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Isn’t it amazing how people characterize us by our last act?  If we do something nice to someone, we are a good person.  If we do something that is considered less-than-nice, we are a bad person.  We know from the scripture how many good people are in the world today…none.  Romans 3:10-12 says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”  Of course, this concerns our standing before the Lord.  No one that is not saved can stand before the Lord and be declared good.  No one!

Why is the Word so harsh in saying that no one is good when, in fact, lots of unsaved people do good things for their friends, neighbors, and even strangers?  It’s because of this:  an unsaved person cannot do good things to the glory of the Lord.  To those who do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, their motives are self-serving; they cannot and do not please the Lord.  We read in Genesis 6:5, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  This is the true definition of the non-believer’s heart.  According to Jeremiah 17:9 we know that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?”  So harsh, but so true!

However, as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are instructed in Galatians 6:10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”  Once we have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior, we have the ability to do good things to the glory of the Lord.  Not only does the Lord see believers as ‘good’, He sees us as being righteous as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:21 which says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

So, how can we respond when a non-believer says that we are good without preaching a sermon?  It does depend on the situation.  How much time do you have to talk to this person?  How can you respond in a positive way that might help this person?  How can you glorify God in this situation?

I don’t think there is one definitive answer, but I can think of a couple of examples you might use:

“I’m not such a good person, but I have a wonderful savior.”

“I’m only good because the Lord has made me good.”

“I’m not only good, but I’m righteous, holy, and sanctified.”

This last response might be given if you have time to talk with this person at more length.  The object in our responses should be to point attention away from ourselves and on to the Lord.  Sometimes by saying just a few words, the Lord may begin to work in the hearts of non-believers and bring them to know the Lord as their savior.  (102.6)