“And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18).
“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23)
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments…” (1 John 5:3)
Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:22-24)
Good and evil are two concepts which can be debated endlessly as to their origin and meaning. In this post, I want to focus on good and evil in light of the Kingdom of God, the supreme focus of Jesus’ life and ministry. As I’ve said before, the kingdom of God on Earth is where the will of God is being known and done. That’s the focus, the purpose, the goal of God in Jesus Christ. Not to get us to heaven.
For most, “good” is behaving selflessly or suppressing carnal urges. “Evil” evokes thoughts of selfish or oppressive behavior. Without question, selfishness and oppression are not pleasing to God. But here’s the issue. Doing good and avoiding evil, as seen from our human perspective, is not going to further God’s Kingdom and is not what God desires.
Many believers have made a religion out of “good works,” and I see two main reasons for this: 1). To assuage a guilty and/or fearful conscience, fearing hell or judgment, and 2). A lack of connection with God in the spirit so as to follow His direction. As I’ve said many times before, along with Christians, many Hindus, Atheists, Muslims, etc. are in favor of doing a degree of “good” works. But this isn’t God’s kingdom being established. If the primary focus of a beliver is on good behavior, he or she is really no more beneficial to God’s kingdom than an altruistic atheist.
The primary Greek word for “good” is agathos and essentially translates “beneficial or upright.” The primary word for “evil” is kakos and essentially translates “detrimental, not as intended.” So we see that from a Kingdom perspective, good is what is benefits the Kingdom and evil is what is detrimental to it. God wants righteous people, not “good” people. Righteous = being in agreement with God. Good = being in agreement with your conscience.
The Kingdom of God is all about righteousness, while religion is all about goodness. What seems beneficial to the kingdom in our eyes may actually be detrimental in God’s eyes. Maybe God wants someone to suffer a while in order to reach them or steer them. Maybe God wants one of His servants to be occupied with their family, or investing in a single child’s life, or spending their time sitting in His presence seeking and learning from Him. Sadly, in many cases this servant is busy with church work or some humanitarian cause, thinking in their heart something like ” Look how good it is and how many people I’m affecting! Surely this pleases God?” Forget that. If it’s not God’s will, He’s not impressed. See the 1 Samuel 15 verse at the top of this post. God desires obedience, not sacrifice.
If you want to help the poor or do some other good thing in Jesus’ name, I’m not here to stop you. What I’m saying is, make sure that what you are doing is what God desires, not what your conscience does. Only this will further His kingdom, and only this is recognized by God as good. He reveals His will to the spirits of those who seek Him in love. Anything else is dangerous. We don’t want to be found to have been serving our conscience our whole life and to be a stranger to God. Keeping the kingdom first in mind – do good! : )