After driving my father-in-law’s jeep, a gentleman in the parking lot spotted the tire cover logo, “Life is Good.” His response was that “life is good, but the good life is better.”
What is the good life? Well, there is a real difference between how the secularist and the Christian conceive of the good life.
A commercial comes over the airwaves, “…the Newman’s Own Foundation, using the power of giving to help transform lives and nourish the common good.” In a sense this is the driving force behind secular philanthropy: the common good, happiness, or the good life. The common good is the philosophy of Aristotle; the Christian prefers love, the doctrine of justification and sanctification. Secular welfare and Christian charity stand juxtaposed.
Aristotle and the modern secularist share a common bond of desiring an ideal good life, that is, what brings joy, peace, and of course the absence of suffering. The non-religious and spiritualists assess their altruistic actions through the lens of karma, positive energy, and whatever makes them sleep at night. Have you found your Zen (insert eye roll)?
The Christian ethic here is quite different from the world. We see our end in Christ and through faith act in love toward those in need. The good life is not self-serving but self-giving, even willing to suffer. Altruism for the Christian is done out of love, that love which the world does not know, a love that sacrifices oneself that another might live. This is who Jesus is, this is what Jesus does. He gives us a good life from his death, a life of repentance and faith.
To live a good life in the world today means running from death. Those not of the world, Christians, look forward to life after death. The idiom of “the good life” is idiocy because it puts all on this life and says nothing about eternity. However, life in Christ is always good no matter how bad it gets. You see, life can be good but the forgiven life is better.