For a long time I’ve sought to debunk the idea of “good Christians.”
…I try to be a good Christian…
…He’s a good Christian…
…She WAS a good Christian…
What does that even mean, friends? I’m a word person. I love words.
Let’s look at “good”, the adjective.
Friends, meet a really useful adjective: good. It can also mean of high quality, proper or correct. A high quality Christian…a proper Christian…a correct Christian. This would imply that there’s some kind of grading system for being a Christian…a rubric, if you will.
“10 points for not lying to your mom! 12 points there for choosing Christian music! Oooh, sorry… -5 for being jealous of his new phone.”
I don’t recall where in the Bible Jesus was calling out points to people like they were a student at Hogwarts. (10 points to Hufflepuff!) Being a follower of Jesus Christ doesn’t involve checking good deeds off a list. Sure, there is a perfect Law for us to follow, but the beauty of God is that He stands in forgiveness. When He looks at you, He sees the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Your sin is gone…we can’t earn brownie points with God.
There’s no ranking system for His followers. After all, it says many times in the Word that, “The first will be last, and the last first.” We are all on the same level. Louie Giglio spoke at Passion Conference this year about how we are on the same level as the Saints in the eyes of God. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a Christian for 20 years or 20 minutes, we all have received the same restoration and redemption. If something is good, we can assume that comparatively we can find something “better” or superlatively, “best.” That’s not how Christianity works. If there can’t be “better” Christians or awards for the “best” Christians…can there be “good” ones?
In Mark 10, this conversation takes place:
“And as [Jesus] was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'” (v 17)
Pause. This is the part where Jesus hands out the rubric to the class, right? Wrong. Let’s continue.
“And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'” (v 18)
Okay, so…no grading system? But where do the bonus points come in? Can I get some extra credit, here?
Unless I have a faulty Bible, there’s nothing in the footnotes that imply that this verse means anything different in Greek.
Not only does (A) Christ not share the secret formula the rich man wanted to hear but He (B) also says that only God can be described as “good.” Only the creator of the universe is good. (I encourage you to continue reading in Mark 10.)
Anything that can be described as “good” within me stems from God; it IS God. Any “good” decision or “good” word out of my mouth is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus within me.
I am not good. Only God is good. I am not a “good” Christian. However, I AM a Christian filled with the goodness of God.
I pray you rest in the goodness that can only come from the One who formed you. He is love and life and all things beautiful. Seek Him. Seek His goodness within yourself and man…let it shine.