Summary: Paul struggled with the postive quality of goodness that only God possesses and so do we. It is necessary for us to learn to be good. So, welcome to the classroom.
As I came in this morning and heard people greeting each other, I heard a word being spoken quite a bit. “You’re looking good this morning.” “I feel good this morning.” “Everything is going good.” “I am doing good.” There seems to be a lot of good going around. But really, there isn’t. Jesus stated that only God is truly good (Mark 10:18)
I had an English teacher who would ask, “How are you?”
If I replied, “I am doing good.” she would ask, “What are you doing that’s good?” Or “I am feeling good.” would get the response “What does good feel like?”
Her point was that I was misusing the word “good” when I should have been using the word “well.” “I am feeling well.” or “I am doing well”
If you went to the dictionary, you would find 41 uses of the word “good” as an adjective and 6 uses as a noun. The Bible uses the words good and goodness over 600 times but they have three basic meanings in the Greek.
One meaning is “possessing a positive quality.” This word was used when Jesus said, “Only God is truly good.” Only God is able to possess the pure, positive quality of goodness.
Allow me to demonstrate what the pure, positive quality of goodness looks like. In my right hand, I hold a bottle of water, in my left a bottle of Coke. Let’s imagine that the bottle of water represents the goodness of God. The bottle of Coke represents the goodness of man.
On a hot day, we remember the commercials with polar bears and construction workers finding relief from the heat by drinking a Coke. We may find ourselves desiring a Coke when we know that water is better for us.
Goodness works the same way. We would rather walk in our own goodness as decided by us rather than the goodness of God. We make statements like “I might not be perfect but at least I am better than----.”
When you try to peer through a bottle of Coke, you find it impossible. Things are added to Coke to make it dark. But water is pure and can be seen through. Coke contains carbonated purified water, cane sugar, caramel, food acid, flavour, and caffeine.
Water is natural. It contains two hydrogen atoms to every oxygen atom. Life is dependent on water. Coke is dependent on water. Without water, there is no Coke.
God positive quality of goodness is pure. It’s not complex but simple. Man’s goodness is muddled with good deeds to bring recognition and self-advancement. It’s darkened by the sin in our lives. Like Coke has water included in the ingredients, we have the goodness of God within us. The goodness that we do possess is dependent on God. Without God, there is no goodness in us at all.
Coke cannot be found everywhere we go. We must go to an outlet for Coke products to obtain it. However, water is found everywhere. We find it underground, above ground, and falling from the sky. We can cleanse ourselves in water. Water causes things to grow. Water will pour down from the skies on us whether we deserve it or not. Cleaning with Coke will leave you sticky.
God’s goodness is all around us. It cleanses us and causes us to grow. Man’s goodness is often sought out and denied. Man’s goodness is often not easily obtained.
Now for those of you who are thinking “I drink Mountain Dew.”, it may not be as dark as Coke but it’s not as clear as water.
Attempting to have the appearance of God’s goodness but only making your goodness a little less murky will not work.
Adam was created with the positive quality of goodness. Remember when God created the heavens and the earth and all the plants and creatures and man, He said it was good. Man was created in God’s image. Man had God’s goodness. However, sin damaged the good things God created including man’s goodness.
Isaiah wrote, “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” (Isaiah 53:6) We began to search for the good life.
The term “the good life” is relatively a modern phrase. It was first used in the period between 1945 and 1950. World War 2 had ended and people were hungry for a more enjoyable lifestyle. Television began appearing in more homes along with commercials selling the good life. We saw people sipping on a cold beer having fun. Fred and Barney Flintstone smoking a cigarette talking about the good life.
The good life was a life abounding in material comforts and luxuries. People driving the fastest, sleekest car living the good life. Bigger homes, fancier clothes, and make-up to make you look younger than your age equals living the good life.