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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Only the Father is absolutely good (Mark 10:18)?

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Mark 10:17-18

(17) As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

(18) And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone." (NASB)


Some who deny the Lord Jesus is God will cite these passages in thinking that the Lord Jesus is denying being "good" in comparison with the absolute goodness[*1] of God the Father.

But one important thing from the start needs to be made clear: Asking is not necessarily denying. In my travels, some people, particularly children, assume I am an American. When I am told that I am, I may ask why they think so, but again, I am not denying it. Those who assume[*2] the Lord Jesus is denying He is good fail to (refuse to?) understand this approach in conversation.


Furthermore, in relation to "only" God being absolutely good, He "only" is absolutely holy (Revelation 15:4). Because of His absolute holiness that He possesses, "only" He is to be worshiped.

Revelation 15:4

Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. (KJV - the underlined is mine)

Yet the Bible teaches that it is proper to worship the Lord Jesus thereby demonstrating His absolute holiness/goodness as God.


That the Lord Jesus is absolutely holy is clearly seen also clearly in 1 Peter 3:15. His name is to be sanctified as Lord within our hearts.

1 Peter 3:15

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to answer everyone who asks you for the reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. (My translation - the underlined is mine)

The Greek word for "sanctified" is hagiazō and it is the same word used for the worship of the Father in Matthew 6:9 in that we are to "hallow" His name.

Matthew 6:9

Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (NASB - the underlined is mine)

1. Peter H. Davids: Christ is to be sanctified as Lord. This does not mean to make Christ more holy, but to treat him as holy, to set him apart above all human authority. This sense is clearly seen in the Lord's Prayer, "Hallowed be thy name." To 'hallow' the name means not only to reverence and honor God, but also to glorify him by obedience to his commands, and thus prepare the coming of the Kingdom." Peter, then, asserts that Jesus is to be honored, reverenced, and obeyed as Lord. This quotation also reveals more about Peter's Christology, for he takes a passage definitely speaking about God in the OT and refers it to Christ, making clear by his addition that that is the sense in which he is taking "Lord." This way of expressing his high Christology is typical for Peter (1 Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, page 131).

2. Kenneth Wuest: Peter was exhorting these Jews to set apart their Messiah, the Lord Jesus as Jehovah, Very God, in their hearts, giving first place to Him in obedience of life (Word Studies in the Greek Testament: 1 Peter, Volume 2, page 88)

3. G. W. Blenkin: Christians are to treat the indwelling presence of Christ, as Lord and Master in their hearts, as a kind of sacred shrine which must never be surrendered or profaned by cowardly fears or inconsistent conduct...In Isaiah the words are merely “Sanctify Jehovah.” The constant transference to Christ of language referring to Jehovah in the O.T. is one indication of the full Divinity ascribed to Christ by N.T. writers. (1 Peter, Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges)



The goodness and holiness of the Father and the Lord Jesus are in equality.




[*1] The Greek word for "Good" in Mark 10:17 and for "good" in Mark 10:18 is agathos. It can be properly applied to people (Matthew 5:45; Luke 6:45; 23:50; Acts 11:24; Titus 2:5). However, only God is good in the absolute sense.


[*2] The Jehovah's Witnesses are one such group who make this critical error.

a. The Watchtower: Yet, he would not accept “Good” as a title when he was called “Good Teacher.”(Mark 10:17, 18) (Will You "Keep Walking by Spirit"?, July 15, 2007)


b. Reasoning from the Scriptures: Interestingly, Jesus rebuked a man who addressed him with the title “Good Teacher,” because Jesus recognized not himself but his Father to be the standard of goodness. (Mark 10:17, 18) (Jesus Christ)


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