August 31, 2005

Who Can Do Good?

Every so often, I hear a familiar arguement. A Christian, usually in arguement with a non-theist (covers atheists and agnostics), will say something about God as the source for morality. The non-theist will become quite agitated, and offer up examples of good deeds done by unbelievers (and sometimes anti-believers). The question is then asked:

"Can a person who is unsaved do good deeds?"

Instantly, several verses spring to mind.

As it is written: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. (Romans 3:10-11 ESV)
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6 ESV)
And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. (Mark 10:18 ESV)
But then, you can look throughout history and see things that have been done by unbelievers. Ghandi is a perfect example. Even in daily life, non-Christians do good deeds all the time. What can we say?

I think part of the problem is in the definition of the word 'good.'

1. Being positive or desirable in nature; not bad or poor.
6. Worthy of respect; honorable.
17. a. Of moral excellence; upright: a good person.
b. Benevolent; kind: a good soul; a good heart.

I think that our definitions fall short. Good is judged by motivation, and our motivation to do good must come from the source of good, which is God. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

Jesus said it -- God alone isgood. Our capacity to do good comes from our creation in His image. At the fall, the image was tarnished. When we come in faith to Christ, a portion of that image is restored -- that portion that enables us to reflect His nature by doing good. True good, and not the counterfeit that is often held up as good.

Everyone can do things that mankind sees as good. Only the child of God can do good deeds that are seen as good by God. It's His opinion of our deeds that ultimately will matter the most.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 06:05 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 All that when a simple yes would do.

Posted by: Man at September 01, 2005 01:14 AM (HN+rh)

2 All that and you missed the point. TRULY good deed? The answer is no.

Posted by: Warren at September 01, 2005 09:59 AM (DPRNU)

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