John chapter 6 verse 44 in the Bible makes a strong statement:” No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. “
With the UK pandemic now forcing a third lock down we do see loads of evidence of good things being done by many people particularly at work as colleagues and leaders try to help and support their team mates and staff .
From an eternal perspective, when thinking about where we will each spend eternity, altbhought helping others is wonderfully good and should be promoted, this can cause us to have a blind spot that is catastrophic!
Did Jesus really mean “no one” can come to Him except…? Was He generalizing, or did He literally mean it? Is there always “open season” in terms of salvation, that is, is it accessible to anyone who wants it?
As a point of contention, this Bible teaching has faded somewhat, but 400 years ago, it was a major issue. It is still Catholic Church teaching that from the moment of birth everybody has good within them. It just needs to be developed. So, at any time in a person’s life, all he or she needs to do is to hear the good news of the Bible, agree with what they heard, accept it because it connects with the good already in them—and they are on their way to Heaven, adding to their goodness by righteous living. The Bible does not agree.
This teaching marks a major division of beliefs between what folks see as Christians.
What the Bible teaches on it is mind-bending and humbling. We can see the biblical truths regarding this fact of goodness and badness unfold by examining what Jesus said Himself, as well as what His apostles added.
Jesus says “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick”. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance”
Everyone—and that term is all-inclusive—whom the Father draws to Christ for spiritual salvation is not good but spiritually sick, a sinner. No matter how good we see them as being, in Gods eyes when compared to the Holy standard He sets, they fall well short as do I and as do you. Additionally, the word “repentance” implies that those brought to Christ for forgiveness and salvation do not possess goodness but are evil, since only those spiritually enabled to see the need to repent would come to Him for spiritual healing. “Good” people would not.
The Apostle Paul adds emphasis to this when he says:
“There is none righteous, no, not one”
Notice the terms he uses—“none” and “all,” that is, none is good, all are evil. David, the author of Psalm 14 from which Paul drew his comments believed this truth a thousand years before the apostle, and in Psalm 14, David attributes this declaration to God Himself. Do we dare accuse God of lying about those He created?
In the book written by Matthew it is exceptionally clear: “So [Jesus] said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Jesus is plainly stating that, since God is the only One who is good, no one among all humanity can truly claim to possess goodness. No one’s goodness rises anywhere near the level of God’s goodness. Jesus, however, then explained to the rich young ruler what he needed to do. As God in the flesh, He knew what the young man needed to do to get on the road to godly goodness, so He taught Him.
So, my thought this week is to focus on helping those we love and those around us where we legally can under lockdown rules but remember, really remember that for us to be good as God defines it, and for us to have a positive, certain future stretching into eternity, we need God in our lives.