In a previous post I discussed Good and Evil as if there were only 2 forces we have to deal with - black and white, so to speak. Is there a 3rd, 4th or even more, entity, or spiritual force, in our lives? Do we have innumerable shades of gray? Am I being presumptuous to say there is only black and white?
As I mentioned in the previous post on this topic, when good has only a 'smidgen' of bad (evil), it IS bad. Look at it this way. How would you like to eat a cake that had only a tenth of a teaspoon of dog poop, or say, e-coli, or strichnine or other poison, mixed into the dough? I would hazard a guess you might say ALL of it is contaminated and refuse it with disgust.
So, in this example, there are no shades of gray. "Oh, but it's such a tiny little bit" - no - it's contaminated and bad! It must be thrown away. It would be impossible to "un" mix the dough and take out the bad.
Here's a more complex example (of which there are many, of course!). A selfish, rich, cruel and violent man gives one million of his own money to save and better the lives of earthquake victims in Haiti; and then gives another million to send HIV vaccines and treatment to the poor, suffering people in Africa. Do those people there benefit by this man's actions? Yes, they do! Did he do a good deed? Yes, he did. What if he did these things to gain publicity for himself or his business? What if he did it to gain political notice? What if he was getting some kind of kickback from the pharmaceutical company? Would the deeds still be good?
I'd say yes, the act itself was still good and did great benefit, especially in the short term; but the act itself is not being evaluated here. His motives (just say), were evil and selfish - he wanted publicity and notice. Therefore there is no merit in just having "good deeds" - for HIM, they were contaminated and "worthless". We can't now call him a "good man". (We're ALL in the same boat, I might add. How many times have we done "good deeds" but realized we did them selfishly, wanting notice and approval from others?)
You don't have to be a Christian, to realise that no matter how many good things we do, we're not "good" to the core. You could also be a Hindu, Buddhist, a muslim, or a pagan. In your heart, you know you're not the embodiment of true, unconditional, self-sacrificing LOVE. It seems to be an inborn knowledge. We KNOW that only LOVE will bring us fulfillment and happiness. Nobody in their right mind believes the opposite, that being evil and unkind is something to strive for.
This is a HUMAN condition - it affects us all. All around the globe - in Slovenia, Ukraine, Russia, the UK, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and EVERY spot on the globe - we are all born into this world in pretty much the same way. We all have a biological mother and father - implying relationship with them and with others. We are ALL better for being nurtured and loved, rather than being rejected and mistreated. We just grow better that way.
So, I still maintain that there is only "black and white" in the core. WE are the ones who might see grays, but really, the grays are contaminated. We want to see grays instead of black, because we fear rejection and judgement. We know that "black" (evil) should be thrown away. In one sense we are ALL evil - but we can't handle that.
As a Christian, I can't leave you with this horrible feeling of inadequacy and hopelessness. Yes, "all our righteousness is as filthy rags", and the "wages of sin is death"; but don't give up living! Although we don't measure up - for eternal life, or even for this life on earth - we have Someone who doesn't just "cover" our sinfulness, our "evil-ness" with a camouflaged overcoat. MY Saviour, Jesus, makes us/transforms us, into something NEW. When God looks at us, he doesn't see us, but his son, Jesus, and looks at us as if we had NEVER sinned, or been evil - ever! He sees ONLY GOOD. With this knowledge, don't you feel light and free; happy and grateful? Doesn't this spur you on to now go and live up to this honor?
We're not slogging anymore. We're living in Grace. We know we don't deserve this makeover. And we certainly don't deserve to live forever. "....but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". Our good deeds are for the betterment of mankind.
Yes, these deeds also change our hearts by their doing. The evil man in the previous illustration will undoubtedly be changed by what he did. But only God can save him and make him truly good, by imparting HIS character to him. Good deeds can change US more than they change the benefactor, and good deeds can bring us closer to God who is a God of love and loving deeds. And good deeds lift up others - what could be more satisfying?
On the other end of the spectrum, doing evil will separate us from God, and will thus allow Satan to gain control. Only Christ can save you from Satan and his cruel, deceitful craftiness.
Our purpose in this world isn't to live selfishly, for thereby we are serving Evil. Remember, I said Evil really only serves itself - even if it appears to be serving others. We are here for each other. "Bear one another's burdens and build one another up in brotherly love..." By doing this, we are pointing them to the one who will save them.
I choose to believe the Bible because it has been proven to be a reliable, prophetic book. It has remained unchallenged by any other "bible" or writings. It has proven true it's own word of prophecy - foretelling Christ's birth and crucifixion (read that in Daniel 9, I think) hundreds of years in advance; foretelling kingdoms spanning thousands of years, in advance; with pinpoint accuracy (read more in Daniel 2 and 7) and many other examples.
The Bible tells me there is only ONE way to eternal life. So why try to find ANOTHER way? Is it so hard to follow Jesus? He tells us, as the voice of God himself, that He is the way, the truth and the life and that there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved....and we go rushing off to find a "god" other than the real one! WHY, people??
Jesus says "My burden is light and my yoke is easy". Jesus appeals to you in Love, TRUE love, to come to HIM to be saved - only because he KNOWS that is the Only way! Not because He is arrogant or haughty. NO, only so that YOU can be with Him one day in heaven. He's going to be there anyway. He loves YOU with an everlasting love! Nothing could be richer and sweeter than that!
The end of the matter is that IN CHRIST, we are all WHITE, all good. Without Christ, we are all BLACK, all evil! "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve...."!