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.
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.