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Is It Good Enough To Be Good?

Is It Good Enough To Be Good?

We try to be good. We generally think of ourselves as good. And we want others to be good. But is being good, good enough? Does that make us acceptable to God?

Conscience Salve. Personal goodness is often an attempt to feel better about ourselves. Our culture says, “Tell yourself you’re fine, you’re good – believe it and everything will be fine.” This may temporarily bury guilt feelings, but deep inside we know our mistakes and imperfections. What can we do?

None Righteous. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Ro 3:10) because, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Ro 3:23). Shame is not in being a sinner, but in refusing to admit it so forgiveness can be found in Jesus Christ. Without Christ, no one is good enough to enter the glory of God!

God is Good. “…there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mk 10:18). God is the only One who is wholly and truly good. He is the standard of goodness. We must measure ourselves by Him, not those around us. God, therefore, is the only One who can help us be truly good.

Goodness vs Righteousness. There is a temptation to confuse common goodness with uncommon righteousness. Social goodness is not the same as spiritual righteousness. “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God…” (1 Co 15:34). Righteousness respects God’s nature, character, and will for us as we conform our thinking and actions to Him. This is more than being a nice person or good neighbor.

True Goodness & Righteousness Revealed. “He has shown you, O man, what is good…” (Micah 6:8). God has not left it up to us, society, or guesswork to determine what is truly good. God’s word, the Bible, reveals what is true, right, and good. So, in life, we test things by God’s word, and accept the things that test to be good (1 Th 5:21).

Good Can’t Undo Bad. It’s tempting to think that good actions somehow pay for the wrong (sin) we’ve done. But, “…by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ep 2:8-9). We try to do good things because they reflect God’s goodness, but it is God’s grace, salvation in Jesus that makes us good. Any goodness in Christians is a reflection of the fruit of God’s Spirit working in them.

It can be frustrating to try to be good and then hear that being good isn’t good enough – it isn’t righteous. But this frustration can be motivation to find goodness in God’s forgiveness rather than in punishing ourselves or trying to earn God’s favor by trying to do good things for Him and others. As long as we think we’re good enough we will not truly believe, truly repent, truly confess, and truly obey. God’s goodness IS good enough!  dd