So He brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked there was a hole in the wall. Then He said to me, “Son of man, dig into the wall”; and when I dug into the wall, there was a door. (Ezekiel 8:7, 8)
Calvary Baptist’s “Around Town Team” has amongst their local community outreach materials a tool known as the “Are you a good person test?” The participant takes a metal pointer and places it at the center of a board. They then have the option of moving the pointer to either the good side or the not good side. A problem exists however for those tested: There is a magnet at the end of the pointer, another behind the not good answer, and a repelling magnet behind the good selection. No matter how hard they try to answer in the affirmative, the result comes with a not good conclusion. Though the test taker’s reactions are varied (including some becoming quite flustered and insistent that they are good people), the team then has an open door to engage folks with biblical truth through verbal witness and related tracts.
What is the truth about our goodness? The truth is – “we ain’t good”. In fact, God’s word assures us that in our fallen state: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no not one.” (Romans 3:10-12; ref. Psalm 14:1-3) Isaiah says, “…we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (64:6) Jeremiah says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (17:9) Jesus says, “…those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:18, 19) The Apostle Paul says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” (Romans 7:18)
Now there is a gray winter day description of bleakness. Here we thought we were pretty good people. Compared to some hand-picked others, we aren’t so bad, right? Whether in the church (stain glass masquerades) or out of the church (eat, drink and be merry masquerades), humanity can dress it up to look real nice. We become slick experts in fooling one another. But are we fooling God? Every one of us has a hole in the wall. Behind that hole in the wall is us; who we are. God took Ezekiel to the temple, had the prophet dig in the wall, find a door, and said, “Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there.” (v.9) Ezekiel did so, and he saw “every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls.” (v.10) Through that hole in the wall, behind that door, Ezekiel found seventy elders of the house of Israel worshiping idols. Outwardly, before others, those seventy elders put forth a show of goodness, but inwardly they were far, far from good. Is that you? Is that me? In our flesh, where nothing good dwells, are all sorts of creepies and crawlies. In our flesh, idols line our walls. In our flesh, we are frauds.
Is that the end of the story? Are we left to be forever tethered to our flesh? No, just as gray winter bleakness gives way to the beauties of spring; God stepped into the world, lived a sinless life, died for our “hole in the wall”, and rose again. He is seated at the right hand and makes intercession for those who have received His Spirit, shed abroad in our hearts. The Holy Spirit will continually bring forth goodness in us and through us as we trust and obey His will and His leading. Therefore, brethren, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
Are you a good person?