“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
No-one is Righteous
Ironically the mantra that no-one is righteous leads to more happiness. Let me explain. If happiness=reality-expectations, then having low expectations of people leads to more happiness. In our backwards society we try and boost people’s expectations of themselves and others and they are constantly disappointed. If we understand that people are corrupted and tend to failure, goodness and success come as pleasant surprises.
The question remains, then, which one is true? Are people good, evil, both or neither? Matthew 7:11 and these verses combine to give a bleak answer from scripture. All people are evil. This does not mean that they are as bad as they can possibly be, it means that they are in rebellion against God. God’s purpose is to bring goodness, flourishing, and prosperity to the world he has created. Mankind was created to be agents of God’s goodness, but we have broken the flow. We no-longer are born as conduits of goodness. We fall short. We are twisted. We do not connect to the source.
Some people miss by a little. Other people miss by a lot. Our present strategy to justify ourselves is to change the standards. We deny evil and we redefine it as good. We even do away with the categories of good and evil completely. As Nietzsche famously wrote, we have gone beyond good and evil. However, we lost something in the process. We are more disconnected, less satisfied, more miserable, less resilient. Call it frailty. Call it failure. Call it what it is: sin.
Without sin, there is no good news. Without evil, there is no gospel.
Father, before revival comes to the West we must see our condition. I pray that people would take sin seriously. No matter how beautiful the stories are that redefine us as good, and kind in our nature, we find that we are miserable because we are in denial. Bring truth. Let us be unashamed of this part of the gospel, so that people will see there is more to life than the false.
- What words are repeated in Paul’s description of man?
- From where does Paul draw his evidence that mankind is corrupted?
- How is this point essential to the gospel?
- How has today’s society changed their opinions about mankind?
- Does an expectation that mankind be good lead to happiness or disappointment?