What Does Good Really Mean?

Growing up I thought I knew the world’s definition of good and I was fine with that! Good people say, “please” and “thank you”. Good people see the best in all people. Good people respect their neighbors (especially the elderly). Good people show southern hospitality (in my case). Good people do more good deeds than bad deeds. Good people go to heaven.

There is a sentimental understanding of what “good” really is in our society today. Lexico (Oxford) defines good (adj) as to be desired or approved of, as in a good outcome. Or as a noun, to possess moral virtue, as in the good guys (instead of the bad ones).

Movies with the word good in the title.

Here are a few ways we use the word good. Check out the following movie titles and simple phrases:

  • The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  • Good Will Hunting (1997)
  • When Good Gouls Go Bad (2001)
  • Good Fences (2003)
  • The Good Cop (2004)
  • Good Guys Wear Black (1978)

Sayings/idioms with the word “good”

  • “As good as it gets”
  • “All good things must come to an end”
  • “A good man is hard to find”
  • “All in good time”
  • “For no good reason”
  • “Up to no good”

So, yes, I was very familiar with and accepted this very common word. God would surely be pleased with my lent attention to thinking and doing good the way I understood it. This goodness of mine was my way of worshipping this creator that I thought was out there in nature somewhere. Yet, doing it my way left me wondering, “Have I done enough to really get the thumbs up from the “man upstairs”? Since I didn’t know him, he was like a distant stranger to me and I could only make guesses about my life and future.

I no longer have to guess

Isaiah 64:6 says, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment, and all of us whither like a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind takes us away.

My plan to get to heaven was based on my worldly understanding of goodness “alone”. It was not based on what God said in his word about who he is and what his plans are. His plans are the most important since it’s “his” heaven. God’s word showed me that in reality, I was not good at all, but dead in my sin. This was my spiritual condition, and it took the Holy Spirit to help me see what I could not see on a physical level. Any deeds I did were just dead works, filthy garments as Isaiah described above. I thought I was doing righteous deeds, but since I had no life in Christ, these works also had no life. See, I was not connected to the life-giver. Yes, he was my creator; but sin had separated me from the abundant life and close fellowship with him.

Truly Good news!

I John 4:9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.

So, there really is good news! It’s not a catch-phrase or slogan, but the words of God himself! In his love he sent his only son, Jesus, to come to earth to live the perfect life that you and I could not live. This fulfilled the law that God gave to Moses. Jesus was obedient in his mission to the extent of dying to pay the punishment for my sins on the cross. Jesus rose from the dead three days later because He had victory over death. Now I have victory over death as well! I now have real peace and I am now made alive to truly worship Jesus! When I think of my past, I am no longer condemned and ashamed. Jesus bore my shame when he willingly went to the cross. In 1989, I accepted this truth of what Jesus did for me: that I was a sinner before a holy God; and there Christ began my beautiful journey of growth and maturity (those of you who know me…it didn’t happen overnight)! This gospel is good in it’s truest form!

Okay, so this happened long ago for you…why dwell on it so much?

Even as a Christian, I did not understand why the gospel message would still need to be preached to a bunch of longtime churchgoers. I mean, I heard the gospel and was saved from my sins- now let’s move on to new information. “Isn’t there more to learn?

But, beloved, everything we learn that’s worth learning points right back to Jesus. And even after salvation, we need to preach the gospel to ourselves every day. When we are impatient or feel slighted, think of Christ putting others before Himself as He came to serve (Phil. 2). When trials come our way, think of how God did not even spare his own Son from suffering and this keeps us from being hardened by life’s hardships (Isaiah 53). When we see that we have sinned as Christians, we are reminded of our pride and that we have a Savior who died for our sins and that we still need Him (Galatians 1:4). You and I need the gospel as we walk out the rest of our lives!

A Daily Celebration

Romans 4:7-8  ESV

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

The Apostle Paul echoes this same praise in Romans that David said many years before him in Psalm 32. As believers, no matter what the day brings we always have a reason to worship, to be joyful, and to CELEBRATE!

Worship Jesus in every season. His joy is your strength. Remember what he has already brought you through. Stay in the race sister!

Pray with me,

Lord, thank you for the evidence of your presence all around me. Thank you for how you alone give me a testimony as you allow me to see your majesty and might. In your Word, you tell me to remember your good deeds, for they are truly good. Lord help me to carry on the work of serving Jesus faithfully, even with this COVID-19 crisis. I praise you that your hand in this world is not stilled by this. Thank you most of all for sending your son to this Earth to bless me. And I am surely blessed indeed! In Jesus’ name, AMEN

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***If you don’t know Jesus, but want to experience the fullness of his love…

Prayer for Salvation

Lord, it’s not about the lives “out there”, but right now it’s about me personally. You have allowed me to see that I am sinfully living in opposition to you, going my own way. I wasn’t always sure, but now I know how much sin matters to you. So much so, that you sent your son Jesus to die and pay the penalty for my sins. Lord, I accept Jesus as my Savior today. I want to live in close fellowship with you for all eternity. Forgive me and cleanse me. Thank you Jesus for I now know what you have done for me! AMEN

Please feel free to reach out to me if I can help in any way. I want you to know him! Roslyn at verticallifenow@gmail.com

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