One debate that seems to confront us all at some stage is this: Is mankind basically good or basically evil? Sad to say, the pendulum seems to swing in the direction that people are basically good. Compared to the wickedness of some of the kings we read of in the Scriptures or in modern times, compared to Adolf Hitler, we appear as saints. But if we are to lift our eyes to the Holy character of God himself – we realize that what appears to be ‘good’ on an earthly level, falls short of God’s perfect standard. Mankind, since the fall of Adam in Genesis, has been basically evil (Romans 5:12) This doctrine is called ‘total depravity’ and is best summarized as man’s absolute inability do anything to merit favour with God. This truth is not something we talk of often as it seems to hit a bit of a nerve within us. “Me? I am a good person…” some may say. But Scripture says otherwise. Genesis 6:5 says, “Yahweh saw that the evil of humankind was great upon the earth, and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was always only evil.” This verse states that God saw wickedness right in the very depths of man’s heart. The ‘heart’ here is referring to the inner man and all the aspects of his personality; the fact that it has only evil residing in it demonstrates sin is prevalent there (Jer. 17:9). It extends to man’s entire being, to all aspects of man’s nature (total) and it’s because of sin’s corruption (depravity). This doesn’t mean that man cannot do good, Christ himself says people are able to do good (Luke 6:33), but only in a worldly sense (e.g. being charitable, helpful, kind-hearted), he cannot do any good in a spiritual sense. Man is born in sin, dead in sin and a slave to sin, in and of himself, he is unable to seek after God. This paint’s a pretty grim picture for us as humans doesn’t it? You can see why the Apostle Paul says in Romans ‘Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?’ But praise the Lord, Paul is able to continue on ‘Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ If we are able to understand how lost we are, it only heightens our appreciation, and increases our worship for the fact that God has chosen us from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). Romans 5:6 says, “For while we were still helpless, yet at the proper time Christ died for the ungodly”. Praise the Lord for His unconditional love shown towards us through Christ! May our worship and thankfulness only increase this morning!
Contributed by Alex Townsend