Only God is good

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). One of the things that God made that was very good was man. It says in Genesis 1:26 that God made man in his own image, after his likeness. The word translated likeness, demuwth “means ‘pattern’ in the sense of the specifications from which an actual item is made” (1823). According to this definition, the first man, Adam looked like God. He was the same height, had the same build, and color of hair.

The word translated image, tselem “means image in the sense of essential nature: human nature in its internal and external characteristics rather than an exact duplicate…God made man in his own image, reflecting some of his own perfection: perfect in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness” (6754).

In Psalm 53, David said, “God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Everyone of them is gone back, they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no not one” (Psalm 53:2-3). David’s harsh assessment of the condition of man indicates that even though we were made in God’s image, humans in their natural state are incapable of doing anything good.

Jesus, who was God and a man, went so far as to say, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30). To do or make something implies that an effort is put forth to produce a product or outcome. Jesus explained that he could do nothing “because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). From this it can be assumed that Jesus’ own will and the will of his Father were not the same. Even though he was God, as a man, Jesus could not do good. Therefore, he had to depend on God, the Father, to tell him what to do.

The way that humans become capable of doing good is to have a relationship with God. What it means to have a relationship with God is that you listen to him. He tells you what to do and you do it. Some people do what God tells them to without knowing it. Because they don’t have a relationship with God, they can’t hear his voice, at least not consciously.

David said, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 53:1). Anyone that does something good, does it because God tells him to. Whether he is aware of it or not, he is doing the will of God when he makes something good or he produces a good outcome. In one sense, salvation is nothing more than taking the blinders off and unstopping our ears. We suddenly become aware that God has been with us all along, we just didn’t know it.

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