What does it mean to be a good person in a culture marked by personal opinion and relativism?
For good to have a meaning of value, it must be based on an objective standard. To understand this necessity, we simply observe the current dysfunctional political climate. It is common for the same event to be described as good and evil depending on the opinion and bias of the commentators. As a result the commentary has become ethically meaningless outside partisan circles. As Christians, we are fortunate to have an alternative option.
When Jesus was called good, he responded, “Why do you call me good?”… “No one is good–except God alone” (Luke 18:19). He is making a point to push the conversation to the level of the divine. The logic follows: If only God is good, and Jesus is good. Then Jesus is God. Beyond establishing Jesus divinity, this passage gives us insights to the biblical standard for good. Since only God is good, the character of God is the standard for a more objective understanding in defining the term good. In other words, to be good is to be consistent with the nature and will of God.
Wait a minute! Aren’t Christians often as divided as the culture in defining something as good or evil? Yes, and here we have identified at least a two-fold problem. First, Christians often cannot be distinguished from non-Christians, at least in part, because churches, in too many cases, cannot be distinguished from the culture. Secondly, believers are just as susceptible as secular folks in interpreting everything in terms of personal opinions and prejudices. What are we, who desire to be authentic followers of Jesus Christ, to do?
This week we will continue our study on the Holy Spirit (aka, spirit-breath of God) guided by the work of Dr. Jack Levison in his book, Fresh Air. By examining the story of Daniel, we gain insights on how to move towards, and live out of, the goodness of God. Hint: It requires us to mold ourselves around the spirit-breath of God, the source of all that is good.