On Wednesday I was in Downtown Dallas and I walked by the filming of the Fox Television show “The Good Guys.” I am not familiar with the show, but it is always fun to walk by a little Hollywood action. I walked past one of the actors from the show and thought about saying something, but all I could come up with was, “Hey, aren’t you one of those guys from that television show?” and that didn’t sound very compelling so I just kept walking. Plus, what am I going to say when he answers, “Yeah, I am.” I didn’t really see the conversation going anywhere, but then I did start to think about how often I hear people talking about being a good guy.
In our culture today we hear people often refer to themselves as “good guys.” We might say, “I try to do the right thing or I am not like those other people” and those are just different ways of saying, “I am good guy.” This is especially true in church culture. Good guys go to church. Good guys do the right thing. Good guys do right by their family. Good guys help out in the community. Good guys pay their bills on time. Good guys might buy a sports car, but he never speeds more than 5 miles over the speed limit. Why? Because he’s a good guy. Good guys might mess up everyone once in a while, but nobody’s perfect, and basically he’s a good guy.
In the context of Christianity it is easy to feel like Christianity is just about being a good guy, but trying to be a good guy is really just trying to be a religious guy. Religion isn’t about Jesus, but about controlling our behavior to put us in a better standing with God. Religion teaches us what to do so we can look like good guys. Nothing really changes, but at least to others we look like good guys. Religion reduces Jesus to simply being good moral people. Religion is simply our attempt to put us in a better standing with God and Scripture teaches that will never happen. God created us to be in a relationship with Himself, however, the problem is that we could never put ourselves in that relationship because our sin creates a separation between us and God. There is no way that morality or religious behavior could ever bridge the gap between us and God.
If we read Scripture, attend church, group, and walk away thinking, “I need to be a better guy” then we are walking away simply reinforcing religious or moral behavior. We could never be good enough. The gap between us and God is simply too wide. If we struggle with this we either have too high a view of ourselves or too low a view of God. And for most of us it is probably both. We probably all think we are basically good people and God is really just a little bit better.
However, this is not what Scripture teaches. Scripture teaches us there is such a distinction of Holiness between us and God that we could never possibly be good enough to get to Him. This is why God comes to us. Jesus is the good guy. He is the One who is righteous. He is the One who is obedient. He is the One who takes the responsibility for our sin at the cross. He is the One who conquers death. He is the One who fully meets our need for being a good guy. Our interaction with church / Scripture shouldn’t lead us to walk away trying to be a better guy, but lead us to walk away completely dependent on Jesus.