The World’s Nice Guys And God’s Good Guys

By Alan H. Crosby

A Nice Guy And Eternal Life
The rich young ruler (Mt. 19:16-22; Mk. 10:17-22; Lk. 18:18-24) was a nice guy, but he did not have eternal life. He came to Jesus asking, “What good deed must I do to have eternal life”? (Mt. 19:16 ESV). This man seemingly had kept all God’s commandments from his youth (Lk. 18:21) – he was indeed a nice guy! Feeling that he may be lacking something he asked, “What do I still lack?” (Mt. 19:20). He did not love his neighbor as himself, and he was not a follower of Jesus, the Son of God. His lacks were revealed when our Lord answered his question, saying, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor … and come, follow Me, and he went away sorrowful” (vv.21-22).

This example shows us that keeping the law is not the way to obtain salvation, nor is it by being a nice guy. Eternal life is not the result of what we do, instead “it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). Eternal life is given to whosoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:16), and believing in Him means becoming His follower!

There are nice guys today who want nothing to do with God. They think they are so good that they have no need of a savior. There are also those who seem to be nice guys because they will seek to do whatever they think will be pleasing to others, but they will not hesitate to severely harm anyone who opposes them.

We Are To Be Good Guys
Believers are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God proposed beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). These good works will be the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22), whom we acquire with the new birth. Persons characterized by the fruit of the Spirit may be called “God’s good guys” as contrasted with the world’s nice guys.

God’s good guys will:

  • Display love – “brotherly affection” (Rom. 12:10),
  • “Count it … joy when they meet trials of various kinds” (Jas. 1:3),
  • Live, as far as it depends on them, “peaceably with all” (Rom. 12:18),
  • Be “kind to everyone … patiently enduring evil” (2 Tim. 2:24),
  • Correct their “opponents with gentleness” (v.25), and
  • Be known for their “self-control” under provocation (Mt. 5:39).

The perfect example for us to follow is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone can say, “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him [God the Father]” (Jn. 8:29).

Why Then Was Our Lord Hated?
He was not a nice guy from the world’s viewpoint. Why not? Because He would always do what pleased the Father rather than what pleased those around Him. Consider some examples:

  • He allowed the destruction of a herd of about 2,000 pigs, a valuable property on which people depended for their living. Certainly they did not think that destroying these pigs was nice at all, and the people “begged Him to leave their region” (Mt. 8:34).
  • Peter, a disciple, began to rebuke the Lord, who just said about Himself that He would suffer many things from the elders, chief priests and scribes, and be killed (16:22). The Father was pleased for our Lord to deal with Peter’s rash comment by saying, “Get thee behind me Satan! You are a hindrance to me” (v.23). Surely, Peter’s initial thought in this instance was that our Lord was not being very nice.
  • Similarly, the businessmen who “sold and bought in the temple” did not consider Him to be a nice guy when He overturned their tables and seats (21:12). God wanted what they were doing to be clearly condemned because, as our Lord said, they had made what God had intended to be a “house of prayer” into a “den of robbers” (vv.12-13).
  • In the presence of crowds of people, our Lord said that the scribes and Pharisees did not practice what they preached (23:1-3). Even worse, He likened them to poisonous “serpents,” a “brood of vipers” (v.33). God did not want His people to be deceived by their outward appearance of righteousness when those presenting it were “full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (v.28).

Nobody using worldly standards would want to be treated as these were in our examples. Rather, nearly everyone wants be thought of as being one of God’s good guys even if they are not.

Being God’s Good Guy Brings Hatred
Do you think that being like our Lord Jesus will cause you to be liked? Far from it! He was hated – and his haters sought to kill Him (Jn. 7:11). If we live a godly life, doing God’s will, our Lord tells us that we will be hated just as He was: “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you!” (Jn. 15:20). Yet, “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

There Is A Choice
There are two options: I can be “seeking the approval of men or of God” (Gal. 1:10). The apostle Paul made his choice and said, “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

What about you? Do you desire to please men as one of the world’s nice guys or do you want to be a servant of Christ as one of God’s truly good guys? Which do you choose?

Author: Sebastien

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