Will "Good Men" Find Favor With God?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | Labels: , , , | |

An often discussed issue is whether or not good men who perform great things or do great things in this world will find favor with God when they pass into the next life. It is a fearful and scary notion to believe those we perceive as being 'good men' will not find favor with God when they stand before him.

There is, however, a dilemma to this thought process. Often times what one man perceives as goodness is something that they simply find favorable about another individual. Many times one looks at someone as being a 'good person' when that person makes them feel good and also gives them the impression that they are helpful, kind and gentle people. One may, for example, think of another man as a good man because of the few times they encounter him he is kind, gentle and polite, but know very little of his actual thoughts and heart.

If a God exists, and he is the epitome of goodness, then if a man attempts to do good things how can the deeds of the man be good without reference to the very creator of goodness? In other words, if goodness can only come from God, then how ought an individual do good deeds if they never know God?

Individual deeds, in this respect, are separate from God - and what we may perceive as a 'good man' may not actually be 'good' in God's eyes. Jesus said something interesting in Matthew 7:20 - 23:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

What if, for the sake of this verse, there is no such thing as a 'good' deed and a 'bad' deed. What if there were only 'God' deeds and 'godless' deeds, the will of the father deeds and the will of ourselves deeds. When one looks at the frame of reference as to the motives of the deed and that is what will determine whether the deed merits acceptance by a God or not. For example, if I give $100.00 to charity, but not because God led me to do so, am I truly attempting to do God's will?

God has set into each and every persons heart a purpose and drives them to do great things in his name. We can either live our lives in communion with him, and do the things he leads us to do, or we can never know him and do what we want to do. God deeds, therefore, are deeds we perform because God leads us to perform them, and when we come before God he will have authorized them. Godless deeds are deeds we perform by our own perceptions of what is good, and we do them without giving glory to or fulfilling the purpose God intended in our lives.

A person can go through their entire lives doing 'good' deeds by only their own perceptions, and completely separated from God. In doing so, all of their good deeds were not led by God, and when they stand before him they may find themselves in terrible circumstances. On the other hand, as we are commanded to do God's will, if we embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and allow him to take control of our lives, even the smallest of things if done in his name and for his glory will be pleasing to him.

As much as I always wanted to believe that 'good men' would find favor with God, I had come to the realization that 'goodness' can only come from God, and without a personal relationship with him, and without submitting our will to him, with every 'good' deed we attempt to perform apart from him brings us further from his will and deeper into our own. It can be a fearful and terrible notion to see that there is a rhyme and reason for Christ saying "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one can get to the father except through me." (John 14:6) Without a relationship with Jesus Christ, all of the "good deeds" we do are done in our name, not in Gods - therefore they are not "good" deeds, for they are deeds only meant to glorify our own will.

Craig Chamberlin

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