If ever I should lose my way
If ever I deny Your grace
Remind me of the price You paid
Hallelujah, I’ll live in remembrance
Ok guys, cue in the bridge. Drop the music. Just like every other Hillsong hymn you know. Just the synth. Little bit of the drums, just a little. Guitarist, stop hogging the limelight. Sound crew, mute him please. Add a dose of emotion. Eyes closing, tears forming, hands lifting, that’s great. Keep it there, keep it there.
You’ve been so, so good to…
Stop. Hit the pause button right there. No. No, I can’t do it. I can’t finish the sentence. I just can’t.
To think of His goodness, is there even a space to talk about me?
A rich young chap once sought Jesus. Sincere enough, he fell to his knees and asked: Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? (Mark 10:17)
Just before The Good Teacher answered the query, He thought it will be good to chip in a bit: Why do you call me good? No one is good — except God alone. (Mark 10:18)
Spot on, Jesus. Truly, who is good except God alone? Is it even worth wasting a breath to ponder such question? A contemporary hamartiologist / anthropologist, Bebe Rexha, wrote in one of her most celebrated thesis in 2018 -
I’m a mess, I’m a loser, I’m a hater, I’m a user
I’m obsessed, I’m embarrassed, I don’t trust no one around us
I’m a mess for your love, it ain’t new, cause I love me, yeah I love me
Yeah, I love me, yeah I love myself anyway
(I’m A Mess, Bebe Rexha)
You see, man’s a mess. Sometimes a loser. Definitely a hater, probably a user. Have we ever not love ourselves? Sure, man is perfectly capable of doing good. Charity abounds. Love spreads. Mercy given. Rules kept. I’ll name you a few: Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and oh, this young chap here. He kept all the laws since young. He thought he had found his own silver lining (Mark 10:19–20).
But would this goodness ever suffice? Here’s the problem, God’s standard of goodness is this: , but ours is this: __. Because God is holy and perfect, anything short of 100% misses the mark. 0–99.99% doesn’t cut it. Even a single speck of sin cancels out our abundant good works (Romans 3:23). In fact, the OG Isaiah called them dirty rags (Isaiah 64:6). Yup, your good righteous acts are merely that piece of cloth your mamak guy uses to clean the table, dry the plates and wipe his armpit.
And because no one is good enough, Jesus said it rightly: Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God (Mark 10:23–25).
Not only those who are rich, but every single soul is not good enough and never will be. No, not even a million Mother Teresa’s. Condemnation is our destiny (John 3:18). Death is our wages (Romans 6:23). Sin is our slave-master (Romans 6:20). Can we ever inherit eternal life? (Mark 10:17)
We, like the disciples, cry out even louder: Who then can be saved? (Mark 10:26)
With man, this is impossible. Good works? Don’t work. Law-abidingness? Bids you farewell. Self-effort? Disqualified. Rituals? Disregarded. “I’m possible” is just a lie of the impossible.
With man, this is impossible, but… ah ha! It’s that word again. But — the most loved conjunction in the Scriptures. It finds a way in when all seemed lost. It pop ups when things were going down. It is the light at the end of the tunnel.
With man, this is impossible, but… not with God; all things are possible with God (Mark 10:27). When man is not good enough, God — the only one who is good enough — came to this earth, lived the perfect sinless life, died to take our place, and was raised to life to conquer sin and death. When Jesus said, “why do you call me good”, He’s not questioning His goodness. He’s saying — young chap, you’re right. I’m the Good Teacher as you declared me to be. Yes, no one is good except God alone. But just as you have declared, I AM. I AM as good as God, because I AM God. I AM good enough. And because I AM good enough, you can be good enough. You can inherit eternal life. Do you truly believe in what you have declared?
We who put our faith in Jesus, on the cross -
We are justified (Romans 5:1). We are substituted (1 Peter 3:18). We are atoned for (Romans 5:25). We are saved (Romans 5:9). We are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7). We are redeemed (Ephesians 1:7). We are reconciled (Romans 5:10). We are adopted (Ephesians 1:5). We are loved (Romans 5:8). Jesus’ righteousness is placed upon us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus’ goodness, is now ours.
Do you truly believe in what you have declared? Unfortunately the rich young chap didn’t. The Good Teacher, became merely a teacher to him (Mark 10:20). Because Jesus was not God to him, he couldn’t let go of his own god to follow Jesus (Mark 10:21–22). He didn’t believe.
Rather, let us echo the words of Peter: We have left everything to follow You! (Mark 10:28)
Because Jesus, Jesus is good enough for you. And we can sing:
You’ve been so, so good… to me.