It is quite common to refer to someone as a good person, implying there are varying degrees of goodness. While there may be variants of lostness, Jesus teaches plainly about goodness in Matthew 19:17. So – it is not a matter of who is more and who is better or less – but who is covered by the grace of Christ.
Jesus said that He did not come to call perfect people but those who knew they fell spiritually short. This is exactly what Jesus was talking about in His “sermon on the mount” when He said “blessed are the poor in spirit (spiritual beggars) for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” What?
Tax collectors took money for the government and added their own price on top of what Caesar required. This is why tax-gatherers were not popular with the masses, and certainly is a huge part of Matthew’s journey to find forgiveness. See Luke 5:27; Luke 18.
We fall for the lie that we may compare ourselves to others when it comes to righteousness. Matthew knew he was hated and it humbled him. He knew he was corrupt and it drove him to hope in Jesus. This is the door into the Kingdom. Without humility of heart and soul we cannot find our way to God.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6,7
You will enjoy considering pages 13-14 in my book Kingdom: Finding your True Self. You can locate printed, electronic, and audio versions upper right on the home page. These are strait- forward and simple conversations about the Kingdom, the very thing we, our family and friends, and our neighbors need for our hearts!