Living in the Bible Belt comes with special ministerial problems. “Everyone” is a Christian and member of a church.
It would seem that this is true because:
- There is a seemingly higher moral standard here.
- There are more people who attend worship
- There is a tighter connection between God and country
It seems that this colors how people view themselves. Basically they’re good.
What is good?
Good is that state of perfection arrived at by avoiding a whole boat load of rules.
- I don’t murder people
- I don’t get drunk (often)
- I don’t beat my wife (just abandon her during hunting season)
- I don’t beat my kids, and I teach them to say yes sir and no sir.
- I might have dropped out of school, but I don’t want any one else to do that.
- I work hard providing for my family.
- I salute the flag
- I wish I could have served in the army.
- I never say ugly words in a church house, and I go ever so often.
- I have a Bible in my house, and maybe on my phone.
- I always re-tweet good God loving memes
- I have given money for people to go on mission trips,
- I think the pastor is the smartest person I know
- And Jesus is a great guy for dying for me. So I celebrate his birthday and resurrection.
- And the list could go on and on.
Good does what a non Spirit-filled man can do on his own with enough umph.
Good can even memorize Bible passages, pray, sing, and listen to a sermon without getting mad.
But can good be saved? The answer is no. But why?
And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness (Romans 4:5)
Paul makes it clear that those who are justified, the first step we take in salvation, are the ungodly. God does not justify the good, the trying, the almost there, or the good old boy. He justifies the ungodly.
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:13-14)
Here the one who is justified is the one who recognizes himself as a sinner, not a good person. He doesn’t try to argue for his inclusion into the things of God by pointing out his goodness.
“For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” John 9:39
Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, so says John 3:17. However, Jesus says, “For Judgment I came into this world.” because of judgment he came into this world. For 2 people:
Those who see —> will become blind
Those who are blind —> will be made to see.
So only the blind can be saved. Only those who know they are spiritually blind and admit it can be saved.
So no, a good person cannot be saved, but a bad on can. Are you good? The point is this no one is good, but too many southerners think that they are good. This is a problem. Because if you think you are good, then Jesus will not be a savior to you. You might think you can still be a Christian, but the reality is, you can’t think of yourself as good and truly be a Christian.
Your only hope is admitting your blindness, wickedness, and ungodliness. Once you see yourself truly, then you can be saved.