How Good Are You?
How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10? If we’re honest, then most of us would rate pretty high…at least a six, but probably higher than that. The best we can say is, “I’m not as bad as ______________” or “I’m not as good as _________________.” But, God says that each of us are pretty similar. Is that shocking? Here’s what the Bible teaches:
“…as it is written, ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one (Rom. 3:10-12).”
In fact, Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone (Luke 18:19).” What does all this mean? Look at what the verses from Romans teach us for just a moment.
First, they teach us that this is God’s opinion, rather than our own.
We’ve already admitted that we think we’re pretty good—at least we’re not mass murderers. Notice though that the passage begins with “it is written.” That means that what comes next is a quotation from the Old Testament. The author is merely repeating what God has already said long ago. In other words, its God’s opinion, not our own. See for yourself in Psalm 14:1-3 and Psalm 53:1-3. Then look at Genesis 6:5. What God thinks of us is really important because the Bible also teaches us that He will be our judge (Matt. 25:31-33; Rom. 2:3-6).
Next, they teach us that our problem is internal.
Just prior to these verses, the author wrote about the things people doto try to be good. Here he goes a bit deeper by saying that what’s on the inside is just as bad. “No one understands; no one seeks for God.” In other words, both our understanding (Eph. 4:17-18; Rom.8:7) and our desires (Eph. 2:1-3) are wrong. This is why “all have turned aside.” Jesus said, “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander (Matt. 15:18-19).” According to these verses, we do bad things because we are bad people. We can be compared to an apple that’s pretty on the outside, but rotten in the core.
Finally, they teach us that this problem is universal.
It is impossible to miss the fact that the author includes everyone—without exception. “None…not one…all…not even one.” All throughout the Bible, this messages resounds with clarity and force: “all have sinned (Rom. 3:23).” This means that we’re all in the same boat: none of us are good enough. At some point we all have wondered why there is so much evil in the world. Throughout history people have been astounded by the harsh reality of sin. Why is there so much pain, destruction, injustice, and suffering in the world? The answer is that the evil that permeates our world is a magnification of what is in our hearts. In other words, there is evil in our world because evil exists in us. We are the problem. And we are so affected by sin that we cannot possibly be the solution.
But wait, there is good news.
The Good News
God made everything.
God made the whole world and everything in it (Gen. 1; Psalm 24:1-2; Col. 1:16). Not only that, but everyday He uses His great power to keep everything working (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; Rom. 11:36).
God made everyone.
Just as He created the heavens and earth, God has made people too (Gen. 1:27; Job 33:4). And just like the rest of creation, we too depend upon God for daily life. He gives us breath (Acts 17:25; Job 34:14-15), strength (Psalm 18:39; Isa. 40:29), wisdom (Prov. 2:6), protection (Psalm 23:4) and guidance (Prov. 16:9).
God owns all His creations.
Since He created everything and holds everything together, everything belongs to Him. He’s the king (Psalm 103:19; Rev. 4:2, 4-11). We’re used to rulers who can be mean and heavy-handed or selfish and uncaring, but God is nothing like them. He’s kind (Exo. 34:6), loving (Psalm 100:5; 1 John 4:8) and good (Psalm 104:10-14; Matt.6:25-33). He never does anything bad or wrong (Deut.32:4)
Furthermore, since we live in His world and He created us, He has the right to tell us how to live. He is our king (Psalm 95:3-6). In fact, He is the only true King (Psalm 96:4-6; Isa. 44:6-8; 46:9). Because He is a good King, the only right way to respond to Him is by loving and worshipping Him (Psalm 100:1-5; 103:1-5; 105:1-5; 95:2-7). In fact, this is why we were created (Mark 12:29-30).
The problem is, we don’t want His reign over us.
Instead of obeying God, we reject His rule and authority by doing whatever we want to do (Isa. 53:6; Rom. 1:19-23; Jer. 2:5,13). In doing so, we pretend that we are the king instead of God. This is the essence of what the Bible calls sin. We all sin (Rom. 3:11-12, 23) and our sin—rejecting God and trying to do things our own way—makes us rebels against the true King. Essentially, we have established ourselves as rulers of our own artificial kingdom.
There are real consequences to our rebellion.
We harm one another in many ways (Rom. 1:28-32; 3:13-18; e.g. Gen. 4:1-8; 26:19-21; 27:1-29; 37:13-28), abuse power and create injustice (Psalm 10:2-14). We damage God’s world (Gen. 2:15; 3:17-18; Rom. 8:22). The most serious consequence, however, is that we become God’s enemies (Rom. 5:10a).
Since God is just, He will punish all who rebel against His reign.
God won’t allow us to continue in our sin and pretend to be our own king. He has promised to judge every sinner and punish us for our sin (Psalm 96:13; Rev. 19:11). This judgment is called His wrath (Rom. 1:18). His judgment is that all who reject Him will be banished to a place called hell (Rev. 20:11-15; Luke 16:23-26). Hell is a real place of unending suffering (Matt. 3:12; 13:42; Luke 16:24-28).
But there’s good news…
Because God loves, He sent His Son, Jesus, to bear our punishment in our place.
Many years ago, God sent His own Son, Jesus, into the world (Luke 2:1-14). Jesus was perfectly obedient to His Father (John 15:10); 1 Peter 2:22; Heb. 4:15). He’s the only one who didn’t deserve to be punished. But He was punished. He was killed on a cross (Mark 14:43-50; 15:1-47). We have to ask, Why?
The Bible teaches us that even though He didn’t do anything wrong and didn’t deserve to be punished, He chose to die and take our punishment. In other words, He died in our place as a substitute (Isa. 53:4-6). Moreover, the Bible teaches that God sent Him from heaven specifically for this reason—to bear the judgment for our sin (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10). In other words, God has paid our penalty Himself (2 Cor. 5:21). The good news, then, is that in Christ God offers pardon for rebels.
Then God resurrected Jesus from the dead.
Death was not His end. God brought Jesus back to life again (Matt. 28:1-10). After His resurrection, Jesus was seen by people (1 Cor. 15:3-8) who talked and ate with Him (Luke 24:30), and even touched Him (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:39; John 20:27). Jesus then returned to heaven (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9) and God made Him king over everything (Phil. 2:8-11; 1 Cor. 15:25; Rev. 5:11-14).
One day, Jesus will return to earth.
His return will be dramatically different. When He comes back, He will punish all those who are still rejecting His reign in their lives (Rev. 19:11-16; 21:8). But He will welcome all the pardoned rebels into His good kingdom forever (Rev. 21:1-5). Because of what Christ has done, God is willing to forgive us for our sin and welcome us into His kingdom. To do that, we must admit that we are wrong and trust in Jesus as our king (John 1:12; 3:16; Rom. 10:9).
What does all this mean for me?
It means that either you submit to Christ the King or you live in rebellion against Him. You can reject Him by continuing to be a faux ruler. Or you can admit that you were wrong to try to be your own king, lay down your arms and surrender your life to Jesus. If you do this, God will forgive you because Jesus has already borne your punishment. Then, you’ll begin to enjoy the fellowship with Him that God created you to have. When Jesus returns, you’ll enter into God’s kingdom forever. So who will rule your life? If you are considering these claims of Christ, please contact us. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Finally, is it true?
Is It True?
In a world of seemingly endless possibilities, there are really only two ways to live. As we’ve said, the bad news is that we are in sinful rebellion against God. The Good News, however, is that through the death and resurrection of His Son, God has provided a way to be pardoned. This is the Good News–or Gospel. When we trust in Christ’s death and resurrection, God will pardon our sins and give us a new life. Certainly you have a lot of questions, so we encourage you to consider this Good News by exploring the information below.
Please note that each link will open another website in a new tab and that EMBC does not necessarily endorse other content on those sites.
Can I trust the Bible?
The Historicity of the Bible J.P. Moreland
The New Testament Documents F.F. Bruce
The Evidence for Jesus William Lane Craig
The Biblical Canon F.F. Bruce
Is Christianity Credible? J.I. Packer
What does the Bible mean when it talks about sin?
What is sin? D.A. Carson
What is sin? David Powlison
How bad am I? J.I. Packer
Is there such a thing as “just a little” sin? R.C. Sproul
Was Jesus’ death necessary?
Why did Jesus have to die? David Short
What takes place on the cross? Thabiti Anyabwile
What did Jesus’ death accomplish? J.I. Packer
Did Jesus really rise from the dead?
Is the resurrection of Jesus important? J.I. Packer
Evidence for the Resurrection Josh McDowell
Is there a case for the resurrection of Jesus? William Lane Craig
If God is good why do we suffer?
Where is God? John Piper
What is the nature of God concerning evil? Phil Ryken
Suffering for the sake of… Joni Eareckson Tada
Why is there so much evil in the world? Tim Keller
Could God have stopped a tsunami? John Piper
If God is love why does hell exist?
Isn’t He a God of love? Reddit Andrews
The Biblical Doctrine of Judgment Leon Morris
What is hell? Tom Nelson
The importance of hell Tim Keller
What about other worldviews?
Is there a true religion? Dallas M. Roark
Darwin under the microscope Michael Behe
How are Yahweh and Allah Different? John Piper
How are Jesus’ claims unique among world religions? Jeff Louie
Don’t all religions contain truth? Grek Koukl
Moral relativism Peter Kreeft
Why can’t other religions save? R.C. Sproul
Hasn’t the atheism of Richard Dawkins eliminated God? Alister McGrath