Why do we attempt to “do good?” What element in us proves that God exists and that we continually desire a connection with Him?
18 “ If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘ A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
We tend to use this passage to explain away persecution. Certainly, it makes sense and I don’t really intend to take away from that. In Christ, we are a new being, one not of this world. Verse 22, however, sticks out to me. What does He mean about sin and people having an excuse or not having an excuse?
The reason why many people were unhappy with Jesus’ presence on earth is that it exposed their sin. The Pharisees pretty much ruled the land in their supposed perfection until Jesus came along and told them that they had it all wrong. Even today, Jesus gets in our face and tells us that what we bring to the table is “filthy rags,” as the Apostle Paul would say. Nobody likes to be told they are wrong. We all enjoy being content in where we are and would rather be left alone, even if we are wrong, than challenged.
The Law, handed down to the Jews through Moses, was created to expose the fact that we aren’t good enough to earn our way back into relationship with God. Ever since the fall of man into sinfulness, we have been trying to earn our way back into relationship with God. Whether we accept this or not is noncircumstantial. We cannot deny that we all have some sort of “moral code” within us. We all have an internal gauge that measures good vs. bad and for the most part we try to “be good.” Why is that?
In Genesis, we read about Adam and Eve. We talk about the deception of the serpent, the temptation, eating the fruit, etc. How often do we talk about what the tree was? Genesis 2:17 tells us, “17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” We know better! We ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, so therefore we know the difference. The Law was handed down as a guidebook for exactly what this was all about and we cannot uphold it. Why? Because we are not good enough. We don’t like to hear that because we like having control of our own destiny.
Ironically, when people are told that Jesus is the answer; when we hear that God has given us an opportunity to restore that relationship once and for all, we reject it because it isn’t our way. Folks, we try so hard to earn our relationship back with God and we fail constantly. Like a fish out of water, we flip and flop and don’t get any closer. God comes along and offers to put us back in the water as long as we would lay still long enough for Him to pick us up but we flop around even more, losing our breath quicker, dying faster, and refusing the help we need to survive.
Our knowledge of good and bad and our desire to “do good” is one of the simplest examples of the existence of God and the importance of His actions to make the relationship whole again. Why are you still flopping around ignoring the help that has been offered to you?