What is Goodness?
Christian faith is not only believing in the God of the Bible, but also believing that He is good and trusting on faith that He always does what is righteous, just and true. This is God's pure and perfect nature and He cannot go against it. None of us will be able to stand on that final day and accuse God of any wrong doing. We get some insights on this in the Bible. Even though Job did not have our New Testament understanding of an eternal reward after we finish this life, he kept his faith in God's righteousness even though it seemed that he was suffering unjustly for no obvious reason. Also, when Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus, note that the rich man was in torment but he never complained of any injustice because he knew his punishment was justly deserved. He had eternal regret and wanted to help his brothers who were still alive to warn them of the results of living for oneself so they could turn to God and avoid his fate, but he understood why he was in agony. On that final day, when you see all the reasons God allowed everything that has happened since the beginning of time and understand all the ramifications of why Jesus came and suffered and died, then you will fully understand why eternal punishment is God's only option for justice for everyone who turned away from the truth and refused His invitation for mercy through the sacrifice that was paid by His one and only Son, Jesus.
One of the great deceptions of our culture is that we can be good without God. As Christians, we are instructed to do good works as representatives of Jesus love (in His name). It is in response to the free gift of salvation that we could never earn. We are to be His hands and His feet as we are His ambassadors. The purpose of doing good is to point people to Jesus, not to try and solve all of their earthly problems. Many Christians in America consider the USA as a "Christian nation" and while it is true that for most of our 200+ year history the majority of the citizens would self identify as Christian, our founding fathers specifically avoided the term "Christian", using a generic "belief in God" instead. Our laws have given us the opportunity to enjoy the freedom to pursue our own spiritual path without government interference or persecution. This freedom is unprecedented in the history of Christendom where persecution of Bible believers has been the norm. The unfortunate consequence is it has produced a society that now takes these privileges for granted and has put their faith in the system of government. This leads to empowering the government to create laws and programs to do the "Christian" works that are assigned to the Church. The good works are then attributed to the government and not the Church. This also gives rise to a "rights" mentality which tries to insulate the consequences of peoples actions which in effect reduces God's ability to teach them and help them through tough times. Instead of people turning to the Church or to God they are encouraged to turn to the government to fix all their problems.
From an eternal viewpoint, we cannot actually know what ultimate good is unless we can also know what ALL the future repercussions of our action are. God is the only one who knows each of the future ramifications to know what is truly good. This is why we must do our good through God who knows the end from the beginning. Seeing the future and knowing all things puts the God of the Bible in a unique position and He wants us to turn to Him and then do the good in His name. Organizations that are doing good in the name of humanity, a government or a non-Christian religion (without a Bible basis) can be doing more harm than good as they preach "goodness without Jesus" by their actions. However, if the people they "help" end up in Hell, then are they actually doing more harm than good? Is "good for goodness sake", truly "good"? No, it is a deception that makes us feel better about ourselves. Doing "good" can ultimately be very bad if you are representing anti-Biblical organizations. If you grasp what true atheism stands for, then doing "good" that has no personal benefit would be intellectually dishonest as it goes against their core belief in the survival of the fittest.
The Bible is the spiritual manual for the human race. God has faithfully preserved it to contain all the all the spiritual truths that we need to find and follow God. Many people died to preserve it. When we read the Old Testament law, we get an understanding of right and wrong and how true and righteous God is. Israel was supposed to be a reflection of God to the rest of the world and they made a covenant with God to uphold His laws. This is why God judged them so harshly when they disobeyed because they were misrepresenting Him to the rest of the world. When we look at the Ten Commandments, we see the basis for fair and righteous governance that has become the backbone for civilized Law. It is easy to get the idea that God wants us to follow the laws and to be good. While there is some truth in this thinking and some benefits in this life, we learned from Jesus that we can never be good enough to enter into God's Holy presence and enter His kingdom on our own merit. The Old Testament law shows us how depraved we are and why we need a Savior. Look at the Pharisees and how "good" they were, at least on the outside. Yet, Jesus clearly stated that they were not righteous enough to enter Heaven. On a goodness scale, everyone but Jesus falls very short of the perfection mark and that is why Jesus allowed Himself to be sacrificed as He was the only one who led a completely good and sinless life making it possible for a new covenant based on grace. As followers of Jesus, we are commanded to do good works to give glory to God.
Jesus did not tell His followers to go into all the world and solve the hunger problem or the dirty water problem. Christ did not instruct us to change the laws of the land to provide equality. Don't misunderstand me. Helping people with these serious problems in Jesus name is honoring to our Lord and Savior but we must keep the Gospel first and foremost. Christians are to spread the Good News of redemption through repentance of sins and spiritual rebirth. We can easily be deceived by manipulating forces on what laws are actually good. The road to Hell is often paved with "good intentions". What if you were in Germany when the Nazi's came to power? Could you have been brain washed with all the propaganda and saw jobs being created along with free education and free medical services? Would that have seemed good and right to you? Would you have thought you were doing good by promoting Nazism and helping promote the cause in the name of the Fuhrer? Isaiah 53:5 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray" and Judges 17:6 states, "Everyone did what was right in their own eyes". Our conscience in our fallen nature cannot be trusted as a standard to live by. "If it feels good, do it", is a lie from the pit of Hell.
There really is only one narrow way and all religious and secular charitable activities are either promoting the Way, the Truth and the Life, or else they are denying and distracting from the only One who can actually save them. There are many claiming to know a different path. However, when you look into their history you also need to understand the deceptive spiritual warfare that the Word of God has already warned us about. The evil enemy of God is known as the "father of lies" who has appeared as an "angel of light" creating false religions deceiving those who had already walked way from the true light of Jesus. Spiritual forces are real, but not all visions and miraculous signs are from the one true God. We are instructed to "Test the spirits" to see if they are promoting Jesus as the one true and only way. If you are not helping people on the path to heaven then you are helping the enemies of God by influencing others toward the path to hell, by your "good works". Being good does generally have its rewards in this life as these are principles that come from God and help build beneficial relationships. However, if it were possible to be good enough to enter heaven on our own goodness, then Jesus suffered and died for nothing. All other religions are man's futile attempt to reach (or become) God. If you want to go to heaven and live in God's presence, you need to follow the one path He made for you through Jesus. Why would you follow anyone else?