How do we know what is good? The Bible tells us that God is good; in fact it speaks of His goodness throughout Scripture.
“For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:5.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:25-26.
Yet most of the world’s opinion is that what is good is what is right at the time and that God is either too busy or too uncaring to help.
Oftentimes it is easiest to tell the real from the counterfeit by comparing the real with the bogus; for instance, you cannot know if a dollar bill is counterfeit without knowing what the real one looks like.
And so you cannot easily know the difference between good and evil without knowing what good looks like.
The following verses are taken out of Romans chapters 1 and 2. Please read both chapters for context if you will.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:28-32.
The first phrase says that they did not want to retain the knowledge of God, so He gave them over to a debased mind. This thought goes back to shortly after the flood of Noah.
At that time there were only eight people, eight God fearing people disembarked the ark to replenish the earth. Surely they would have told their children, their grandchildren and their great grandchildren about the flood and the one true God. What happened?
“They did not like to retain God in their knowledge”, men simply decided that they wanted a god who was more in tune with their own lusts.
In this Satan was more than happy to accommodate them. He supplied the power behind the gods and idols, they supplied the slavish worship.
Since men were intent on forgetting Him, God let them go down that path, so, He, “gave them over to a debased mind”. The further they went into Satan’s teachings the more he enslaved them. Yes they were and are slaves.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.’” John 8:34.
According to one expositor, a debased mind is defined as a mind that does not work.
People who push the politically correct agenda and those who follow it unquestioningly are a good modern example of a mind that does not work.
Though they profess to be open-minded, you simply cannot reason with these bigoted folks because they consider those in opposition to be haters.
“Professing to be wise, they became fools…” Romans 1:22.
Now look at a description of the results of this debased mind beginning with verse 29 above.
“Being filled with all unrighteousness”, righteousness has the simple idea of doing what is right or just. Injustice is the opposite and unrighteousness is not only that but it is even stronger here, it is evil, sinful, self-centered.
If your child does a good job of mowing the lawn for five dollars and you decide not to give him the money; is that right or unrighteousness?
“Sexual immorality”, the definition of this is simple; it is any sex outside of marriage. I am sorry, and I am not being cynical here, but the definition is that narrow, it is all fornication.
It is difficult to take a stand on this because our entire society says that it is okay to have sex out of wedlock. And adultery is okay if you do not get caught.
The perversities of incest are acceptable between consenting adults; pedophilia, sadism/bondage, and bestiality are being pushed now and will soon become acceptable.
Homosexuality is also fornication and for all the beating of the breasts and crying, “Oh why does God hate us so?” the truth is my friend that God hates the sin not the sinner.
The homosexual who has rejected Christ as their savior will find themselves alongside the heterosexual fornicator, whoremonger, adulterer, rapist, pedophile and sundry other sexually perverted individuals on judgment day. Many of whom will fall under far greater condemnation than the homosexual.
If it can be made to sound like a harmless form of enjoyment, people can be swayed to allow it.
Prostitution is seen to be a victimless crime, yet in areas where it is prevalent, crime increases. And the victims are the families of those who indulge in this practice, or those who contract the diseases passed along during illicit sex and then to the marriage bed.
Africa is dying of aids primarily because of rampant heterosexual indulgence in this victimless crime.
Women are the biggest losers; they are less likely to be able to detect sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, aka, venereal disease) at an early stage.
They are the ones who get pregnant and usually have to endure the hardships alone. If they abort, it is a dangerous process and sometimes they come down with post traumatic stress syndrome.
It has been conjectured that an increase in breast cancer risk is due to the dumping of hormones into the system after an abortion.
I am not addressing the issue of the killing of nearly 60 million babies here (combined 2013 population of California and Florida is 58.32 million), nor the sale of baby parts for research, that is for you to do.
If you are interested in confirming my statements, the internet has everything you will need to decide for yourself.
But please look at both sides. For you young ladies who choose to give your little one a chance and adopt out, remember this, you will never forget your child. Save yourself the anguish and keep sex for marriage.
You will never regret it, particularly if you are careful in selecting a husband who loves you as much as you love him.
Please indulge, if you will, a few last thoughts. Television shows like “90210” and numerous teen exploitation prom night type of movies along with snickering references to virgins as losers comments, have confused young people for years now, so much so that they think that promiscuous sex is normal life.
These shows are written by frustrated people who wish that they had indulged in their teen fantasies and are now enticing youth to engage in these dangerous practices so they can get a vicarious thrill out of it.
Teenagers get pregnant (it is hard enough for adults to avoid pregnancy), teenagers get diseases, they become burdened with guilt, they become cynical, they lose respect for the opposite sex, their moral compass dissolves in a sea of filth. It is your life, choose wisely.
“Wickedness”, this is wickedness acting out in a destructive hostile manner.
Thieves will steal someone’s purse or wallet and upon finding their debit card they will call them representing themselves as their bank manager asking for their pin number to close off the account.
Once they have the number they then clean out the victim’s bank account. One feels bad enough, but this added act of contempt has the intent of violating the person a second time.
“Covetousness”, is the desire for more and has the sense of a greedy grasping for more. The apostle Paul calls it idolatry in Colossians 3.
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5.
A short definition of idolatry is anything that displaces God in your life. And things can replace Him as well as any of the little gold or stone idols you see in the movies.
It is this form of idolatry that is the downfall of so many Christians who have become enraptured by the glittery things in this world.
Things which are not just RV’s, SUV’s and big screen televisions it is an addiction to sports, work or computer games. If this is you, you need to do some hard thinking.
There are many folks who are blinded by these idols in their lives, which keep them too busy to seek Jesus Christ and the salvation of their eternal souls.
“Maliciousness”, just turn your computer on, when the sign pops up stating: “Warning threat detected”, you will have the fullest meaning of malice.
So many have had their computers ravaged by viruses invented by individuals who have no other motive than viciousness and the smug satisfaction that they have destroyed millions of dollars in man hours and stored data.
Malice is just deep seated evil meanness according to the dictionary.
“Full of envy”, this is a discontent or jealousy when one sees or hears of another’s possessions, advantages or promotions. Note they are full of envy.
“Murder”, how appropriate that this would follow envy; have you never murdered anyone? Jesus said this on the Sermon on the Mount.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21-22.
We think of murder as being the ultimate trip to hell, but just calling another a fool can put you there. Do not forget that Adam and Eve fell into sin and were cast out of the Garden of Eden for eating a piece of fruit!
We cannot comprehend God’s holiness, things we call little white lies put us under the same judgment. God loves us, He does not want these things to come between us and Him, this is why the shed blood of Christ is so important, it wipes out all of our sins once and for all, yet it is up to us to apply it.
“Strife”, this is contention which comes from enmity.
“Deceit”, guile, which has the idea of drawing someone out with a hook, cheat, snare, defraud.
“Evil- mindedness”, an evil mindset that tends to put the worst spin on everything they hear.
“Whisperers”, are those who slander you behind your back, gossips.
“Backbiters”, these are people who speak evil of you openly.
“Haters of God”, this is the hardcore atheist. They call themselves atheists because it gives them an aura of intellectualism.
“Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” Richard Dawkins.
This shroud that they wear has enabled them to expunge many of our religious freedoms in this country and replace them with their own bigotry.
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Psalm 14:1a.
“Violent”, is characterized by an injurious, excessive force which is destructive.
“Proud”, this is taken in an evil sense of arrogance, a haughty disdainful person.
“Boasters”, this has the idea of empty boasting about things made up, not in real events like winning a race or the like.
“Inventors of evil things”, the makers of violent video games fall into this category.
There are also firms that manufacture torture equipment for sale in communist and third world countries. But sometimes we do pretty well in our own imaginations.
“Disobedient to parents”, this blight is pandemic in the world today and is the cause, not only of much misery but many of the things listed here.
“Undiscerning”, without moral understanding, this is a lack of understanding of Divine things, it is a lack of wisdom which comes from God and the knowledge of moral things.
“Untrustworthy”, this does not need to be defined, we have all met these people, and hopefully never again, this is a disease of politicians, companies, states and nations. The world would be a lot more peaceful if everyone were trustworthy.
“Unloving”, this is the sad word that will become the epitaph of mankind, and it can only be changed by letting God love those around us, through us.
“Unforgiving”, you cannot make peace with these types; they would prefer to hold a grudge than accept your apology.
“Unmerciful”, mercy is defined as, compassion, pity or benevolence, a merciful person is tender-hearted toward others.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.
The unmerciful man does none of these things.
These words are not just an accusation against the heathen, but against all mankind.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23.
“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, ‘who will render to each one according to his deeds’…” Romans 2:1-6.
Here God judges us by our own conscience, whatever judgment we pass on another He will judge us by. Because we do the same things that we judge others for.
Let us say that someone has determined that they will never drive over the speed limit, as a result they shake their fist at everyone who does.
Then one day they are late for an appointment, so they excuse themselves by saying that this is important I need to speed a little just this once. You see, one cannot even keep their own law; how much less God’s law.
“…the goodness of God leads you to repentance” Romans 2:4b.
What is Good? taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 11-7-15, updated on 10-9-19.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.