Are Human Beings Good or Bad?
Perhaps you have heard it asked, "Is man good or bad?” Many might say, "Deep down everyone is good." It may seem wrong to think that people are born bad. However, it isn't simply that man is born bad, but every person is born sinful and separated from God. This human condition is called "total depravity" because our whole being is affected by it. Sin is not just something we do; it is something that we are.
This sinful human nature is a result of the Fall (Genesis 3). The New Testament says, "Therefore just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned" (Romans 5:12). Because one man (Adam) sinned, the many (us) have been born into sin. It is the condition of our hearts from the beginning. We are sinful by nature.
So how does this reality change the way that we think and live?
How We View God's Love
What does this say about the love that God has for us? Romans 5:8 says, "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." This is an incredible love. It is not love that we deserve. God loved us when we were most unlovable. This is why the grace of God is so amazing. Christ died the death we deserve, even though we were enemies of God because of our sin. There was nothing we could do to fix ourselves or make ourselves better. Only through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross can we be set free from our sinful condition (Romans 8:2). God's love for us is our only hope.
We Seek to Save the Lost
There are no "good people" or "bad people." There are only people who have a relationship with Jesus and those that don't. Everyone, us and everyone we know, was born sinful (Psalm 51:5), and without God's intervention, we continue in our sin day after day. Apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ, we would still be enemies of God, lost in our sin. The good news is that Jesus made a way for everyone to be reconciled to God and freed from sin.
This should create a sense of urgency in us for the people we know that don't have a relationship with Jesus. He has made us his ambassadors to plead with others to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). God has called us to tell others about His love--the love He expressed through Jesus!
Paul writes, "For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17). Allow the reality of our sinful nature to stir up amazement for the love God has for sinners and an urgency for your lost friends whom God has called you to reach out! We are born into sin, but Jesus has made a way for us to be free and to be in relationship with God! That is GOOD NEWS!