Do you consider yourself to be a good person? Ask any person if they think they are good, and you will almost always hear a resounding yes.
We are busy with a series of posts where we talk about Jesus who claimed that He is the only way to heaven. Rather than making the claim ourselves, it is our aim to look at the Scriptures and try to unravel why Jesus made this claim. Each one can then decide for themselves, in light of what we discover, if there is any merit to the claim. In order for us to investigate this matter we need to ask ourselves a few very important questions:
Do you consider yourself to be a good person?
Ask any person if they think they are good, and you will almost always hear a resounding yes. It may be true that you and I are not as bad as Hitler who was responsible for the killing of a few million people, the man on death row, or the first other person that comes to your mind. However, the question we should ask ourselves is, by whose standard are we measuring our own goodness?
If you answered yes to the previous question, you are not alone. The Bible says in Proverbs 20:6 that “many a man proclaims his own loving-kindness and goodness.” However, the verse continues by saying, “but a faithful man who can find?”
Regardless of whether you answered yes or no to the previous question, it is not a bad idea that we examine ourselves from time to time. Lamentations 3:40 says,
“Let us test and examine our ways, And let us return to the Lord.”
Even if you are a born-again believer, self-scrutiny on a regular basis is encouraged. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:55,
“Test and evaluate yourselves to see whether you are in the faith and living your lives as [committed] believers. Examine yourselves [not me]! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves [by an ongoing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test and are rejected as counterfeit?”
Therefore, let’s use God’s standard of what is considered ‘good’ based on His Moral Law as defined by the Ten Commandments (or as referred to by Muslims as the Law of Moses), and see if you are right or wrong in your assessment of yourself.
How Good Are You?
Please answer the following questions as truthful as you can:
How many lies do you think you have told in your whole life?
Have you ever stolen anything before? The value of the item is irrelevant. Piracy of music, movies and software counts too.
Have you ever committed adultery?
Have you ever murdered someone?
Have you ever had an unhealthy desire for something? In other words, have you ever coveted something?
Have you always honoured your parents?
Have you ever used God’s name in vain?
Have you always loved God with all your heart, mind, body soul and strength?
Were you truthful and honest with yourself while answering these questions, or did you trivialise God’s Moral Law by making yourself look better than you actually are?
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How did you do? Maybe, even after going through these questions, you still seem to be a good person. In the next exercise, we will take a deeper look at these questions based on the nature of God’s Moral Law, as defined by Jesus.
This is important, since Jesus claimed to be the only way to heaven and we need to understand what His thinking was. Isaiah 42:21 (KJV) prophesied of Jesus that He would…
“magnify the law, and make it honourable.”
How did Jesus “magnify” the Law? One example is found in Matthew 5:21-22 where Jesus said,
“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and ‘Whoever murders shall be guilty before the court.’ 22But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice against him shall be guilty before the court; and whoever speaks [contemptuously and insultingly] to his brother, Raca (You empty-headed idiot)!’ shall be guilty before the supreme court (Sanhedrin); and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fiery hell.”
Another example of how Jesus magnified the Law is found in Matthew 5:27-28 where Jesus said,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28but I say to you that everyone who [so much as] looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
When Jesus magnified the Law, He showed us the nature of the Law. Jesus showed us the Law is more than just physical in nature, but spiritual. Jesus showed us that God will not only judge our physical transgressions, but also what we harbour in our hearts. As Ecclesiastes 12:14 says,
“For God will bring every act to judgment, every hidden and secret thing, whether it is good or evil.”
In light of God’s standard, let’s re-evaluate Question 3 and Question 4:
Have you ever looked at someone with lust?
Have you ever hated someone?
The violation of God’s Moral Law is what the Bible refers to as sin.
Now that we have evaluated our lives in light of God’s Moral Law, let’s see what our actions, whether in thought or in deed, make of us.
What Does Our Sin Make Of Us?
What do we call someone who has told a lie?
What do we call someone who has stolen something, irrespective of the value of the item?
What do we call someone who has committed adultery? According to God’s standard, how about someone who has looked at another person with lust?
According to God’s standard, what do we call someone who, at some point, continued to be angry with someone else, or who spoke insultingly to another person?
What do we call someone who blasphemes?
When we love something else more than God, we call it idolatry. What do we call someone who is guilty of idolatry?
While many proclaim their own goodness, the Bible says in Romans 3:11 that there is not one who seeks after God.
Proverbs 21:2 says,
“Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs and examines the hearts [of people and their motives].”
If we are honest with ourselves, we will see we are all liars, thieves, adulterers, murderers, blasphemers and idolaters, even if just at heart. 1 John 1:8 (KJV) says,
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
4 Consequences Of Sin
Sin leaves man with 4 problems:
The first problem with sin is that it has infected the entire human race. Isaiah 53:6a says,
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, We have turned, each one, to his own way…”
The second problem man faces because of sin, is death and judgement. Romans 6:23a says,
“For the wages of sin is death…”
and Hebrews 9:27 says,
“…it is appointed and destined for all men to die once and after this [comes certain] judgment.”
Thirdly, our problem is what sin makes of us. As we already established, because of sin we are liars, thieves, adulterers, murderers, fornicators, blasphemers and idolaters, just to name a few. We are all guilty of violating one or more of God’s Moral Laws, whether in thought or in deed. James 2:10 says,
“For whoever keeps the whole Law but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of [breaking] all of it.”
Finally, man’s predicament lies with the penalty for sin. For example, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 say,
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [by perversion], nor those who participate in homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers [whose words are used as weapons to abuse, insult, humiliate, intimidate, or slander], nor swindlers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God.”
In addition, Revelation 21:8 says,
“But as for the cowards and unbelieving and abominable [who are devoid of character and personal integrity and practice or tolerate immorality], and murderers, and sorcerers [with intoxicating drugs], and idolaters and occultists [who practice and teach false religions], and all the liars [who knowingly deceive and twist truth], their part will be in the lake that blazes with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
When we compare ourselves to God’s standard of holiness, it is clear that there are no good people. Any person who thinks of himself as ‘good’ is, according to the Bible, deceiving himself.
This doesn’t always make sense, but it will when we compare ourselves to the holy nature of God. We will discuss this in the next post.Read Next: God Is A Judge