Have you ever met someone that you instantly enjoyed being around? Someone who you can say is a genuine person, who cares about others? You see how they interact with other people and say to yourself, “This person is truly caring.” Then after getting to know them a little better, possibly even that day, you come to find out that they aren't a Christian. After finding this out it may confuse you and boggle your mind how someone who isn't a Christian can care so seemingly deeply for others.
We, as people, often compare ourselves to one another. We use each other as a standard of measurement on how we are doing. We look to others as examples and guidance on how we should live our lives. As Christians though, what are we to use to measure ourselves? What is our plumb line for us to go by?
I have had this conversation many times with many people, believe it or not. I have even had this conversation with many Christians and it usually goes the same way. I start off asking them if they are a good person. I will tell you this: 99% of people and yes, even most Christians, will say that they are good people. If you, however, examine Scripture, you can see that there isn't such a one. Then, I go through the Ten Commandments with them and one by one, they admit that they have broken each of the Ten. I then explain that we shouldn't compare ourselves to each other, but to God and His standard.
If you look at Matthew 5:21-30 you will see that Jesus did this as well. This is the Sermon on the Mount. You see that Jesus is taking the law and turning the heat up. It isn't just about “breaking the law” but also about what's in your heart. Just before this, He said in verse 17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Jesus isn't doing away with the Law, but using it in His teaching to the people.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
You see, we are to compare ourselves to the standard that we can’t meet to show us how much need we truly have for a Savior to save us from our sin. We see in Romans 3:10-11 we are told that there is no one righteous.
as it is written:
We can also see that our hearts are deceitful and wicked Jerimiah 17:9 and the intentions of our hearts are wicked in Genesis 8:21.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. - Genesis 8:21
Just by this quick examination and look at Scripture we can see that we truly are not good people. We truly do not have the best of intentions in our hearts even when we try to do good. We see that God truly knows us and who we are. The next time you meet someone and you think that they are a good person, remember that we are to use the standard of God to measure and remember to use that standard in our witnessing encounters as well. It is a tool to use that God has given us. We can test ourselves and our intentions with it as well.
We shouldn't use a horizontal, human to human standard but, a vertical one, which compares us to God. God speaks very much about this and I encourage you to do your own study on this. There is much more Scriptural support for this matter that I didn't include in this article that only solidifies the point: we really aren't good people at the core and there is not a good person out there. There is only One that is good and that is God. If you are saved and you live by that standard, others will more than likely say you are a good person. All glory goes to God, however. The Holy Spirit lives in you and is guiding you. May God get all the glory He is due for He is worthy and only He should get the praise. If someone compliments you, give glory to God because the only good that is in you is because of God. Soli Deo Gloria is a saying I encourage you to remember. It means To God Alone Be the Glory. Let that be the point of your life, let that lead you in how you live.