What does it mean to be good?

What’s been on my mind is what is good? I’m not going into the philosophy of it all, but I will assume that God is the originator of good and evil. So, I want to talk from a Christian worldview, what is it to be good?

From a concordance check that I went through, a lot of the Bible talks of what is good and bad, especially in the Old Testament, of a set of laws, mostly the Mosaic law, that God gives us as a measure. For example in Deuteronomy after Moses repeats the law to the stubborn Israelites, he concludes:

“Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 12:28 (English Standard Version)

So, what we can see is that the law was definitive in the Old Testament as to what was supposed to be God. But where in Old Testament the notion of good and evil is veiled and portrayed as only a collection of following laws. In light of the New Testament, we know now that the law sheds the truth that in reality we aren’t perfect and that we are not inherently good at all. Living in a New Testament context, we have the full revelation that Jesus is the good person who did not break any laws, died for us. Then, through his sacrifice on the cross we know that he alone is good, how then shall we live if we are already good in Christ?

With the ceremonial laws dissolved, we still have the civil law of God to follow which gives us the terms which God sets out for us to follow.  what does it mean to be a good person inside the new covenant? My suggestion is that while Jesus fulfils OT law and resolves what it does; ultimately Jesus shows what evil is:

Anything apart from God.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost connection with God’s way of life, and subsequently they could no longer live in the Garden of Eden. There was a spiritual disconnection from God. While man cannot fill this void, only Jesus Christ can. Since God is the one who initiates salvation (John 10v.3), then how can we begin to do anything that is pleasing to God in the slightest? It’s like a man trying to build a castle without any stones. He can build his sand castles only so long before the wind blows them away.

One story I found illustrative of my point is in the OT. The context of the passage is a celebration of the Ark of the Covenant is occurring with a good ole party happening in the place:

“And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the LORD, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.”And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.”And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.” 2 Samuel 6:5-7 (English Standard Version)

The motives of Uzzah was good in the story, he was trying to stop the ark of the covenant falling to the ground. But ultimately, his hands were unclean and he shouldn’t have stopped the Ark from falling because it wasn’t consistent with God’s holiness. Therefore, God struck him down, clean and simple like that…some might call it harsh, but it was totally just and already outlined in the law.

As Christian we can live one way, but not seek to glorify God as the ultimate ends. It’s too easy to fall back unto pleasing ourselves and therefore manipulating God’s gifts to us. While we still have the will to do stuff, if it isn’t what God has led us down it is utterly meaningless.

Even with Bill Gates and his foundation, though he is doing a great work for the world, his foundation gives a lot of money to good causes, no doubt. He still isn’t doing good in the absolute sense because he isn’t glorifying God. My analogy is like building a village, but there is a huge difference between building a village for the enemy or for the kingdom of God. Without God we are just building kingdoms to be torn down again when Jesus comes back again.

I guess this post was influenced when I said something similar that nothing is good unless done in God. The conversation occured in the comments section of a post somewhere on Xanga, I don’t remember the post. And I got bashed by a few people, I didn’t really try to fight back too much but I hope that all made sense where I’m coming from. I think the post that it was talking about was about atheists doing good works, and I countered that it wasn’t done at all in glory of God to bring him glory at all.

As Christians it is too easy to live lives that are externally good, we can give 10% of our gross income and continue to live our ways in a ‘good’ type of way. We can feed children in Africa, give some groceries to the food bank every Monday, drop a few coins into the offering bag as it goes by and volunteer outside the abortion clinics. While they are all good things, if not done with God’s glory in mind, it will be as filthy rags to God, because we are trying to earn our own salvation.

“And Samuel said,“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,as in obeying the voice of the LORD?Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,and to listen than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 (English Standard Version)


About JN
what happened to dignity / never see it on MTV.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: