What is good?
All bible quotes not otherwise marked are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
God is good. No one else really measures up fully. But when we say God is good what do we mean? What does it mean to be good?
Our society is roiling right now as various factions and tribes seemingly fight a desperate battle day by day. If you listen to the news, each one of these battle is the last one and our society will never be the same if that tribe fails to achieve victory. All the tribes are saying it so I’m not picking on any one. I’m picking on the whole notion.
I often think of the battle we are in right now as we try to reach the lost for Christ. We are out there spreading the good news, the gospel, to any and all who will hear it. We are hopefully helping those new converts to grow and develop into mature and stable Christians. That next generation is then carrying on the work that we will one day lay down as we join our Lord in heaven.
What about injustice? What about those suffering in this world right now? Are we as Christians to stand by and ignore them as we single mindedly seek the lost? What should we do?
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
All of the law and the prophets come back to loving God and loving others. Guess what? That is exactly what is right today.
So if we encounter injustice, what are we to do? We are to oppose it. We should seek to alleviate the suffering of others. Why? Well when we are suffering do we not want relief? If we want others to relieve us when we suffer we should do the same to them.
There are too many people who view something as tainted by association even when the association is not complete. For example. In today’s society a lot of Christians are very opposed to anything having to do with racial reconciliation or the improvement of the lives of those victimized by racism. They say it is woke. They then dismiss it entirely.
I’ll be the first person to say that a lot of people out there are abusing the desire by some for racial reconciliation. There are always going to be abusers. The real question is are we obligated to seek justice for all people. I think we are. We are to treat others as we want to be treated. Don’t we want society and the government to treat us justly? So what if there are abusers. Here is how I feel about people who want to abandon the entire enterprise and use the evil doers who abuse such a efforts as an excuse for inaction.
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban” ’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
You see the Pharisees don’t want to help their parents and they use the fact they have promised what they have to God to not help. Remember we are to treat others like we want to be treated. That is the commandment. It’s one of the two greatest commandments in the bible. I think we Christians need to pay attention. We need to not forget that we are to love everyone no matter how bad they are. That does not mean we condone anything they do. It does mean we can’t let their sin come between our reaching out to them with the good news.
We struggle these days with people who don’t agree with us on sin. We often just avoid these hardcore sinners. We view them as bad and not worth the effort. Drug addicts, homosexuals, child molesters, and violent abusers are all people that are sometimes persona non grata in our churches today. They seem to be beyond the saving grace of God in many people’s minds. In fact, in some minds, I’m convinced they don’t want them to get saved.
Do you want the very worst person you know to be saved? If not then draw nearer to God. The distance between us, in a moral sense, and God is far greater than the distance between us and any fellow human being. That means as bad as Hitler is morally, and he was bad, he is not that bad when compared to how far we fall short of God’s holiness. Yet God sent His son to die anyway.
So what is good? The things of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
When we are like God we are shining forth God’s goodness into this dark cold world. It is a dark cold world. Stop expecting it to be good. It’s full of lost people who are far from God’s ways. Let’s work together brothers and sisters to go into that dark cold world and let them feel the warmth of God’s light. People in darkness, drowning in sin, without hope will go towards the light. Let’s give them that light. God can save them. God can wipe away all the sins from any human being.
Brothers and sisters, it is us who need to make sure we are a light in this world. The lost don’t need to be told they are evil. They need to be shown they are lost and need a savior. They need to be shown the love of God and shown they have hope.
The church’s problem is that they think they are in the moral reformation business as a part of society. Society ain’t getting any better without Jesus. We don’t need to panic that the bad people are taking over. The bad people have been in control for a long long time. We need to worry that those bad people are not seeing are light. When we shake our fists at them and shout angrily at them, we aren’t showing them the light. We are making them angry and making them eager to fight us back. Will that do any good? Are you clinging to their legs as Spurgeon said or are you pushing them over into the darkness?
Not a one of us deserves anything but Hell. In fact we are sentenced to Hell until we are saved. Only Christ’s intervention has given us a chance. Let’s realize and be grateful and let’s reach out and help others.
Let us always seek to live righteous lives but let’s let our actions carried out in love stir their hearts as the Holy Spirit works within them. We don’t need to beat them down or make them feel worthless. The second we hate we’ve abandoned Christ’s team and started supporting the other.
And furthermore, let’s love our brothers and sisters. When they fall short and act in ways not very Christlike let’s help them in love. Let’s help them stand and get back on track. Let’s not seek to demean or demoralize them.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself
We are to bear one another’s burdens. If that married couple is having problems, go and babysit their kids so they can go to counseling. Take action! Love is active. Sitting home saying you love someone is not love. When your child is in trouble, do you just sit passively hoping things get better? No you help however you can. You pray. You reach out to offer help any way you can. Let’s treat our brothers and sisters the same way.
Thank you for reading. There will be more God willing. I love you all. I pray God blesses your mission.