Try an experiment today. Ask a dozen people the question, “Do you think you are a good person?” Chances are, 11 of the 12 well answer that question in the affirmative. As Americans, we have a high view of ourselves. When asked this question, most of us immediately compare ourselves to people in prison, murderers, thieves, or even those who have hurt us in the past. In our mind’s eye, we compare and contrasts ourselves with them and think “I AM a good person!” Unfortunately for us, God does not share that same perspective until we have been born again. Romans 3.10 points out that there are none who are righteous.
And, if we allow ourselves to think through the topic for a bit, it completely makes sense. Think about it. If you break a law, you are guilty of a crime regardless of how much good you did before or after. If you kill someone in cold blood, you deserve a harsh penalty no matter what. We understand this with our human, imperfect judicial system. Yet, somehow, we do not connect the dots when thinking of ourselves standing in front of a perfect, holy judge who know EVERYTHING we have ever thought or done!
If we honestly think we are super awesome, we only need to compare ourselves next to some of God’s standards. Take the 10 commandments, for example. Have you ever lied? Ever stolen? Ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? There are three laws right there that just about everyone has broken multiple…even countless times. If we compare ourselves to Jesus, and some of the criteria He pointed out, we find ourselves in bigger trouble. Jesus showed us that it was our heart, and not just our actions, which truly defined our standing in God’s eyes.
Mat 5.21 You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to the fire of hell.
When we think through this for only a moment, we quickly realize that the idea that we are ‘good’ people is nothing more than our pride and ego getting in the way of truly evaluating where we stand. We can clearly see that we stand guilty, and ultimately, condemned.
This appears bleak. We all deserve judgement from God. Thankfully, God provides the solution to this profound problem of guilt. John 3.16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” When we repent of our sins, and put our faith in the finished work of Christ, we become born again, new creations, through Him. God no longer sees us as guilty people, for the price of our penalty and debts were paid by the redemptive work of His Son on the Cross. The old is washed away, and we are new creations through Him. Amen!!