I found myself greatly encouraged by this article. Often times I tried to explain away the “goodness” in people as really not “good” because only God is “good” and so God must live in the person for there to be any good being done. I had decided that everything that was done in the name of “goodness” somehow had selfish roots if it were not connecting to the Jesus within a person. And because of those selfish roots it was therefore not good. The verse of scripture that continues to keep me from fullly agreeing with Kauffmann is Paul’s Romans 7 discourse centering on 7:18 ” I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
I am still not convinced that I was completely wrong, but Kauffmann’s article put a different spin on the problem. I guess I could make the logical argument that since Jesus was present at the beginning of creation, and since the Bible says that through Jesus all things were created (John 1, and James 1), then Paul’s statement in Romans is universally inclusive and not a specific utterance in the context of being indwelt by Christ at the moment of and after reception of Him.
So, this would mean that Ghandi did good stuff, and in many ways was a better person then me, and I would not really have a problem with that. It would also mean that people can do extraordinarily good things without their bowing to the Lordship of Jesus. However, all good things that could be done, were initially meant to be done by us as was intended by our Creator. Therefore, Jesus is still the reason we do good things whether or not we are willing to recognize Him as the source of our goodness.
The converse of this line of thinking also holds true in that although I, being indwelt with Jesus, continue to do bad things both in thought and deed I am not unsaved. The good or bad that I do is not what determines my fate after death, but it is the heart, or the why I do what I do. Of course, the more my heart is transformed by Jesus the less bad I will do and the good that I do will draw people to Jesus especially if my life points to Him, but it also points to Him because He is the one who authored the good in me from the moment Adam was created. So, then, we should not condemn anyone for doing good regardless of whose name they do it in. Instead we should embrace it as being a good thing, and then reiterate that it was what Jesus intended for them to do from the beginning.
Does it make sense?