Friday, August 24, 2018

Yea but, I’m Not That Bad [or, “I’m Good!”]
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Nearly everyone says it. How are you: “I’m good” or “I’m fine.” A Christian may inquire to someone: “Have you ever heard of the gospel of Jesus Christ?” One replies: “No, thanks I’m good.” It’s common and all around us. People believe themselves to be autonomous and self-sufficient and thus have no perceived need for the gospel. Christians who declare the biblical gospel will inevitably speak of the foul nature of men’s souls and the filthy rags of one’s deeds. This flies squarely in the face of human pride. The natural and unregenerate response chafes at such statements about the real plight and problem of mankind and will rather assume that men are good, capable of choosing right, able to please God and choose God and they will continue to assert that they’re not that bad and, quite honestly, that they view themselves to be pretty good people. A few responses must be in order.

  1. Man’s problem lies not with a lack of self-esteem, but rather with a sinfully inflated and a pridefully autonomous heart.  — The mantra of the day about humans lacking proper confidence in self could not be further from God’s declaration about man. The ultimate problem of men resides in the self-exalted position that he cares about.
  2. The definition of “good” comes not from comparing oneself with others or a cultural standard but rather by how one measures up to the infinitely perfect standard of God. — Often people say they are good because they compare themselves with cultural standards, their own standards, or other people they see and know. The ultimate standard from God does not use this scale, however. God measures all men by His own infinite holiness and perfection.
  3. No man has ever or could ever understand how incredibly bad he really is in the eyes of the thrice-holy God. — When the prophet Isaiah saw the exalted Lord high and lifted up, his response was to fall down and pronounce a “woe” (=curse) upon himself and pronounce himself ‘undone.’ To understand God rightly will inevitably lead to a proper view of self. 
  4. God’s declaration about humanity without exception is that all who have been born of Adam have been born with a sin nature and are thus “not good” and “not pleasing to God.” — Paul declares that all who have been born of natural birth are born ‘in Adam’ and are sinners because we sinned in Him (Rom 5:12). No man in this state can please God (Rom 8:7).
  5. Ultimately God does not inquire about man’s opinion of oneself and judge him by his own self-profession. Rather, God has set forth the standard in His holy Word and will measure all men by His holy and perfect Law. — Sinful man’s wish is that God may judge them by their own standard and make a compromise. But God has set forth His Law, reflecting His character and glory, for men to follow and no man can ever measure up. No man living is righteous in God’s sight. All the thoughts of men are only evil continually. All are stained with sin. 
  6. The glory of the gospel does not turn good people into better people. — It would be truncate the gospel to declare that the gospel makes good people into better people. But the biblical gospel wondrously affirms that dead sinners become saints, all by sovereign mercy and love.
  7. The Spirit’s work of regeneration is magnified as He gives true life to genuinely dead and unspeakably corrupt souls. — A proper understanding of anthropology and hamartiology extols the sovereign grace of God and drives a believer to boast only in Christ. Only God can take a rebellious and stone-cold soul and give it life so that it beats after and longs for Christ!

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