When sharing the Gospel in general or speaking with Muslims in particular (who believe our good and bad deeds are weighed in the balance to determine our salvation), I like to point out that if that is the criteria then I’m in big, big trouble.
When estimating my good and bad thoughts, words, actions and inactions I would say I’m lucky to be considered 10% good by God’s standards or even mine. I need Jesus as a Savior because I could never make it to 51% even if that was the real standard.
That statement often disarms the listener of the “Christians think they are all that” notion, and it has the added benefit of being true.
Also see “Good People” and Heaven
0 thoughts on “More on “good people””
I often respond to people that tell me: “You think you are better because you are a devout Christian” with: “No, actually I know I am not better which is why I need Jesus.”
Usually that launches them into a diatribe about how they don’t need him because they are a good person! Amazes me because a minute earlier they were telling me how I was arrogant in my salvation, and then end up being that way in their “goodness”.
Good response, Lone Wolf Archer. By extending the discussion that way it demonstrates who the truly self-righteous are – i.e, those who think their own righteousness is acceptable to God versus those who realize they need Jesus’ righteousness.
Wait … you may reach 10%? Wow! You really ARE “holier than thou”. I’m doing good to get to 1%. (Perfection is a harsh standard to meet.) 🙂
Its a good point to bring up, but everyday Muslims can’t get around that. I’ve brought that up a few times to various Muslims I’ve talked to and they say “Its up to Allah to judge me and send me where he’d like.” Also, this is an intreging point to make, they believe that everyone goes to hell, the devout good Muslims just go there for a time and then go to paradise. This is from Muslims themselves, I haven’t seen any dogma on this personally to confirm this view. I’ve just heard it a few times from Muslims.
I also like to share with them the doctrine of assurance, because in their own words they view salvation as being somewhat random. I’m careful to say that the concept of assurance isn’t what makes Christianity true (I don’t want to “sell” Christianity just because it has better benefits). It is true because it corresponds to reality. But assurance is a wonderful thing and I pray that it plants seeds to make them want to know more.
1 John 5:12-13 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
As a playful aside…
Neil, I had you pegged much higher than 10%. And to think you know someone! 😉
To this day, I thank my Aunt Mae who complimented me in a gentle way years ago that I had a nice wife and children; but that I needed to get my family to church and have God in our lives. She was right! We were nice alright; but we were not pursuing God. Thanks again Aunt Mae!
Thoughts are the biggest problem. I think our good actions can be “twarted” to add-up to be more than our bad ones..but our thoughts are just pure evil. This is where we fall short…horribly short. That romans 3:11-22 is just RIGHT ON. That’s my life verse…
p.s. much more could be said about what our 8-5 day should look like – should we even work? or should we do nothing but worship God with hymns, and praises?
Short of killing infidels and Jews in the name of jihad, it seems Allah is capricious in deciding who gets to paradise. That’s what my understanding leads me to believe. Perhaps there’s a Muslim visitor who can clear this up.
Through my experience living in a Muslim country as an expat I have learned that Allah is totally unknowable and can deceive people. There is no concept of Allah being incapable of sin. Muslims do not and can not ever know where they are headed. They think they are going to paradise, because Allah is the most merciful, most compassionate etc. but they freely admit that they have no certainty about their final destination. The only guaranteed way to get to paradise (which is described as the life of a rockstar) is to die as a martyr.
According to Islam, the difference between “Paradise” and “The Fire” is “an atom’s breadth”–about 1/100th the width of a human hair. So even if a person spends the first 20 years of their life sinning against Allah, repents, and spends 21 years following “Allah”, if they die and their balance of “bad deeds” outweighs their balance of “good deeds” by 1/100th of a human hair–into the fire ye go!
Yet consider the thief on the cross. “Thief” is much too tame a word–he wasn’t up there because he got busted for breaking and entering. He had most likely spent his whole life killing, stealing, and who knows what else–yet by the simple act of repentance, and by the grace of the one true living God, he was welcomed into Paradise. How many “good works” did he do? Did he have a chance to get baptized? Did he give to the poor, or work as an altar boy? No. Yet that one sinner was declared more righteous than all the Pharisees and scribes.