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A note from Pastor Unke
Who's a jolly GOOD fellow?
“The words “it was credited to him” were written not for [Abraham] alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”   Romans 4: 23-25
A slow trickle of visitors files past the casket to “pay their respects.”  A neighbor.  A couple of older men who served with him in the Air Force 48 years ago.  A close friend of his only brother (who was not able to make it to the funeral.  His only sister refused to come.)  The man who bought his business from him.  And a handful of relatives who were not exactly broken up over his passing.  The solemn silence is only disturbed by a few whispers.  No one was willing to speak a word of eulogy—this clearly was not a good man.
Across town, the church is packed with people waiting in line.  The widow greets each visitor and soaks up their stories of love and appreciation for all that her wonderful husband had done for them.  Photo tables line the entryway, bringing back many memories of cheerful times with their buddy who had just passed away.  It is an evening of reminiscing, laughter, and warm hugs.  This was a good man.
So what makes a person “good” anyway?  Reading the comparison above, you might conclude that a person is declared good based upon how many friends he has.  You might go a step farther and recognize that he has those friends because he was friendly, generous, and faithful.  That must be it.   Do enough good things, and people will call you “good.”
But when is good  good enough?
We’ve all seen “good” people in the midst of a moment of anger, high stress, or tiredness.  On these rare occasions, the goodness can break down—maybe ever so slightly—and we see another side of them.  “It’s understandable given the circumstances,” we say.  But with such flaws, good is not completely good…not perfect.
Jesus said, “There is only One who is good.”  He was speaking about God himself.  God is the essence of “good” with a total absence of evil.  Holy.  Perfect.  Righteous.  No meltdowns.  No hiccups.  No arbitrary moments of forgetting himself.  No extenuating circumstances.  No moody fits.  Just Good.  Always.  Perfect.
Sinners like us cannot achieve that kind of goodness.  In fact we don’t even come close.  Some share a gospel (that is no gospel at all) that goes: “Hey…we’re only human.  Nobody’s perfect!”  Can you find comfort in that?  If everyone is dying of the same disease, is there comfort for the individual in knowing that the sickness will kill everyone?  There’s no good news in hearing that we’re all in this together, especially when you recognize that what we’re all in together is an eternity of anguish and torment.  It does no good to pretend the disease isn’t real.  Any goodness that we are going to claim for ourselves is going to have to be given to us, because we can’t get it on our own!  That’s where God’s GOOD NEWS about goodness comes in!
There is goodness—Godlike goodnessperfect holiness—available to sinners.  It comes through faith in the only One who is truly GOOD.  The Bible tells the entire story of this goodness or righteousness.  Clearly, ALL have sinned, fallen short of God’s goodness, and are justified freely by God’s Grace!  The goodness we claim for ourselves by faith is the same goodness that was credited to Abraham thousands of years ago—the goodness of the Messiah Savior.  Only by faith in Jesus can anyone be good.  Only through faith in Jesus can anyone expect to be qualified (good enough) to live in the holy goodness of God forever in heaven.
Recently our country heard the news of Robin Williams’ shocking death.  “He was a good man,” most said.  There’s some truth to that.  Who didn’t love Mork and Mindy?  How could you not be amazed by him in his role as the Genie in Aladdin?  Most of us have fond memories of his acting roles and some interviews he did that made us laugh.  It’s hard to imagine that good comedian so depressed and hopeless that he would choose to end his own life.  I think most of us were saddened to hear he was suffering so much!  But we need to watch out for fluffy phrases like “He’s free now”…or “He’s in a better place.”  Comfort about where a person goes after death is only found in knowing that a sinful person knew the Savior who gives HIS GOODNESS to those who believe in him.
Good people of God, please treasure the glorious garment of salvation that Jesus prepared with his perfect life and which you received when you were baptized into his Holy Name.  For our hope of being free and living in a better place, we only claim (by faith) the righteousness of Jesus.  Together with his cleansing blood it is our beauty and our glorious dress.  Arrayed in his GOODness midst flaming worlds, we will, with joy, lift up our heads to enter the mansions of heaven, and live in righteousness and purity forever! 
Now that’s what I call GOOD!          
     Living the GOOD LIFE with you,
     Pastor Unke 
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