(Good at what?)
MANY like to think that man is basically good; he has "A spark of
benevolence inside waiting to be fanned into a roaring flame of goodness."
However, the human race has shown very little to substantiate the claim
that man is basically good. Such a claim flies in the face of all the real-life evidence
we find all around us--the never-ending wars, suffering, pain, misery, heartache .
. . things we are all too familiar with.
actions. Any evil found in society originates from the very people who make it
Some prefer to think of man as
neutral; as not having a natural
bend toward good or evil. Man,
according to behaviorist B.F.
Skinner, "is a creature of
circumstance," controlled and
molded by external influences. This
argument puts the blame on
"society" for man's evil behavior.
But where does the evil in society
come from? Is not society made up
of people? Social actions are the
collective result of individual
Who would teach a child to sin?
No parent in their right mind would set out
to teach their child "bad behavior". Yet, left
to themselves that is the behavior pattern
children gravitate toward. Parents have to
spend their time "correcting" the child; they
must counteract the wrong behavior by
teaching them how to do right. If man was
"Good" by nature, then a child's natural
inclination would be to behave, thus saving
their parents a lot of headaches!
up--right? The debate rages on with most people simply weighing man's good
against his bad, shrugging their shoulders and concluding that few are truly evil,
most are better than worse, and for the most part, we're not all that bad.
However, are we really being honest with ourselves?
Notice what King Solomon, considered the wisest man that ever lived, said, as
recorded in the Bible: "All the ways of a man are clean IN HIS OWN EYES.
.." (Prov. 16:2). He also said: "Most men will proclaim every one HIS OWN
GOODNESS..." Prov. 20:6
We are quick to puff ourselves up, expounding on the "good" things we do,
while downplaying the bad: "For he FLATTERETH HIMSELF in his own
eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful." Psa. 36:2
It's not that we're "really not that bad." The truth is, we don't want to readily
admit just how bad we really are. Yet, in the end, we're only fooling ourselves
because the Bible warns that: "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: BUT
THE LORD PONDERETH THE HEARTS." Prov. 21:2
Which brings us to the HEART of the problem . . .
ONE DAY JESUS CHRIST preached to a group of religious leaders called the
Pharisees on how to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus's message required repentance
and faith on their part. Unfortunately, for those religious leaders, repentance required
an admittance of their sinful state, something the Pharisees were not about to do, due to
their self-righteous, self-justifying attitude. Notice what Jesus said to them, point blank:
"Ye are they which JUSTIFY YOURSELVES BEFORE MEN; BUT GOD
KNOWETH YOUR HEARTS: for that which is highly esteemed among men is
abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:15
The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.
The debate as to whether man is good or evil will never be resolved as long as people
keep comparing themselves with others. The best a person can do is judge one another
based on outside appearance. God sees things differently: "For the LORD seeth not as
man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, BUT THE LORD
LOOKETH ON THE HEART." 1 Sam. 16:7
We can justify our sinful actions all we want, but in the end, the determination as to
whether we are good or bad is based on what God sees when He looks at
our heart. It is our heart that exposes us as the sinners we truly are. Our hearts, that thinking and
emotional part of us we feel is hidden and secret to the world, is where our true attitude
toward others and our Creator takes place.
Jesus said of the human heart: "For from within, OUT OF THE HEART OF MEN,
PROCEED EVIL THOUGHTS, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts,
covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride,
foolishness. ALL THESE EVIL THINGS COME FROM WITHIN, and defile the
man." Mark 7:21-23
No one is immune from this heart problem. The Bible makes no exceptions when it comes
to proclaiming the state of our hearts: "The HEART IS DECEITFUL above all things,
and DESPERATELY WICKED: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9). "WHO CAN SAY,
I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" (Prov. 20:9). The answer to the
previous verse is "NO ONE can say it!" The Bible says: "As it is written, THERE IS
NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE" (Rom. 3:10). "FOR ALL HAVE SINNED,
and come short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23
My dear reader, you can enter the grand debate trying to justify whether you're good in
the eyes of men, but the bottom line is you, me, and everyone else in between are a sinner
before God. Our hearts give us away. We sin not only by choice but, worse yet, by
NATURE. And if you are still not fully convinced, then take the time to look into the
mirror God has provided for our heart examination--God's Ten Commandments, ten
"simple" commands that for the life of us we simply can't keep.
Observe the laws against lying, stealing, coveting and so on. See if you can claim to have
followed them all your life without braking at least one--and one is all it takes: "For
whosoever shall keep the whole law, and YET OFFEND IN ONE POINT, HE IS
GUILTY OF ALL." (James 2:10)
Take the self-examination even further. Look deeper into your heart, for Christ said
even the THOUGHT of sinning is enough to convict you: "But I say unto you, That
whosoever LOOKETH on a woman to LUST after her HATH COMMITTED
ADULTERY WITH HER ALREADY IN HIS HEART." Mat. 5:28
But there's hope for the confessed sinner . . .
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, WHILE WE WERE YET
SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US. Much more then, being now JUSTIFIED BY
HIS BLOOD, WE SHALL BE SAVED FROM WRATH THROUGH HIM." (Rom.
Christ died and shed His blood on the cross in order to save lost, helpless, hell-
deserving sinners such as you and me. And lest you think there is some other way to
avoid God's wrath, consider the fact that the only payment God will accept for the sin
that comes so natural to us is Christ's death and shed blood.
That means neither baptism, good deeds, self-righteousness, church membership nor
anything other than Christ's death and shed blood can save us. "For by grace are ye
saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: NOT OF
WORKS, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). "Not by works of righteousness
which we have done, but according to his mercy HE SAVED US, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Titus 3:5
Friend, as long as this world keeps trying to justify its sin, none of its major problems
will be solved, because the heart of the problem is a problem of the heart. It is man's sinful
ways that produce all the wars, hatred, pain, heartache and misery (James 4:1). It's all a
result of man's sin. And as long as the sinful heart is not addressed as the heart of the
problem, none of those problems will ever be solved.
But YOU, personally can still get the victory over the problems sin has caused in your life
if you REPENT of your sin, admit that you are a sinner, and submit to God, putting your
COMPLETE FAITH and trust in Jesus Christ as your ONE AND ONLY Saviour:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [i.e. REPENT],
and shalt believe in thine heart [i.e. TRUST] that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the
name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED." Rom. 10:9-13
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