Recently, in the context of a discussion about American politics one of the participants made this statement, one that I have heard many times, word for word. She said “I believe most people are basically good”. And then more recently I read this statement from a Christian minister. He wrote, “…everyone is looking for God”. This is an example of the misinformed and misguided masses’ appraisal of humankind. Unfortunately for them the Bible paints a far different picture.
(I think the first step in thinking of subject matter of this magnitude is to answer this question. At the end of the endeavor who is going to be right, me or God?
And, this disclaimer: I am right sometimes but God is right all the time. I don’t know everything about the God I serve or his Word the Bible. I might be completely wrong. If you think I am, lets talk about it, I am willing to learn.)
Most of us who live under the banner “Christian” believe human life begins at conception. It seems that belief is true and that sin started there too, in every life.
THE NATURE OF MAN
When we think of the “nature” of a person we think in terms of what that person is, or does, “naturally”. God evidently holds a different view than many of his creatures.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
David was not saying here that the act of conception was sinful but that his life began sinful. (I’ll likely talk about this more in the next post.) Big people and little people are sinners, old and young, ignorant and educated, rich and poor, slender and obese, all of us are sinful and always have been.
Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus reminding them where they came from. What they once lived in every day of their former lives was trespasses and sins.
2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience
They followed the bent of the world at large, away from God. And, they followed the devil who is the “spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” Here God groups all of humanity into one category, “disobedient”. There are no exceptions given. He then continues to describe the ugly truth about humanity at its worst. There can be no mistaking what Paul wrote and what God is saying.
3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
The indictment is all inclusive. “..we all”. Our intentions were all bad. We lived “in the passions of our flesh”. We lived selfishly to please what our “natural” bodily desires are. Our intellect was corrupted so that when we carried out the desires of our minds we were off course. Our very nature was to go against God and his will. Ever heard anyone give this excuse for some wrong action? “It just seemed so natural”. And, it was natural. Those who remain in this unregenerate condition are targets for the wrath of God. His anger will burn against those who spurn his love and grace. Then he emphasizes once more saying we were like the “rest of mankind”. That means ALL of them.
Paul wrote to the Roman Christians saying things like “all have sinned” (Rom 3:23), “there is none righteous” (Rom 3:10), “we have all gone out of the way..” (Rom 3:12) The first two chapters of Romans leave no doubt that all men everywhere are unrighteous and ungodly and are not seeking after God (Rom 3:11) as some people claim.
God must come to the rescue of those who are hopelessly out of His favor and He has. Jesus came to set men right with God by His living and dying and rising again. He settled the books for every sin filled human. He took your sin and mine upon himself and paid the penalty by dying for us. Now God’s gracious offer is that for those who believe the record he has given about His Son and trust only Him will have Jesus’ righteousness in the place of their unrighteousness. The promise is that ones who are “children of wrath” will “not be appointed to wrath” once they are in Christ and He in them. It’s a deal to good to refuse! There is a reason it’s called “The Good News”.