The Only Awesome
Only God is good!
January 5th, 2019
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
Mark 10:18 (KJV)
A couple of days ago, I had to run to the store for something. My car radio is almost always tuned to Moody Radio. I caught part of a sermon in my short time in the car. I was thinking that I knew who the minister of the Gospel was that was speaking. However, this morning, when I went to track it down, I couldn’t locate the sermon or even verify who I thought had given it.
It impressed me so, that I really wanted to share it with you in a morning devotional because it made so much sense to me. It has, in fact, changed my behavior. Since many that read these devotionals may not listen to Moody Radio and even fewer may have heard the same sermon I was able to glean this bit of wisdom from, I would like to focus on just how, in yet another instance, the world has sought to cheapen the things of God.
No one is ‘good’ but God
Jesus of course ‘is God’ in the flesh, so when he said this to a man running up to him to ask a question of him that referred to Jesus as ‘Good Teacher’.
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
The man was obviously showing respect toward Jesus as he “knelt down before him” prior to asking the question of what he had to do to inherit eternal life.
The young man was the rich young fellow that had obeyed the law and done all the things that the Jewish religious hierarchy called him to do. Obviously, this man wasn’t convinced that his soul was secured for eternity, through those practices.
What Jesus was about to tell this man was something that he wasn’t prepared to deal with. He wasn’t prepared because what the man contended with was an issue of disassociated values.
The rich man had placed a value on his works, placed a value on the law, placed a value on his wealth. Here he was being a bit too presumptuous, casually placing a value on Jesus as a ‘good teacher’.
Jesus could have told him that he had spoken well, as even though no one but God was good, Jesus was God in the flesh. But Jesus saw beyond the man’s question. He recognized that the man’s real issue was keeping him from finding that which he sought.
Instead, Jesus immediately questioned the man’s value system by telling him that no one was good but God. Then in answering the question after the man had laid claim to the values that he had upheld in that pursuit, Jesus focused on the core of the man’s issue and instructed him to discard that which he improperly valued most his material wealth.
The minister giving the sermon I heard on the radio the other day wasn’t using this passage to illustrate his sermon. Not at least that I’m aware of because I perhaps only caught 15 minutes, of what was likely a 35-40 minute message. What lead me to use it here, was the fact that the words ‘There is no one is good but God’ kept echoing in my mind as I navigated to the store and back.
The point the pastor was making in his sermon was this; ‘When we attribute greatness to things that are not truly great we distort our valuation of those things which are truly valuable to us.
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.
Jesus was telling this man his values were out of whack. He was being casual with the designation of ‘good’, willing to use the term to attribute some value to things that weren’t really heartfelt even though it may have been inadvertently accurate. We just don’t get points for doing that. “Only God is good“! If only God is good then by assigning that term to something of less value, less goodness, only cheapens the term used.
The sermon I was listening to pointed out that we abuse the term ‘awesome’ constantly in our speech today. If we take the verse above and look at it in the Christian Standard Bible translation, it has it put in this way.
For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awe-inspiring God, showing no partiality and taking no bribe.
Note how awesome is now “awe-inspiring God“, and if we follow back the source of this translation of God being ‘awesome’ it underscores a fear and reverence that is only attributable to God and God alone.
Yet we had an awesome time at the party last night,
or we just would love to have that awesome new car,
or it would be awesome if you give me a call next weekend!
Our value assignment of God’s greatness is being usurped literally right under our noses because it is coming from our own mouths!
If we blow the correct designation of goodness, purity, holiness, and awesomeness on trivial things of this world, how on earth can we describe the ultimately good, ultimately pure, ultimately holy, and ultimately awesome God we serve?
We have been trained to casually toss those words around. Words that are intended to describe things that are attributed to the one who is truly that, God!
Since hearing that fragment of a sermon the other day this has remained with me and I have made every effort to stop using the term awesome to refer to anything but God and what God is doing or has done. It’s simply not right to do so anymore for me.
Everything was awesome to me, and by everything being awesome God no longer could be described as awesome because he will not share his glory with another.
I am the Lord. That is my name, and I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.
I determined that I will not usurp his glory and assign it to another person, place, or thing for neither deserves nor is given the reverence and awe that is attributable to God alone!
There are no awesome rides, awesome girls or guys, or awesome concerts. They don’t add up to the reverence and awe of God and to blow the term on them cheapens the designation assigned to God.
I can have an awesome time in God’s Word because the Word is God. I can even have an awesome time at church in worship if it truly is worship that I’m doing.
Scripture says “Be holy as I am Holy” but I can never be as Holy as he is until I put on the holiness of Christ Jesus and wrap myself in the robes of his righteousness.
That sermon had an impact on me to be sure. Was it awesome? No, I might be tempted to use the term good but then again “only God is good.“
I can say that it was awesome what God did to open my eyes to the verbal abuse I was practicing with my lips because it was God that did that.
God, He is the only awesome!
In His Grace,