When we choose to follow Christ and to serve him, something should be different about us beginning right then. A reversal happens. Everything in our life is turned inside out. One such thing that gets turned around in us is our sense of our own goodness. In Philippians 3, Paul, upon his encounter with Jesus, knew almost immediately that all that he had considered good, or righteous, before God was actually garbage. If Paul had never come to this understanding he would have never known Jesus as his Savior and Lord. His goodness was horrid compared to knowing Jesus as Lord. “In Christ’s presence, everything is reversed. Paul’s achievements became abysmal; his assurance became lostness, his light became darkness; his plus a minus” (Barth).
In the news today we learned that a youth minister and a Sheriff’s deputy both believed they could live their lives based in some sense upon their own goodness – their achievements, station in life, employment, professed faith, etc. Though they both were professed believers in Christ, no reversal had occurred in their lives. In their own sense of goodness they behaved horridly. As long as one holds to their own goodness, then they have broken goodness to hide behind as they live a life of their own choosing, which is always sinful. Our own goodness may become a shroud that prevents us from ever being clothed in Christ.
We know our goodness as garbage, when we forsake them so that “we may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own that comes through the law (or our own sense of goodness), but that which is through faith in Christ…” (Phi. 3:9)