I have heard many times recently this idea that there ‘must be something good in man for God to want to redeem us’. So the question arises, is there any good in man and what does the Bible say about this?
Paul said in Romans 7:18, “For in me dwelleth no good thing”. We are all (as Paul said in Rom. 7:14) ‘carnal sold under sin’ from birth. And as good as man can be, as wise as man can be, the wisdom of man is foolishness to God and the ‘goodness’ of man is filthy rags to God.
Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
1Co 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
I hear a man preach that there is good in us and therefore God loves us. This is wrong. How can this be? If there is good in us, then why the Cross? John said in his epistle (1John 1:8), “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” He was speaking to the CHURCH!!!!! Have we reached a sinless incorruptible state yet? No. I haven’t. Have you? I am speaking of condition and position. The position of the believer must be and is totally in Christ. We are planted in His death, His righteousness and one day we will be raised in His likeness– complete in Christ. For the moment, we are in this flesh (condition) and we must continue to rely on the Righteousness of Christ Jesus—the Cross. “By Grace are you saved through Faith and that not of yourselves, it is the Gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
Man in his blindness is ever searching within this blindness for a light in the wrong place. The Light is Christ and only by that Light can we know what is good! The goodness of man is but a rag that has been filled with putrid things and left to rot out in the sun. It is good for nothing. It will not profit those who try to enter Heaven and shout, “Lord, lord, we heard you teach in our streets! We have done many things in your Name.” And Jesus cries from within the Gates of the city, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you!” (Luke 13:24-28)
Shall the shepherds cause the blindness to continue? Is this good to preach to people who are lost and going to hell, “O man, there is good in you!” Is this good to preach to the Laodicean Church? Will they make Christ the beggar? I am astonished at the doctrine of ‘there is good in man’ because it is the same message of Buddha and Krishna. “Ye shall be as gods” –The serpent beguiled our earthly parents with these words, that through knowledge they would attain to God. But God has shown us through His Son Jesus that by His sacrifice we may freely enter and have communion with God forever. This has only happened through the shedding of blood! It cost God dearly to redeem fallen man!
God is love and God is good. To suggest that God’s goodness is conditional upon our goodness is to put man on par with God. Such is devilish. The Devil is ever trying to make us a part of his scheme to be ‘as gods’. Such has no place in the mind or heart of the believer, because it is not in the Word of God.
From the Beginning, God had Christ as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. The goodness of God saw that man would need to be redeemed by blood and not just any blood, but the very life of His only Begotten Son. As good as we were in the Garden of Eden, we were weak. As good as we were created in the image of Almighty God and as much communion as we had with Him in the Garden, it was not enough to redeem us forever or keep us in communion because the nature- the seed of man was weak. It takes God to be eternal. Only He can be the ‘I AM’ and so it was only from Himself that He could reach down and take the garment of man, dress Himself in it to be married to man through the Body of His Son Jesus Christ (Heb. 6:13). This is a great mystery, but one that started before the Garden.
If you think about it, what Adam and Eve represented was the relationship that God would make with man through Christ Jesus. Adam was made in the likeness of Christ Jesus and Eve was made in the likeness of Adam. Man and woman were called Adam until the fall, when Adam called his wife’s name ‘Eve’. Like as Adam and Eve became one flesh, God became one with man through Christ Jesus that He might marry (redeem) fallen man.
If there had been any good in us, all of this would not have been necessary to do and what salvation would have been wrought? Christ said that He did not come to save the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance. He came for sinners. What good can we offer Him that He (God) will recognize? Only the Goodness of our Elder Brother, High Priest and Kinsman Redeemer will suffice.
What? Could Ruth redeem herself from her condition? Was it not God’s provision in the man Boaz that over her His garment was spread (Ruth 3:4-14)? Who could redeem her but her kinsman (Num. 27:11, Deut. 25:5)? That is why we must know and realize that it is only through this Redeemer that we can be called Righteous in the eyes of God. We have exchanged garments with the Christ so that we might be made one in Him and with God forever. To say that we are good is denying Christ, even for the believer. We cannot allow ourselves to forget the price that was paid for us and if one is honest and looks into one’s heart with the Word, one can only come to the conclusion of David: “Create in me a clean heart O God”. To say that it’s by what we do that gives us relationship with God is also to deny the Lord Jesus Christ.
What can this clay pot do? Like Saul was given the Holy Spirit and anointing of God, Adam also was given a great portion with God but it was his (Saul’s and Adam’s) unbelief and arrogance took the Kingdom that God would give him out of his hands to the hand of another who did believe and who would obey. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Adam did not believe that God’s Word was the Truth, this is why he fell. Eve was deceived, but Adam was not. And if Adam is our father, and as much as he had been given, walking in the presence of God, knowing the innocent state of the Garden, he failed.
But Christ Jesus did not fail because He is not the son of Adam but of God (John 3:16, Matt. 1:21). God did not fail in His creation, but His creation would not be complete without the Redemption of it to Himself – it was only this way could He be glorified and magnified — to show Himself that He is indeed God, indeed love and indeed good. To touch on this subject is touching the eternal mind of God and is far beyond my comprehension so if I do not do it justice, this is why. How can we understand the mind of the Almighty God to the fullest extent when we are but dust? Only by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit can we even begin to comprehend. We must the Revelation of Christ Jesus!
For a preacher to say that there is good in us is to deny the need for a Savior and to add to the blindness of the Church to its own condition. The Church is in need of eye salve and a true garment, and that gold refined in the fire. Why is this so hard for men to believe and see who they really are? If our value to God is only based on our ‘goodness’ then there is nothing indeed to be desired but I firmly believe that it is only His love and His goodness which compels Him to love and to seek for our good– because He’s a merciful God. This way He alone gets the Glory.
To God be the Glory!!! Great things He hast done! 🙂