It’s a common cultural assumption that there is value in being a good person. Indeed, there is value in being well behaved: you will have more friends that if you’re ugly, you will likely stay out of jail, others will usually be good to you and other obvious benefits. But, contrary to this common cultural assumption, there is NO LIFE-SAVING value in being a good person.
This morning I was reading “Table Talk” a devotional magazine published by Ligonier Ministries. Dr. Sproul explained concisely the impossibility and worthlessness of being a good person prior to faith in Jesus Christ.
“[The] desire to please God is a mark of conversion, and the Bible finds it inconceivable that any regenerate person would lack a desire to please the Lord. Some people might consider an emphasis on our need to do what pleases God incompatible with the gospel of justification by faith alone. Indeed, a stress on pleasing the Lord would be improper if we were to believe that we must please God before He will save us. Our best deeds fall far short of our Creator’s perfect standards, so pleasing Him is not our ticket to heaven. But it is not inconsistent to seek to please the Lord following salvation. In fact, a desire to please God is the necessary and inevitable consequence of the new birth.” (Table Talk, August 24, 2011)
Christians aren’t always good people, in fact, unfortunately, Christians are often (rightly) held to a higher standard of morality and fall disgracefully short. Good people aren’t necessarily Christians. Christians are the worthless sinners who have recognized their need for a savior and have recognized Jesus Christ as that perfect, righteous Savior. AFTER believing Jesus, it is a Christian’s reliance on Him that enables goodness. And it is AFTER believing in Jesus that God requires a life that is a worthy representation of His Son.