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The Book of Acts #32: Intentional, Courageous and Unstoppable

Intentional, Courageous and Unstoppable. What does it look like to be a person who is truly filled with the Holy Spirit? This message will help you understand a few of those traits, so you become a person who greatly honors God and reaches your greatest potential. You know someone who needs to hear this message. Why not share it with them, today?

Good Without God? New Majority Think It’s Possible

Good Without God? New Majority Think It’s Possible

“For the first time, a majority of Americans — 56 percent — say it is possible to be a good person without a religious belief.” The finding comes from two new polls conducted by the Pew Research Center, involving nearly 5,000 Americans.*

“’God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality,’ Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of research, said in a post about the findings. Even white evangelicals, who traditionally believe a relationship with God is crucial to morality, have budged. In 2011, one quarter of them (26 percent) said it was possible to be good without God, while now almost a third (32 percent) say so. To be sure, most white evangelicals still say belief in God is necessary for morality,’ Smith writes. ‘But the share who say belief in God is a necessary underpinning of being moral has declined from 72 percent to 65 percent in just six years.’”*

 

Is it possible to be good without God? It’s a question worth contemplating — because one’s conclusion to this question has eternal consequences . . .


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Someone you know needs to read this.

 

WHAT DO THE POLLS REALLY TELL US?
I think the polls remind us that it’s far too easy to confuse the word “good” with the word “polite.” If these words meant the same thing, there would be no problem with the results of the polls — because it’s entirely possible to be polite toward people without God. Saying otherwise would be untrue. Many non-religious people are more polite than many religious people, because being merely religious can lead anyone to become nothing more than rigid, cold and legalistic.

Michael Anthony - Good Without God? - Michael Anthony's Courage Matters Blog

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO EMBRACE GOD’S DEFINITION OF “GOOD”?

If I’m honest, some of the most uptight, self-righteous, insensitive people I’ve met came from within the four walls of a church. Haven’t you met your fair share of folks who looked more like they were sucking on lemons than sitting at the feet of Jesus? (Keep in mind that their conduct is no excuse for any of us to turn from Christ. Someone else’s lifestyle is not a safety net for our own spiritual responsibility to follow God.) And, to be fair, some of the nicest, warmest, most wonderful people I’ve met became so because of God’s transforming work courtesy of Jesus.

It’s vital to recognize that “good” and “polite” are not the same thing — and herein lies the underlying problem with the attitudes expressed in the polls. The poll-takers essentiallly mistake manners for morality. Though related, they are vastly different. The polls demonstrate that we are now confusing, en masse, being polite with being holy. If manners were all God wanted, we have a huge problem with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Let’s think about this for a moment, because there’s a great deal hanging in the balance of our beliefs.

 

WHY THE CROSS?

Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive. And by “alive” I mean righteous, or holy. Righteousness and holiness are not the same as being polite, or having manners. They are not the same as our human understanding of “good.” Jesus died to make unholy people holy — to make unrighteous people righteous in the sight of God. Jesus gave his sinless life in exchange for our sin-filled lives. He came to bridge the gap between human beings and the eternal Being, God.
 
Michael Anthony - Good Without God? - Michael Anthony's Courage Matters Blog

BEING “GOOD” IS A RELATIVE THING. GOD DOES NOT COMPARE US TO ONE ANOTHER, BUT TO HIMSELF.

Romans 3:20 (NIV) says, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Bold italics mine, for emphasis). The real issue is whether or not we can become righteous before God, because righteousness is God’s definition of “good.” In the eternal scheme of things, God’s opinion is the only one that truly matters. If following the Old Testament law cannot make anyone “good” in the eyes of God, then what makes us think we can create our own standard of “good” that God will embrace? (See Galatians 2:16, too).

 

To be righteous is to be holy, and holiness, not mere manners, is what God requires. With this in mind, how are you doing? Can you be righteous and holy apart from God? If we could be holy and righteous in our own strength, through our own effort, then the cross is the most confusing event in all of history — courtesy of God himself. God would have sent his Son for a need that doesn’t, after all, exist. But the need does exist because the Bible says, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PROOF: WE CANNOT BE “GOOD” WITHOUT GOD
The fly in the ointment of people thinking we can be “good” without God is the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross is the definitive statement of good and evil, and that God requires perfection, not manners. If we believe we can be good without God, then the cross means nothing. The cross is nonsense if we believe we can be good without God. Why the passion of the Christ if it’s possible for each of us to be good apart from him?
 
Jesus said, “No one is good — except God alone'” (Mark 10:18, NIV). I don’t think there’s a mortal in position to correct Jesus’ take on the matter.
 
Your greatest need is not to be polite, but to be holy. It’s my need and the need of everyone on earth.
 
Michael Anthony - Good Without God? - Michael Anthony's Courage Matters Blog

TO ACCEPT CHRIST’S SACRIFICE IS TO EMBARK ON AN ENTIRELY NEW WAY OF LIFE. THE REST OF LIFE IS LIVED TO ENJOY AND HONOR GOD IN EVERYTHING.

The Bible says, “without holiness, no one will see the LORD” (Hebrews 12:14). It does not say “without manners, no one will see the LORD.” A person can be “good,” as far as comparing one person to another — but God does not compare us or judge us in comparison to each other. He judges us in comparison to his standard of perfection, righteousness and holiness. God compares us to his one of a kind, unique Son, Jesus. Holiness is only made possible through the substitute sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross — for you.

 
What have you done with Christ? Have you accepted what he did for you, and adjusted all of your life as a consequence?
 

The evidence of personally accepting the sacrifice of Christ is a life that no longer goes on, business as usual. Do you forgive people? Do you reconcile with people or hold grudges? Are you bitter or are you becoming more like Christ in character? These are the questions that reveal whether or not you really accepted Christ and are continuing in him.

 

THE DEEP QUESTION
The polls reflect a deeper belief system becoming more and more popular in the twenty-first century. It is that people think it’s possible to live life without belief in a God who defines good and evil on his terms, not ours. The real question is whether or not people believe life can be lived without absolute truth that comes from someone other than mere mortals.

The real question is “What does the cross of Christ mean?” If we can be good without God, then the cross was not merely unecessary. It was the most painful, pitiful act of nonsense ever undertaken  — and that presents a fundamental problem with the historic reality of Jesus of Nazareth, the gospel accounts, and the whole record of scripture and history.
 
Good and evil are ultimately determined not by people but by God  — and the cross of Christ is the definitive statement that mere mortals cannot be good — let alone define good — without God.
 
WHAT ABOUT YOU? DO YOU THINK IT’S POSSIBLE TO BE GOOD WITHOUT GOD?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, to be published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself.

 

Ravi Zacharias, Part 2

This special message was given by Ravi Zacharias on Sunday, October 15th, the second of two messages given at Grace Fellowship. Introduction by Pastor Michael Anthony.

Ravi Zacharias, Part 1

This special message was given by Ravi Zacharias on Saturday, October 14th, the first of two messages given at Grace Fellowship. Introduction by Pastor Michael Anthony.

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