Modern Myths: People Are Basically Good

“As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one.’”

— Romans 3:10

Most people in America today believe that people are basically good. This belief astonishes me because it flies in the face of Biblical teaching and contradicts much of human history.

Today we hesitate to mention the word “sin.” We don’t talk about “right and wrong;” we talk about “right and stupid.” A person doesn’t admit to sinning but instead says, “I did something dumb. I acted stupid. I should have been more careful.” We no longer label violent criminals as “evil.” Instead, we say they are “victims of illness.”

But the Bible expounds on humankind’s basically evil nature. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Jesus also believed in humanity’s evilness. He said that we are all sinners; children of Satan; hypocrites; filled with evil thoughts—murder, adultery, fornication, and theft; vipers; fools; and blind. History confirms humanity’s evil nature. Historians tell us that one-third of all human beings who have lived on this planet have died at the hands of their fellow human beings.

We’re all sinners. God knows our base, evil nature. He knows that none of us could ever be good enough to have a relationship with Him. So He made a way for us to spend eternity in Heaven by placing all our sinfulness on Christ and having Him die in our place. Praise God that He hasn’t left us to our own devices but instead has forgiven us and imputed to us Christ’s righteousness. By God’s good grace, we have Christ’s basic goodness resident within us.

“The greatest saints, down through the centuries, have all
acknowledged themselves to be the greatest of sinners.”