Scot Loyd, Contributing Columnist

Faith Forward is a weekly column written by Professor Scot Loyd. 

A survey of the Bible reveals that God used all kinds of people with all kinds of personalities to demonstrate his grace in redemptive history.

Many of these people were not good; in fact all of them, when compared to the goodness of God were by comparison evil.

As the Apostle Paul points out in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There is only one good guy in all of Scripture and his name was Jesus.

Thankfully because of the grace extended to us through the gift of salvation we can now receive the righteousness of God by faith, aspirations made possible by the blood of Christ and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit within us.

Aspirations of goodness, then, aren’t a reflection of our goodness but of God’s good gifts.

There was a time in American history when these aspirations were embraced by the culture at large. Sadly that day has passed.

Susan Cain, the author of “Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”, points out in her book that “America has shifted from what the influential cultural historian Warren Susman called a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality–and opened up a Pandora’s Box of personal anxieties from which we would never quite recover.”

Cain goes on to point out the difference created in America because of this shift.

“In the Culture of Character, the ideal self was serious, disciplined, and honorable.

“What counted was not so much the impression one made in public as how one behaved in private…but when they embraced the Culture of Personality, Americans started to focus on how others perceived them.

“They became captivated by people who were bold and entertaining,” Cain wrote.

It is very easy for Christians to embrace the Culture of Personality at the expense of the character traits the Holy Spirit wishes to create within us.

We must never forget that God intends for us to experience continual growth in our lives, being conformed to the image of Christ.

The Bible speaks of this transformation in 2 Corinthians 4:12, “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.”

Our new life in Christ comes out of the hope that is planted in our hearts.  As 2 Corinthians 4:18 goes on to say, “And we all…beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

When Christ changes who we are, everything about us is transformed.

Being a Christian isn’t about cosmetic changes or cultural adjustments mirroring a certain moral climate of days gone by.

Being a Christian is about the radical consummation of our lives to the point of being indistinguishable from Christ.

When the world sees us they should see Jesus.

We live in a world that increasingly rewards outlandish behavior.

Narcissistic celebrities seek attention based upon what they consume rather than what they contribute.

As Christians we are called to constantly challenge the culture and allow are actions and thoughts to be governed by the Word of God.

We can only accomplish this by keeping Christ at the center of our lives.

Galatians 6:10 reminds us “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone…”

Doing good is something intrinsically evil people, like you and me, will always find difficult.

Indeed there is none good but God, and God is our only source of goodness that is reproducible.

We can accomplish good only because Christ suffered the worst on our behalf.

If there is any good in us it is because of God alone.

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