Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry


By Jeannette Haley

Perhaps there would be fewer misunderstandings, mistakes and
misinterpretations if we all carried around with us a Webster’s Dictionary along
with a Concordance of the Bible. That way we could compare our understanding
of what certain words mean with what God’s Word says, in context.
Take the word “good” for example. When you compare the dictionary with the
Concordance, it pretty much has the same intent and meaning. However, the
problem we are facing today in our upside-down world is the subtle (and
sometimes not so subtle) redefinition of words. We are living in the time
prophesied in Isaiah 5:20, 21, “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and
sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in
their own sight!” God makes a clear distinction between good and evil. In other
words, there is no gray area, no middle ground, and no compromise between the
two, nor is there some sort of “purgatory” where those who are half-hearted,
compromised, or lukewarm can safely “land” someday.

Because I “cut my teeth on the King James Bible” (as one man steeped in
the occult said to me years ago), there was no way that he could instruct me, or
reveal to me, the secrets of his craft as practiced by the Rosicrucian’s. Thank
God for that! He instantly knew that I was “black or white,” right or wrong, true or
false in my thinking. Because the Bible is “black and white” concerning good and
evil as well as truth and lies, I never could feel comfortable wading through any
misty gray area that came my way even though, sad to say, after being strongly
advised that things are not always “black or white with no gray areas,” I
wandered into the gray zone which resulted in some very unwise decisions.
Those bad decisions ended in miserable consequences and a hypocrisy that
forced me to run back to the light with more determination than ever to stick with
the simplicity of black or white, right or wrong, good or evil. No in-betweens.
The bottom line is, the only One we need to fully believe, trust and please is
God Almighty as revealed in God’s Word and as the Holy Spirit leads. Jesus sent
us the “Spirit of truth” who “will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of
himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you
things to come” John 16:13. The Holy Spirit gives those who love the truth the
ability to discern truth from error, the holy from the profane, light from darkness,
and right from wrong.

In our turbulent world today, there are multitudes of people whose agenda is
to blend the stark contrast between that which is black and white into a gray zone
under a rainbow banner of “love,” tolerance, and strong anti-anything that
resembles biblical Christianity. In fact, anything goes, no matter how satanic,
demonic, lewd, disgusting, vain, immoral, foolish, or evil it is. Plus, such people
are determined to destroy the brave souls who firmly stand against everything
that is of an antichrist spirit. Nevertheless, there can be a subtle danger in this for
Christians who consider themselves to be “good” by comparison, for God looks,
not so much at our good works, but at our heart. That is why David prayed,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see
if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm
139:23, 24. The Pharisees prided themselves in being “good” and “better” than
the people, but Jesus called them “whited sepulchres, which indeed appear
beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all
uncleanness.” (See Matthew 23.)

Again, comparing ourselves with others is dangerous and deceitful. We are
admonished in 2 Corinthians 10:12, “For we dare not make ourselves of the
number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they
measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among
themselves, are not wise.” Comparing ourselves with one another is a common
temptation among mankind. It’s a form of judgmentalism for the purpose of
making ourselves out to be better, (or “more good”) than others. Romans 12:3
says, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among
you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think
soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
God didn’t tell us to go “work to be” good, but rather to “do” good. “For we are
his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath
before ordained that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:10. Goodness and
good works cannot save anyone, but if you are born again and belong to God,
then your good works will show it. The Apostle Paul describes his state, and what
should be every believer’s goal, in Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ;
nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live
in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself
for me.” Galatians 3:6 says, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was
accounted to him for righteousness.” These saints, and all those in the “great
cloud of witnesses” knew where they stood with God, and it was in the light! The
simple, pure, heavenly, glorious light of Christ! O, that we would all catch a vision
of that light, and fall on our faces before God and pray to be delivered out of the
miserable gray zone of confusion! Hebrews 12:1-3 encourages us,
“WHEREFORE seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of
witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset
us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the
throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction against himself,
let ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

We all know unsaved people who think they are Christians because they live
“good” lives. Many regularly attend a church. And, indeed, compared to the
godless workers of iniquity of today, they do appear to be “better” or “good”
indeed. We find ourselves thinking what fine Christians they would make, but
since they are usually so satisfied with their own “goodness,” sharing the Gospel
with them is hard to do. They see no need for repentance, salvation or giving up
their right to life on their terms. Besides, many of them practice more good works
than many believers do, and it’s not unusual for them to be genuinely kind,
pleasant, likeable people. Thus, it can be a real struggle for Christians to believe

that such “good” people will end up in hell for eternity if they do not receive
Christ. Thus, the temptation to “sort of” hope they will go to heaven anyway,
because they’re “so good,” is an open door to falling into the gray zone of

The Holy Bible tells shows us from cover to cover what pleases the Lord, and
it certainly doesn’t tell us that we can please Him by trying to make ourselves
“good” in His sight. Good works don’t make us “good” or righteous in God’s
eyes—only faith in the blood of Jesus can do that. We forget that whatever good
we do is to bring glory to God, not to ourselves “For they being ignorant of God’s
righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not
submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” Romans 10:3. Sadly, such
people have become the nominal, shallow, lukewarm, carnal Christians-in-name-
only among us who have adopted the world’s (cultural) definition of “good” which
results in them wandering in the muddle of the gray zone which calls that which
is an abomination to God, “good,” while condemning those who stand for
righteousness, holiness and truth as being “evil,” unloving, intolerant, prejudiced,
ignorant and “deplorable.” It’s amazing how our culture throws the word “good”
around, and redefines it by applying it to that which is vile, evil and satanic.
An example of this is a young lady we knew many years ago who was
tender-hearted, but struggling against the strong undertow of sexual “identity”
temptation. In the end, in spite of strong biblical counseling, she chose a legal
career to help defend that which is, was, and always will be, an abomination to
God. Thus, instead of throwing herself on the altar and living for the Lord, she
has slid from the “gray zone” straight into total darkness from whence she is
fighting against God.

Is there a price to pay for being a “good” Christian? That is, doing the will of
God and living for Him? You bet there is! We read in Romans 8:5-8 “For they that
are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit
the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually
minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is
not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So, then they that are in the
flesh cannot please God.” When I read verses like these, I am prompted to
honestly examine my heart. I am also reminded of certain persons who claim to
be saved, yet their whole purpose for living is to pursue the world, the things of
the world, and the favor of the world. One woman we knew many years ago used
to frequently tell us, “I’m a good person!” Of a truth, she wasn’t a criminal or
worse, but was she such a “good person” that she had no need of salvation?
Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is
none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone
out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth
good, no, not one.”

Concerning the word “good,” we need to understand what Jesus meant when
He answered the rich young ruler, who asked, “Good Master, what shall I do that
I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Why callest thou me good? There is
none good but one, that is, God.” We know from Scripture that this young man
had kept most of the Commandments, but where he failed is when Jesus said to

him, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to
the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross,
and follow me.” (See Mark 10:17-21.) Even though the young man knew that
Jesus, as the “Good Master,” was from God, yet it was too much to ask of him to
deny himself of his right to life on his terms, and to part with his riches which is
where his heart, and trust, were. In other words, the cost for him to put all of his
faith in Jesus, put Him first and become a disciple was too great for him to bear.
And, Jesus knew what was in his heart, and when He “put His finger on it,” “…he
was sad … and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.”

The greatest test is who or what do we trust for our salvation? The truth is,
the human condition is such that we naturally tend to trust ourselves and our own
“goodness” to some point; that is, until the Holy Spirit and the Word convicts us
of such foolishness. “Only God is good.” Any goodness we have is totally
because of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27b. If we declare we
trust Jesus, but fail to totally surrender our all to Him, then who, or what, do we
really trust? You can sport the name of Jesus on your cap, or wear a “Jesus” pin
on your shirt as a statement that you are a “good” person, but in the end the only
one you’re fooling is yourself. “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please
God” Romans 8:8.

Oswald Chambers said, “The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin,
but the good which is not good enough. The good is always the enemy of the
best.” Our Lord warned, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not
prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name
done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew
you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” Matthew 7:22.

Prayer: Lord, You know how weak the flesh is and how we base many of our
decisions and conclusions in the gray zone of faulty reasoning and untrustworthy
emotions. Bring us to a place of conviction and truth. Help us to remember
Ephesians 5:8-11: “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the
Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and
righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Amen.