The Big Question 72: What About Good People?
Sep 1, 2021 190
What about good people?
From time to time I’ve heard people ask, “What about good people?”: people who live their lives as best they can, being loving and kind to others and doing good things? They might not be believers; they might not go to church. Won’t they go to heaven too?
Well, first of all, did know know that going to church isn’t the requirement for going to heaven! It might be a good thing to do, but it really isn’t what gets you there!
The reality is that no matter how much we may admire someone, we are only ever using the word “good” in a relative sense. We mean that we think they are far better than the average. We’re not saying that they’re completely perfect in every way.
A young man came running up to Jesus and asked him this question,
Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? (NKJV)
Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God… (NKJV).
This exchange tells us that the way we use the word “good” is not the way God uses it. We call people “good” in a light way, but God uses it in an absolute sense. And, as Jesus says, there is no-one who is good in that absolute sense.
If you measure people by God’s standard of goodness, there’s no such thing as a good person by God’s standard of goodness.
In fact the Bible teaches that all of humanity is infected by sin. None of us are perfect, no matter how “good” we may be in a human sense. And the only thing that can enter heaven is absolute perfection. Near enough is not good enough.
That’s why Jesus replied to this wealthy young man,
If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
The man responded that he had already been keeping all the commandments, and he asked Jesus what he was still missing. And Jesus told him to go and sell everything he had and give the money to the poor.
What did Jesus mean by this? He meant that if you thought that you could enter heaven by being good – by your performance – then you had another thing coming. Because no matter how good you were – how much you had done – there would always be more to do.
The only way anyone is ever going to get to heaven is by the goodness of Jesus. On the Cross, he paid the price for your sins. Now, when you trust in him, his goodness is credited to your account, because of what Jesus did on the Cross. There’s no other way. So, what about “good people”? At the end of the day, I’ll leave that to God.