IS A GOOD PERSON A SAVED PERSON?
E.R. Hall, Jr.
"There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, and gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do." (Acts 10:1-6).
By every definition of the word "good", Cornelius was a good man. He was devout (religious), he feared God with all his house, he gave alms, and he prayed always. Because of these characteristics, most folks would consider Cornelius to be saved. Many people associate goodness with being the same as being saved. It is true that if we are saved we are to be a good person, but it is not true that simply because a person is good he is saved.
Cornelius was a good man but he was not saved. In Acts 11:13-14 Peter re-accounts what Cornelius said to him: "And he showed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved." As good of a man as Cornelius was, he still had to send for Peter to come and speak to him the things God required him to do (Acts 10:33-43). Though Cornelius was a good man, he was still commanded to be baptized (verse 48) like Peter commanded them in Acts 2:38 to be baptized for the remission of sins. Though Cornelius was most definitely a good person, he was lost!
There are folks today who are very religious (devout) and would give you the "shirts off their back". Yet, they need to hear ‘words whereby they shall be saved’. They are good people but lost! The gospel must be obeyed regardless of how good we are. The ones on whom the Lord will take vengeance will be those "that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 1:8). It matters not how good of a husband or wife we are, how good of a father or mother we are, how good we are to pay our debts, to visit the sick, or to help the needy. If we do not obey the gospel, we are not saved.
To obey the gospel, we must have FAITH (Hebrews 11:6) but faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Then we must REPENT (Acts 2:38). After repentance, we must CONFESS Christ to be the Son of God (Acts 8:37; Roman 10:10). Then we must be BAPTIZED for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21). We must then be taught so that we can "observe all things" that God has commanded (Matthew 28 :20). Let us be good AND saved rather than good BUT lost!