24 August 2011

None Good but the Father... And You

(Alternate title: "Jesus never said you suck.")

Why do we put ourselves down? Why do we think it's spiritual to put ourselves down? Why does the Church teach us to do this?

It seems to be based at least greatly on one passage (OK, three, but they're the same story related in three, different Gospels). A man, often known as the "rich, young ruler" prefaced a question to Jesus by addressing him as "Good teacher". (Jn 10/17)

Jesus prefaced his reply in Jn 10/18 with, "Why do you call me good? There is none good but the Father" (KJV) or "No one is good--except God alone" (NIV)

See? Easy! We all suck.

Well, that's one way to read this. But think about all the other things God the Father and God the Son said about us-- not just about the unfallen Adam and Eve. Not just about Mary. Not just about the disciples (the 12, the 70, the 120, the 500, etc.) You and me.

We are made in the image of God. (Gen. 1/26)

He has given us His glory! (Jn 17/26)

So how does that fit in with Jesus saying "You all suck."

(Waiting... waiting... waiting...)

Can't make it fit, can you?

I guess we could sorta, kinda say, "None of us is as good as God, so compared to him we suck." I suppose. But there really wasn't any reason for Jesus to interject anything like that at this point in the conversation. Plus, Jesus would be saying, "We all suck. You, me, everybody but the Father."

That just doesn't fit.

Just before this, the Pharisees had been testing Jesus, harassing him, trying to trip him up so they could bring charges against him. One of the charges they were perpetually trying to stick him with was blasphemy-- equating himself with God.

I believe this was simply a case of Jesus saying, "Hey! Do you realize what you just said? Yes, I am one with the Father!" That's it. Was he reminding the man addressing him? The Pharisees? The crowd? The disciples? My guess is all of the above. But it really doesn't matter. The point is that the commonly accepted explanation doesn't really fit, whereas this one ties in with Jesus' teachings, and indeed with other things his Father-- our Father, our Daddy-- has said all along.

If the Father is good, so is his only begotten son. If we are one with Jesus the way he and his father are one (Jn 17/21), if He lives in us (Jn 17/23), then we are good as well, purified by his blood and his presence in us.

Does this mean we are incapable of sinning? Sadly, no. But it means that our new nature, the new man or woman, is the polar opposite of the old, sinful nature. It's the new Adam, the new Eve (Rom 5, esp. 18-19). We can choose to be believe the lie that we are bad, and therefore have a propensity to sin, in which case we will almost certainly live a life of defeat (for which there is no Biblical case), or we can choose to believe the truth that we are good through Christ, with a propensity to become like God, in which case we will find it easier to move from glory to glory (II Cor 3/18).

I'll take the truth, every time.


  1. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

    For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

    If we have become the righteousness of God, it follows that, in Him, we *certainly* do not suck...

  2. Yup. There are quite a few passages that show this. Yet where do so many people bog down? "none of you are any good". Lies! I hate 'em.