I Don’t Want to Be a Good Person; I’m a Christian

I Don’t Want to Be a Good Person; I’m a Christian

Do most people want to be good people?  I think most non-Christians would affirm this desire, as well as religious people, and people who follow Christ.  Should it be a goal of humanity to be good?  Does incredibly good behavior cause God to debar the gates to the Garden of Eden or cause God to smile on the people He has redeemed?   I would say no; I think Satan is pleased to so easily deceive man into wanting to be good people, so that they do not focus on how they can become righteous people.

If this idea is true, people may feel this reality is abrasive and that God is unfair to reject man’s attempts at goodness; but since God designed the universe and said (New Testament) 1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God, then man’s opinions do not effect God’s reality, no matter how much we don’t like the sound of it.

What does the Bible, God’s Word, say about man’s goodness in general?  Since the Garden of Eden when evil entered the world, we learn that no person is good. Old Testament, Psalm 14:3b There is no one who does good not even one.  OT, Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment. In the New Testament, in Romans 7:18, Paul says, For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.

What does God say about the goodness of religious people (not sincere God followers and Christ followers, but sincerely religious people)?  NT, Romans 10:2, 3.  For I bear them (Israel) witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  In Matthew 23:27 Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”  So good acts based on religious conviction are not necessarily acceptable to God, so says Jesus.

And of the forgiven sinner to whom Christ has imparted His righteousness, are all of his good acts pleasing to God?  1 Cor 13:3 says, And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  Apparently they are not.  God, through Paul, says to the brethren (1 Cor 3:1), to Christians, 1 Corinthians 3: 13 Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.  So, not all of a Christian’s good behavior will be rewarded.

So, why wouldn’t man’s attempt to be good, the attempt by non-Christian, a religious person, and a Christian, be considered good by God?  Isn’t being good – a good thing?

Well, it appears God gets a little more serious about man’s behavior. OT, 1 Samuel 16:7b For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. NT, Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God…able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. NT, Romans 2:16b God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

In my next blog I will sift through scripture to see what goodness is acceptable to God, whether from a non-Christian, a religious person, or a sincere follower of Jesus.

You Can Find Dirt on Me…Says this Christian Hypocrite

You Can Find Dirt on Me…Says this Christian Hypocrite

Whether you’re a Christian or not, you have likely heard of King David, if from nowhere else but in reference to Michelangelo’s marble Statue of David. In the Old Testament of the Bible and in 2 Samuel 11 you find the story of King David.   Having spent his life following the God of Israel,  he commits adultery, the woman conceives, and King David has the woman’s husband murdered to cover his behavior. King  David later receives consequences for his actions but is still allowed to follow God and be used by God as a great instrument in Christian history.

In the New Testament of the Bible, John 8 speaks of Jewish religious leaders bringing a woman before Jesus who was caught in adultery to see if Jesus thought they should stone her, as instructed in the Old Testament according to Moses’ law.  Jesus told the woman that He did not condemn her, but instead told the believer to go and sin no more.  (While we might assume the woman is a new believer, scripture does directly say whether she has only just become a believer…nonetheless) Jesus did not say to the woman that she was unable to sin any longer, but to go and sin no more.

Later in John 18, one of Jesus’ closest followers who would later be paramount in building the Christian church after Jesus’ death, Peter denies that he was a follower of Christ, just hours before Jesus was killed.  I wonder today if many pastors would still have a job if they denied Jesus in a public way at such a critical time. While Peter was one of the closest followers of Jesus, Peter sinned by lying and dishonoring God, yet God chose to use him greatly to influence the church in the months and years following.

In addition to these few excerpts from the Bible, all throughout Paul’s New Testament writings he admonishes believers to be loyal to God for the salvation they have received and to mature in their faith.  Paul himself states in Philippians 3:12, 13, that the he has not become perfect, but “press(es) on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ”.

It is because of scripture like these that I trod along in my faith after having sinned in egregious ways as did these imperfect people in the Bible.  I have had seasons in my life when, despite my faith, I was shamefully rebellious, and  even now I sometimes fear that others could learn of sins I’ve committed, words I have said.  Do I deserve condemnation as did the adulterous woman brought before Jesus?  Yes, I do.  Have I received consequences for my sins as did David?  Yes, I have.  But I am grateful that scripture shows a God who does not ultimately condemn the believer who has sinned, but rather He pushes the Christian forward, telling us to sin no more.

For many who use hypocrites, such as myself, as an excuse to say that Christians in the church deserve to be ridiculed…I can agree with them that people in the church are sinners, that we still do things wrong after we become Christians.   But to them I extend the scripture taught in the Bible which shows that while we Christians are forgiven and should strive to obey our higher calling of holiness, on this side of heaven you will still see us sin, and that’s one reason why we go to church, to encourage each other as we learn how to become like the only person who never sinned, Jesus Christ.