Our Sheridan area is one of the most generous and benevolent communities on the planet. In the almost 31 years I have lived here, I have seen so much giving for the betterment of our fellow man that that I am near speechless. We would be called a good people by anyone with a fair mind.
By the same token, such a generous people should also be wondering if our goodness is enough. The very striving for goodness says that we know there is more to life than birth, breath and death. The question is as old as the existence of mankind and our Creator has revealed just what even good people need.
God had a man named Luke record the story of a man named Cornelius in Acts 10 in the Bible so we could all read what good people need. Cornelius was a Roman soldier of rank stationed in Israel during the earthly life of Jesus. He saw the goodness in the Israeli faith in God and picked up their faith and way of life. Even the Israelites considered him to be a righteous man. One day, as he was praying to God and God told him to send for the Apostle Peter because he needed the message Peter was preaching and teaching. With all his generosity, God-fearing, good reputation and goodness Cornelius was still in need of something.
Peter went to see Cornelius and all of Cornelius’ household. Peter acknowledged God’s love for all mankind (not just Israelites) and that God welcomes to Himself all who reverence Him and do what is right. Peter then proceeded to tell Cornelius and his household about how his need was not just to do good, but to be good. Peter told them about how Jesus was sent by God to die for the evil deeds of even good people because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). He testified to the resurrection of Jesus who lives as the judge of the living and the dead and who also lives to give forgiveness to all who believe in Him.
That day Cornelius learned that being good would not put him at peace with his Creator. He learned that only Jesus the Christ could do that. Even a good man’s sin separates him from God (Isaiah 59:2). Cornelius and his household grasped that any disobedience of God would pollute all of one’s obedience of God (Isaiah 64:6). Peter’s listeners discovered that what they (good people) needed was to trust Jesus to forgive them of all their sin through His death burial and resurrection on their behalf. And that is exactly what they all did that very hour.
If you are a good (or even a bad) person, your Creator wants you to know that you still need His forgiveness. We have all offended Him with the evil we have done. We cannot make up for any of that evil either. We could never be good enough. But God longs to forgive us. He has done all that is necessary for us to be forgiven on His part. We need only to turn from trusting any one or thing and trust Jesus alone to give us all of God’s forgiveness for all of our sin. That is what good people need.
Terral Bearden is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church and a member of Pastors United In Christ.