Divine Good vs. Human Good by R.B. Thieme, Jr.

May 24th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Religion

(April 1, 1918 - August 16, 2009)

A catalog of available tapes and publications will be provided upon request by contacting R.B. Thieme, Jr., Bible Ministries, 5139 West Alabama, Houston, TX 77056

Before you begin your Bible study, be sure that, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have named your known sins privately to God (1 John 1:9). You will then be in fellowship with God, under the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and ready to learn doctrine from the Word of God.

If you are an unbeliever, the issue is not naming your  sins.

The issue is faith in Christ:

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)

Dead Works

“All flesh is grass…” Do you realize that you are just a blade of grass? And you know, it is rather interesting that God should use this analogy to teach the point. Just what is grass? I have asked myself this many times as I have faced a jungle in my yard. What is this grass? Well, first, grass is something that appeals to the eye because it is green. I suppose you know that green is the easiest color on the eyes. You look at this green grass and it looks fine.

Of course, there are other views about lawns. My first preference is to pave the entire yard; then if you have to have green, just paint it! But I’ll tell you something else about grass: grass contains misery. Did you ever see beautiful grass that you had a desire to roll in? I did that once - and the grass was full of chiggers! You see, grass contains misery! You often see the dogs and other animals rolling in the grass; but just watch what they do afterwards. They scratch!

Now, grass is misery for another reason: it requires continual care. I understand a lot of people enjoy fooling around with grass and plants and flowers - and that’s fine; to each his own! But no matter how beautiful and green the grass is, do you know what always happens to grass? Someone comes along with a mower and chops it down. And then what happens? It is dumped into a garbage can, the green grass dies and turns brown and is either discarded or burned. Now, isn’t that an awful life? Beautiful for a moment, then chopped down, and it’s all over!

“All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness there of is as the flower of the field.” Grass in this passage is different from grass as we know it. As you know, there are certain things we call flowers, and all of these flowers have some kind of a stem. With most of these flowers, the stem is originally green. The stem of the flower is also grass here; and it goes on to say that it has “goodliness.”

Now we have arrived. What is this goodliness? The Hebrew word is actually “good” - good works - human good! Now, I’m out of my field, but I think I have observed enough to say that flowers are beautiful for a moment, but then they shrivel up and they’re gone. In the springtime in the mountains of Arizona, there are wild flowers of every color and description as far as you can see. The same thing is true in Texas and many other parts of the world at certain times of the year. Carpets of flowers stretch for miles and miles, and it’s beautiful! But then you come back a couple of weeks later and it is all gone.

These “flowers” refer to human good….the good deeds that you do in the energy of the flesh…the things that come from your old sin nature. Everyone performs a certain amount of human good, but it doesn’t last. Just think of all the do-gooders today. Think of all the men of the clergy who are a part of the World Council of Churches and who are trying to do good. They’re trying to get rid of all our arms; they’re trying to get Red China into the United Nations; and they think all of these things are going to help.

Think of Schweitzer’s devoting the greater part of his life and expending all of his energy in Africa - and what happened? Why, the natives are reverting to all of their old ways! All that human good has accomplished no lasting good. And yet today the world is filled with people trying to perform some type of human good.

The Source of Human Good

Why are all these good deeds simply “dead works” (Heb. 6:1) and unacceptable to God? Why does He condemn all human good in the believer (Rom. 8:8; 14:10; 1 Cor.,3:13-15), as well as in the unbeliever (Isa. 64:6; Eccl. 12:14)? No matter from whom it comes, it all emanates from the Old Sin Nature (Rom. 6:6, 7:17,18).

Let’s take a look at the old sin nature. It is called by various terminology in Scripture. In Ephesians 4:22 and Colossians 3:9, it is called the “old man,” because it originated with Adam (Rom. 5:12). It is sometimes called the “flesh,” as in Romans 7:18, Ephesians 2:3 and Galatians 5:16, because it resides in the human body. The “heart” occasionally refers to the sin nature, as in Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19, 12:34 and Mark 7:21. In the New Testament, as mostly in Romans, the word “sin” in the singular and in the noun form refers to the old sin nature.

Now, the sin nature has two areas, the area of weakness and the area of strength. It also has two trends. It may have a trend toward asceticism or a trend toward lasciviousness, although these sometimes change in an individual. From the area of weakness comes personal sins; from the area of strength, human good.

When Christ died on the cross, He bore the sins of the entire world, and therefore, He solved the sin problem. Sin is no longer an issue in salvation. At the same time, Christ rejected human good, because His work on the cross was divine good. Therefore, the issue in salvation is the work of Christ (divine good) versus human works (human good).