One of the hardest concepts to accept is when good and evil have the same destiny. Evil seems to be more culpable because of the horrendous pain it leaves in its wake. Good does not wake of pain … it sees what it can do to secure a better outcome for all and pursues it.
However, good all by itself is a kinder gentler application … it can be seen as self-reliant and in need of nothing. I can think of the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22) whose rule was in his keeping the law and being good. Jesus said that he did well to keep the law, but there was a lack in his life and that was a relationship with God. The young ruler did what was required of him out of obligation and tradition, but knew nothing of how to relate to God on a personal level.
Religion allows us to do good things, but never does Jesus say that good or good works will ever get you into the kingdom of God. Evil has a destiny that will end up in hell, but it is harder to imagine that evil and good will end up in the same place. Why? Good without Christ is not a recipe for God to forgive, otherwise, He would have to apply that same forgiveness to evil. The key factor in both is Christ … the atonement for sin is the same for both evil and good, and nothing will help either outside of Christ.
I believe that is why at the great white throne judgment Jesus opens two sets of Books. One set is the list of deeds that were done during their life on earth. The second is a set of Books that will list out what they did with the Savior of the world. Is their name written in the Book of Life because Jesus was their savior or not?
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
So, judgment will depend on what is written in the Books. Even if someone’s deeds were outstanding but their name is not written in the Book of Life, they are as damned as evil will be as it is judged by God.
My point is that being good is not a way around the salvation of Christ. Without accepting the provision of Calvary, and the shed blood of Jesus, goodness is no different than evil … their judgment results are the same. Hard to grasp? Well, it is one of those moments to pause and consider my point. Good and evil are the same without the acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.
As a good person, you are much like the Rich Young Ruler. You are doing what is required of you to help and provide a good outcome for people around you. Yet, Jesus would say as He did to the Rich Young Ruler, there is one thing you lack, “deny yourself, give to the poor, and come and follow Me.”
The Rich Young Ruler’s goodness was all about what he could do for others, first by keeping the law, and doing what the law said to do as applied to others. Anyone can do the mechanics of the law, but it must go beyond the letter of the law to know the author of the law. Knowing God is where obedience to the law emanates from because you have a relationship with Him, it makes compliance to Him a form of worship. Goodness, like religion, does what is expected and goes no further. It manages the outcome of a tradition, a creed, a philosophy, or a doctrine. It does not cross over … it stands alone apart from a relationship with God. This is why goodness and evil will be judged by rejecting God.
This is an important distinction because everyone equates goodness with God, and rightfully so, yet goodness does not automatically become Godliness in the sense of being right before God.
It’s hard to imagine that doing good is not preferred by God over evil, yet good which is the opposite of evil and much preferred in society over evil, if it stands alone it is no different than evil. How can that be you ask? It is because good along with evil tries to replace God in our lives. The only time good is mentioned in Scripture is when it is referring to God being good. Usually, the Scripture contrasts evil to the light and not to good. The light is the correct description to contrast evil against because evil is always against God … good is not.
John 3:20 Everyone who does evil hates the light.
My point is simple. Being good does not qualify you to enter the kingdom of God any more than evil does. Our hope, trust, and assurance come in Christ and Him alone. As I said earlier, good people will suffer the same fate as evil people if they are not in Christ.
Jesus paid the price for all sin, those of the good and those of the evil, and without Him, there is no hope of entering the Kingdom of God.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler