The rich young ruler had the pride of being good, not of being good enough, but simply a good man.
In one sense it was easier to live under the Mosaic Law, favor, as it were, was found with God as long as the law was adhered to. In other words, everything was written down and all one needed to do was obey that law. If a trespass was made against it, then an offering was brought, the altars of the children of Jacob were covered in blood. Christ of course fulfilled the law, the last sacrifice necessary, ushering in the age of grace, but the rules, so to speak, have changed. When we sin, we have 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But there is a prevalent ideology that has swept through the Evangelical churches that is not the teachings of Christ. We must be good.
We must strive to be the best we can has led many people away from the truth of the Scriptures, we are to be obedient. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) When we attempt to be good, we must determine in whose eyes this effort is made for, if it is for God, then you have forgotten Romans 3:10, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” if it is for the world, then John 12:43 becomes truth, “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” And if in our own eyes, then we will become as that rich young ruler, not good enough, but a good person.
Being good is saying that we have fulfilled all the known requirements, and placing ourselves unto a form of the law, attempting by works to state that we are born-again, we have accomplished, at least for today, those obligations before us. Romanism is quite adept at this, the bondage of works is their forte, and those who follow their prescribed rules and traditions believe themselves to be in the good graces of God as long as they do so. But they are also being deceived by being taught that they will never be good enough even after performing these deeds, not even after death.
This deception of being good has been translated by design into the majority of Evangelical churches, under the guise of never offending, never judging, never being, as it is interpreted by them, as the Pharisee at the wall with the righteous man beside him. “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)
This should be our plea, the understanding that all our works are as filthy rags should destroy any possible thought that we can ever be good.
The shed blood of the Savior is what the Lord God sees when He looks at us. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3) from the judgment of God because we are not good. When Paul gave his account in Philippians 3:5, “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;” he was stating how at that time he thought he was good, when he said, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) He knew he wasn’t, and never would be outside of Christ.
Being good is the path that many who profess Christ have mistakenly taken, and everything on that path speaks of works.
I bring to light here two verses that exemplify these truths today, and will hopefully assist you in seeing that you are not good, you are saved, for we are in Christ, “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.” (Gal. 2:20)
The first would be, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5) And the other, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13)
The sin of pride is birthed when we attempt to say that we are good, not good enough, but a good person, and every good person that does not recognize that the only good that is within them is from the Lord is deceiving themselves.