Doing good in God’s sight

lions-175934_6402Kings 20:3: “Now, O LORD, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

The standard by which we would be measured is what God has to say not what anyone else has to say. Paul said that he is not capable of self-judgment, that the only one who judges him is God (1Corinthians 4:4-5). Many may want to totally condemn him or flatter him to no end, but he seeks the praise that comes from God.

He said that he sows and Apollos waters but God gives the increase, adding that each one will receive his reward from God, in commendation or rebuke, whichever is more applicable. And everyone’s work will be examined of what sort it is (1Corinthians 3-4), the quality so that in the end every man’s praise will come for God, the authentic evaluator.

Paul condemns those who seek recommendation from men, saying those who seek approval from each other are devoid of the wisdom of God (2Corinthians 10:12). Jesus said he does not receive approval from man because of how fickle they are (John 2:23-25).

In the book of Proverbs we read: everyman proclaims his own goodness but a faithful man, who can find (Proverbs 20:6)? Anyone can blow his own trumpet but it is what the Lord has to say about you that matters. The bible cautions: Let another man praise you and not your own mouth (Proverbs 27:2).

Jesus cautioned his disciples when jealousy was developing among them. He said that the greatest shall be the servant of all (Matthew 23:11). Expressing a servant attitude in whatever we do is what pleases God gets his approval.

He told Abraham walk before me and be perfect (Genesis 17:1).  Abraham was to perform for the audience of one- God. We should be regulated by the word of God and not by any imaginative fancies of our minds. The person whose opinion counts is God. Jesus said that we should not fear man who can only destroy the body but fear the one (God) who can destroy both body and spirit in hell (Matthew 10:28).

He told Nicodemus: except a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). There is no two-way about it, it’s either we take the way called Jesus (John 14:6) or we are lost forever. There is nothing good we can do to be saved except to believe in Jesus (John 6:28-29).

However, once we are saved, Paul said to that we should not be weary of doing ‘good’ because in due season they will reap, if they faint not (Galatians 6:9). He said in another place that they should seek to do ‘good’ to all especially to those in the household of faith.

It’s not about how it feels; it is about what God says. In a world gone away from God, there has never been a time when we need to seek to get our spiritual and moral compass right from the word of God and the Spirit of God than now. Jonah felt that he should not go to preach to the city of Nineveh but that feeling was opposite to what God says. It is not about how you feel; it is about what God says.

When the word of God is elevated to its prime place in our lives, then we are pleasing God. According to the prayer of Paul, we need to be filled with the knowledge of the will of God so that we may fully please him (Colossians 1:9-10). In the same way Epaphras prayed for the church in Colossi: that they will stand complete in all the will of God (Colossians 4:12). It is written as many as are led in the spirit are the children of God (Romans 8:14).

When a man came to Jesus calling him good, Jesus said: there is no one that is good but God alone. That is a profound statement. Though Jesus did not share the human sin nature transferred down from Adam (being God and apart from the will of man), he revealed the nature of man as inherently bad, and also showed the core of his mission on earth as a redeemer, sent to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21) so that they may be made good; as Jesus said: make the tree good and the fruit will be good (Matthew 12:33, 7:16-10).

We cannot bear the good fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), if we don’t have God’s seed in us. The latter was made possible with Jesus planted as seed in our hearts. As we hear the gospel and believe in Jesus, we have the seed of being sons of God in us and we can bring for the good fruits.

In another place Jesus told his disciples that if they don’t abide in him with his word in them (John 15:1-10), they will not bear good fruit. So not only do we need to have the seed in us, we need to abide in Christ in constant fellowship to continually experience the flow of his life, to cause us to blossom with fruits of goodness.

Jeremiah said that the heart of man (devoid of the work of Christ) is desperately wicked, who can know it (Jeremiah 17:9). In other places in the bible, we read: “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45)” and “it is what comes from the heart of man that is a sign of defilement or not (Matthew 15:16-20).” Since the heart is wicked, there is no possibility of goodness in him.

There is no amount of law that will make man good, as it was clear under in the Old Testament. Paul said that the role of the law is to make us realise how helpless we are when it comes to pleasing God (Romans 3:20), then we can recognise our need for Christ, to save us from sin, from our evil tendencies.

David said: in sin I was conceived, not as a description of the sexual act but as a description of the legacy of sin we are born with, the tendencies that we innately carry.

So if there is any change we need, it is the change in “who” we are not so much as a change in what we have. That is why Paul stressed the concept of our being new creatures. He said: as many as are in Christ are new creatures, old things have passed away and all things have become new (2Corinthians 5:17), with the capacities of God, the capacity for goodness. We have the capacity for true love, the God kind of love, installed in us through Jesus Christ.

Paul said if I give all my goods to the poor, which would be regarded by earthly standard as good deeds, it counts as nothing with God, all because my own goodness , my righteousness are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), tainted by the selfishness strain in every man. But with the installed love of God in us, Paul said that gives whatever we do value in the eyes of God.

One song that David wrote was: the Lord is good and mercy endures forever (1Corinthians 16:34). Goodness emanates from God and as we bear his nature, goodness will also emanate from us but never apart from him. He is the only one inherently good, and apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:5), we can express no goodness.

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