What is a Good Christian?

This could probably be a much better post but I've never met a first draft I didn't love. No, wait. I've never met a first draft that I didn't submit. Maybe that'll change.

You don't care about that, though. Here's the question of the day: What is a good Christian? Is it someone who prays a lot? Someone who knows their Bible forward and backward? Is it someone who is at the church every time the doors are open? Is it someone who serves the poor? Someone who goes overseas to preach the gospel to unreached people?

I bet if you took some time to think about it and wrote some characteristics down on a piece of paper, you'd come up with some pretty standard attributes. Devotionally consistent, compassionate, servant-hearted, evangelistic, and ministry-committed. That would about sum up Sam the Super Christian who is our good ole American, Good Christian poster child.

Comedian Ricky Gervais shares the same perspective. By that I mean he thinks what makes someone a Good Christian is their ability to live up to something whether the Ten Commandments or our gold standard of Christian goodness. Mr Gervais shares his thoughts on how he considers himself to be a good Christian in this link I found by way of my friend Sam.

Here's the thing - and I know I'm on a Gospel Coalition high - Ricky starting point is just flat out wrong. So is ours when we start with the deeds of a good Christian. We're all wrong for two reasons.

First, we are not good. At all. Psalm 14 and 53 (quoted in Romans 3:10) remind us that we are not good. No one is. In reading a passage about prevenient grace recently it was asserted by the writer of the book that John Wesley almost went so far to say that in our depravity we bear the image of Satan. While Ricky is trying to be funny, he's clearly not obeying the ten commandments all the time. "You shall have no other gods before me." Ricky, you are your own god. Your point for that one is deducted. That's just the first commandment without going through and finding the holes in the rest.

Second, here's what makes me a good Christian - Jesus. Not my inability to keep the commandments, love my neighbor, or love God, but Jesus. This is imputed righteousness. It is Christ's goodness, not ours, that declares us good in our sinfulness. It is Christ's goodness, not ours, that is our basis for hope as we stand in judgment. If I do anything good in this world it is the work of the Holy Spirit for God's glory and not my own.

I'm not a good Christian the way Gervais defines it, but I have a good Christ and that is all I need.