Even if someone agrees with you that the God of the Bible exists, they may still not be interested in your attempts to evangelize them. When told they need to put faith in Jesus Christ, they will probably answer you, “No thanks. I don’t need your religion and your strict, uptight morals to tell me what to do. I can live a free and happy life just fine, and I know God will let me into heaven. I am a pretty good person, after all.”
How do we respond to such thinking? It is VERY common. It is found in our own families, quite often. It is even found within our own hearts. The basic human religion is that we can be good and God will like us. But is that what God says? Shouldn’t we let God tell us what goodness is, and what it means for Him to like us? We must listen to the God Who does exist, not the god of our human imaginations. The God Who exists speaks plainly in Romans 3:12. “There is none who does good, no not one!” So, how do you answer the excuse, “No thanks, I’m a pretty good person”? Romans 3 suggests this answer. 1: NO you are Not! 2: You already know this. 3: Why are you willing to risk eternity? Don’t you know where ‘pretty good people’ go?
NO, you are not a good person. Neither am I. This fact is one thing that all people have in common. You don’t have to have met someone before to know this about them. They are already described in Romans 3:10–11, “10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.” I just heard someone offer a ‘wise’ but skeptical response to a man who said he was searching for God. The skeptic said, “I didn’t know God was lost!” While he may get a quick laugh, the truth is this. God is not lost, but man is lost. We need to seek after God. But because of our sin, we are not going to find the true God unless He first shows Himself.
The deepest problem with a person who is an unbeliever is their self-deception and lies. They claim to be a pretty good person, so they do not really need the Christian religion. Yet the facts prove that they are NOT a good person, and they actually KNOW this. By saying, “I’m a pretty good person,” they are also confessing they are partly bad! They know they don’t measure up to God’s standard. So, to soothe their guilty conscience, they have to compare themselves to axe murderers and terrorists. Those are the ‘bad people.’ But of course, the Bible says that any sin condemns us to eternal punishment of body and soul in hell. Every sinner is on death row. And it makes no difference what specific set of crimes got the criminal in the jail cell next to you in death row. We are all guilty before a Good and Holy God.
So, what is our hope? Stop pretending to be a good person, a better person than the next guy or girl. After all, don’t you know where “pretty good people” go? Why are so many people in this world willing to risk eternity for this lame excuse? It does not matter if we are a little bit better than the terrorist in the eyes of the world. It does not matter if our legacy in this world is a bit more positive than the self-absorbed dictators of human history. What matters is how we look in God’s sight.
How humans look in His sight is plainly revealed in Scripture. For example, Romans 3:19–20 declares that the Law of God reveals that all the world is “19 …guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
So the issue is plain. Each of us must acknowledge our sin, our condition as those who are NOT good. Each of us must acknowledge that we have believed the lies that we are good enough. Each of us must flee to Christ alone. That is the only way to be sure we get to heaven. You and I can’t get there by our own good deeds! You can only get to Heaven by Another Person’s good deeds, in your place. Because eternity isn’t guaranteed for those who are ‘pretty good.’ Eternity is ONLY for those who are ABSOLUTELY GOOD. And thereis none Who is good like that, except God.
Rev. Kyle A. Sorensen, Manitowoc, Wisconsin