God Alone is Good
Jesus must therefore be God Pt. 1
In this article we are going to take a typical anti-Trinitarian argument, one often used by such groups as Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses, to disprove the Deity of Christ and turn it around against them.
Anti-Trinitarians often appeal to the following text to prove that Jesus denied being good in an absolute sense, since God alone is absolutely good:
“A certain ruler asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good, except God alone.’” Luke 18:18-19
These disbelievers reason that the Lord’s question here shows that Christ did not consider himself to be God.
In light of the foregoing we are going to show how the Lord Jesus’ assertion actually ends up proving that he must be God in essence (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).
A. God alone is absolutely good, holy and righteous.
The God-breathed Scriptures testify that God alone is good and holy in an absolute sense:
“When He set out on His way, a man came running and knelt before Him, and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good, except God alone.’” Mark 10:17-18
“They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been revealed.’” Revelation 15:3-4
The inspired writings also testify that God is perfectly righteous:
“Then I heard the angel of the waters saying: ‘You are righteous, O Lord, who is and was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!’ And I heard another from the altar saying: ‘Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.’” Revelation 16:5-7
As such, God is completely free from all unrighteousness and evil,
“to show that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Psalm 92:15
“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid!” Romans 9:14
“This then is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” 1 John 1:5-6
Which is why wickedness and evil cannot dwell in his presence since his perfect nature cannot tolerate them:
“For You are not a God who has pleasure in wickedness, nor will evil dwell with You. Those who boast will not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. You will destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” Psalm 5:4-6
“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and You cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours the man who is more righteous than he?” Habakkuk 1:13
B. Christ is absolutely good, holy and righteous.
According to the inspired Christian writings, Jesus is the beloved Son of God whom the Father is pleased with and delights in:
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Coming up out of the water, He immediately saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘You are My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’” Mark 1:9-11
“But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great crowds followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them that they should not make Him known, to fulfill what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘Here is My Servant, whom I have chosen, My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will render judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not struggle nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench, until He renders judgment unto victory; and in His name will the Gentiles trust.’” Matthew 12:15-21
The reason being is that the Son always does the very things which perfectly delight the Father, since he can only do the things that the Father himself does:
“So Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing of Myself. But I speak these things as My Father taught Me. He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I ALWAYS do those things that please Him.’” John 8:28-29
This includes raising the dead, giving life to whomever he pleases, and judging all mankind in order to determine the eternal fate of every single individual:
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, likewise the Son does. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He Himself does. And He will show Him greater works than these so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all men should honor the Son, JUST AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life. Truly, truly I say to you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead WILL HEAR THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has given to the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this. For the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves WILL HEAR HIS [the Son’s] VOICE and come out—those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing of Myself. As I hear, I judge. MY JUDGMENT IS JUST, because I seek not My own will, but the will of the Father who sent Me.’” John 5:19-30
Like the Father, the Son is totally sinless and completely free from any and all unrighteousness:
“He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory. But He who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:18
“Which of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe Me?” John 8:46
“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
“Consider how much love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now are we children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. Whoever practices sin breaks the law, for sin is lawlessness. You know that He was revealed to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever remains in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has not seen Him and does not know Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. The one who does righteousness is righteous, just as Christ is righteous.” 1 John 3:1-7
Also like the Father, the Son is perfectly holy and righteous, being absolutely good:
“In their synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘Leave us alone! What do You have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.’” Mark 1:23-24
“The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and am known by My own.” John 10:10-11, 14
“The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Creator of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:13-15
“Which of the prophets have your fathers not persecuted? They have even killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you have now become the betrayers and murderers,” Acts 7:52
“Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Just One and to hear His voice,’” Acts 22:14
By virtue of his sinless perfection, the Lord was able to redeem others from their sins by bearing their punishment. Christ did this to save them from God’s righteous wrath so that they might be reconciled to God:
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, being now justified by His blood, shall we be saved from wrath through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, how much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. Furthermore, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:1, 8-11
“For you know that you were not redeemed from your vain way of life inherited from your fathers with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
“For to this you were called, because Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.’ When He was reviled, He did not revile back; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but He entrusted Himself to Him who judges righteously. He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. ‘By His wounds you were healed.’ For you were as sheep going astray, but now have been returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21-25
“For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you, so that you do not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 1:7-10, 2:1-2
We have more to say about Christ’s absolute, essential purity in the next part of our discussion.