This messages is about a deep profound truth concerning how to please God. After all, the Word of God repeatedly emphasizes pleasing God. (A) Christ, our sinless role model, spoke about having the Spirit of God with him & said, “I always do those things that please Him.” (B) On the other hand, we have the example of the Laodicean Christians who thought they were pleasing God, who thought they were spiritually rich, yet God said He’d puke them out of His mouth(C), “Because you say, ‘I am rich…and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are [spiritually] wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”(D) Wow, we see that it is possible to masterly self-deceive ourselves, to be spiritually naked & not even be aware of it! The human mind is so incredible it can re-invent for itself a pseudo reality.
(ONE APPLICATION OF THIS MESSAGE. Recently, when Billy Graham died, it was suggested that I write once again exposing Billy Graham. There is 40 pages in my Formula book exposing him, as well as other exposes I have written. There are many things that could be exposed about the man & his crusades, enough so that Cathy Burns, following my lead, wrote a book which had additional information I had not touched on. One of the problems of Graham’s crusades is that since the early days back in the 1950’s up to current times they have referred Catholics & Jews, who come forward, back to Catholic churches & synagogues. Graham personally gave assurances to the Catholic hierarchy & the Jewish rabbis that he would not convert their people, but would send them back to their roots. Occasionally, even new converts were directed by the crusade to attend the local synagogue or local Catholic church. So this message, which is for all of us, touches on one aspect of sin of the crusades…doing “good” rather than acts of faith & righteousness. People need to be “in Christ”, not just willy nilly “in any church”.)
GOOD VS. RIGHTEOUS. Let’s think about the difference between “doing good” versus being righteous. We need to bear this in mind: “We cannot become a good person, because we cannot change our rotten, come-into-this-world person…Our right choices to do good cannot make us good, that is, change our inherent makeup, but our right choices make us righteous.”(E) We see this point illustrated when a young man caught up in doing good asked Jesus, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Now you might have thought that Christ would have said repent and be baptized, or something to this effect. But Christ realizes that he needs to get off his program of doing good, and answers him: “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”(F) Now the Bible does refer to “good men”(G), but by this it means relatively good…not absolutely good in the way God is absolutely good. We see this issue clarified by 1 JN 1:5,8.
THE ABSOLUTE GOODNESS OF GOD–1 JN 1:5,8: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all…. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” This helps us understand an amazing statement Paul wrote into scripture at 1 TIM 1:15 after he had served Christ for years: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” And it boggles the mind to think that Paul who had walked in the Spirit, suffered many horrendous persecutions for Christ, and created many gentile congregations would write in later life in the present tense that he was still the chief sinner. (In 1 TIM 1:15, the Greek manuscripts are clearly in the present indicative tense.) Wow. But because Paul was a godly man, he knew what Christ said was accurate: “none are good but God.” As a Pharisee he was considered a good man, but once he was in Christ Paul knew as he wrote in ROM 7: “In me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells…evil is present in me.” King David, a man after God’s heart said, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (H) Fortunately, B. Graham realized from statements he made that he would only get to the Kingdom by Christ’s blood sacrifice, the same as the rest of us, and not the “good deeds” he had done.
THE OLD MAN IN ADAM; THE NEW MAN IN CHRIST. If one is to make a study comparing the old man (the original you) vs. the new man (after the new birth), one will discover the new testament is full of comparisons between the two. Perhaps my all time favorite of these comparisons is GAL 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ: It is no longer I who live [where the I=old man]…but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God [now the I=new man which=Christ].” The old man did works of the flesh while the new man has life and does the fruit of the Spirit.
FINAL THOUGHTS. There is much more that could be said on such an important topic, but I will make this message short & hopefully sweet to those who want a life in Christ. If we look at the things that God wants from us…faith, righteousness, cleansed of sin, in fellowship with Him, free from the power of sin, to be fruitful & pleasing to Him, and perhaps a few other things, then you will notice that nowhere does He ask us to be good. Righteous–yes. Good–no. The old man just needs to be trashed, not improved. Nowhere are we asked to be the “good things” that Billy Graham was, such as the media’s “man of the year”, a prominent active member of the World Council of Churches, a 33rd degree Freemason, an honorary doctor (awarded to Billy Graham by the Pope), President Nixon’s golf partner in over 115 golf games, and friends with the Clintons. In the Reformation, it was realized how important it is to be “in Christ” and have His Spirit within us, so they rejected the type of child baptism that Billy Graham gave his children, in favor of a believer’s baptism and the anointing of Spirit which was promised in the ancient Hebrew scriptures. My hope is that you, my dear friend, will seek to be “in Christ”, and will move “in faith” and make righteous choices. May God bless you.
REFERENCES. (A) Examples incl. HOS 9:4, COL 3:20, 1 THES 2:4, 2:15 4:1, HEB 11:6, 1 JN 3:22 plus many others. (B) JN 8:29 (C) REV 3:16 (D) full quote is REV 3:14-18 (E) Strubhar, Dwight. It’s a Sin to Want to Be a Good Person, pg.10 (F) this anecdote is in MT 19:16-23, and Christ’s answer begins vs. 17 (G) Examples incl. PS 112:5, PRV 12:2, LK 23:50, ACTS 11:24, ROM 5:7 (H) PS 51:5