Commandments and reveal God’s character. He alone is good, because He does not sin. On the contrary, all individuals have broken God’s laws. We are not good, because we have not kept God’s law perfectly. As a result, we have failed to meet God’s standard for goodness. Therefore, you and I are not good. We are evil.
Why does this matter? Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Hebrews 12:14 also says, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” If the standard for seeing the Lord in heaven is perfection and holiness, how are we who are lawbreakers supposed to become good? How can we go to heaven if we are unholy sinners? Next week, you will find out the answer.
Most faith traditions do not agree on Jesus’ identity. One religion says that Jesus is a prophet but not God. Another teaches that Jesus is one of many gods, and you can become a god like him. A third group claims that Jesus is the first being of all creation which means he is not eternal. Finally, many people think Jesus was a profound teacher, but he is not a prophet or God. What is the truth?
The Bible gives at least four reasons why Jesus is God. First, he performed miracles. In the Gospel of John, Jesus healed a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years (Jn. 5:1-17), feed 5000 men with a boy’s lunch (Jn. 6:1-15), walked on water (Jn. 6:16-21), healed a blind man (Jn. 9), and raised a dead man from the grave (Jn. 11:38-44). By performing these miracles, Jesus proved that he had authority over nature, sickness, and death.
Second, the Pharisees tried to kill Jesus, because he claimed to be God. John 5:18 says, “he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” Jesus did not respond by correcting them. The Jewish leaders received his message clearly. In fact, Jesus continued to claim deity by using the “I AM” statements. In Exodus 3:14, God called himself, “I AM WHO I AM.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus used seven “I AM” statements as a way to ascribe God’s name to himself. John 8:58 says, “before Abraham was, I am.”
Third, other writers in the New Testament state that Jesus is God. The Apostle Paul calls him “the Christ, who is God overall” (Rom. 9:5) and “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). The writer to the Hebrews applies a quotation in Psalm 102:25-27 about Jehovah to Jesus in Hebrews 1:8, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” Finally, Peter calls him, “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:1).
Fourth, Jesus received worship. In Revelation 5:14, God reveals a glimpse of the worship taking place in heaven. After mentioning the Father and the Lamb, John tells us that “the elders fell down and worshiped.” Who did they worship? They praised the Father and the Son. Additionally, Hebrews 1:6 says that the angels worshiped Jesus. In Philippians 2:10, Paul also writes that “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Unlike the angel in Revelation 19:10 who refused John’s worship, Jesus rightly accepts it, because he is not a creature. He is God.
Why does this matter? If Jesus is not God, then there is no hope for salvation. Jesus came to “save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21) with his precious blood, “like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Pet. 1:19). If Jesus were a man or an angel, he would not have the infinite value to pay for the sins of his people. An angel or man could not save one person from their sins. Therefore, Jesus as the infinite eternal God put on human flesh to die on the cross for sinners. By having the nature of man, he could die. By having the nature of God, his sacrifice brought forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who believe in him.
Brandon was born and raised near Springfield, IL. He graduated from Illinois College in 2007 with a B.A. in History and from Moody Theological Seminary in 2010 with a Master of Divinity. He is a PhD student in Historical Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City and an ACBC certified Biblical counselor. In April 2016 Brandon accepted the call to pastor at Faith Baptist. He loves history and reading and has a heart for street preaching and evangelism.