A Few Good Men
“But in fact there are people whom God has deemed to call good because His salvation has made them good. His Word records a number of examples…” - GARBC
Much appreciate Postiff’s post for bringing some balance to the topic. I would go further though. While Jesus said there is none good but God (Matt. 19:17), Rom. 3:10 does not say “there is none good, not even one.” It says there is none “righteous.” The difference is important.
Because of common grace there are many “good” people who aren’t even regenerate, and of course, many believers who are good. (And some believers who are justified—righteous in standing—but are not even good!)
So, “good” in the sense of “justified before God” (the sense Jesus used the term in Matt. 19) is an imputed thing, on the basis of faith and Christ’s work. “Good” in the sense of good character, possessing basic virtues, decent—this happens in multiiple ways. Sanctification is one of them—and the only one with eternal consequences. But people also have good character as a result of upbringing, cultural factors, and the conscience of right and wrong God has put in every human (Rom. 2:14-15). This is common grace.
So, blessedly, there are lots and lots of “good” people all around us all the time, though the vast majority of them are not “righteous” (justified).
Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.