Can we honestly say that we are good and do the right thing all the time? There is a list of commandments God gives people in the Bible and have we broken any of them? The answer is probably yes. Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen from someone or took something from a store? According to Exodus 20:3-17, the Ten Commandments are:
- “You must not have any other gods except me.
- “You must not make for yourselves an idol that looks like anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the water below the land. You must not worship or serve any idol, because I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God. If you hate me, I will punish your children, and even your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But I show kindness to thousands who love me and obey my commands.
- “You must not use the name of the LORD your God thoughtlessly; the LORD will punish anyone who misuses his name.
- “Remember to keep the Sabbath holy. Work and get everything done during six days each week, but the seventh day is a day of rest to honor the LORD your God. On that day no one may do any work: not you, your son or daughter, your male or female slaves, your animals, or the foreigners living in your cities. The reason is that in six days the LORD made everything—the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. On the seventh day he rested. So, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
- “Honor your father and your mother so that you will live a long time in the land that the LORD your God is going to give you.
- “You must not murder anyone.
- “You must not be guilty of adultery.
- “You must not steal.
- “You must not tell lies about your neighbor.
- “You must not want to take your neighbor’s house. You must not want his wife or his male or female slaves, or his ox or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
If we broke any of God’s laws, then we are not as “good” as we thought. We cannot think we are good. The definition of good according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary means, “of a favorable character or tendency.” If we murder, cheat on a spouse, talk back to a parent, gossip or do what God told us not to do according to His Ten Commandments, do you think our character is favorable?
God knows how humans’ characters should be because He created us. That’s why He helps to develop our character to become like His (Philippians 2:13). We cannot be or do good on our own because we inherited our not so good character from Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were disobedient to God in the Garden of Eden when they ate the fruit from the tree that He told them not to do (Genesis 3:1-24). From that time, we became prone to sin and cannot always do what is right.
Only God is good because He is perfect and Holy. God is merciful and already had a plan to help us change our wicked and disobedient hearts. His plan involves providing us with help from the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirit helps us to hate our not so good character and changes our way of thinking and our actions.
God’s plan also involved sending Jesus Christ to die and suffer on the cross for our sins. The only thing we must do is to ask God for forgiveness and believe Jesus is our savior (John 3:16). Jesus is the only way to make us right with God (Romans 3:22). Jesus suffered so we do not have to. God did this so He would get all the glory and we cannot boast or think too highly of ourselves. We also cannot think we are better than anyone else because we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).
The apostle Paul is an example how God can change people. Before becoming an apostle, Paul was persecuting Christians by putting them in jail and having them stoned to death (Acts 9:1-2). Paul was a murder before meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus. God converted Paul from doing evil to doing good. Paul’s conversion shows how powerful God is and that we cannot do anything good without Him (Acts 9:2-19).
Paul gives God all the credit in helping him to be the man he turned out to be. He said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But God’s grace has made me what I am, and his grace to me was not wasted. I worked harder than all the other apostles. But it was not I really; it was God’s grace that was with me.”