"As it is written; There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one." (Romans 3:10-11)
Yesterday, a young man shot a number of innocent people in Tucson, Arizona, killing at least six, including a nine year old girl. Since it is generally accepted in our society that everyone is born basically "good", when someone like this commits such an obvious evil act, it is automatically assumed that this aberrant behavior must be the result of a mental problem or social disfunction. Maybe he was simply acting consistent with his sinful nature.
The Bible tells us that evil acts are really just manifestations of a sinful nature and that we are all born with this sinful nature; "There is none who does good, There is not even one." In other words, people are not basically good or righteous... They are basically bad or unrighteous-- rotten, self-centered, evil sinners who want nothing to do with God or His righteousness; "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me." (Psalm 51:5). Sin is not a human character aberration, it is consistent with the unregenerate nature that is totally opposed to God and His righteousness.
Tell someone who thinks that they are basically good, that they are really just a vile sinner and an enemy of God and you will likely be told that you are insensitive, offensive, intellectually foolish and politically incorrect. No one, especially proud religious people, want to hear that they are sinners following after their father, Satan; "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan),of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest." (Ephesians 2:1-3).
Until a person understands their true sinful nature and that, apart from faith in Christ, their condition is hopeless, they can not appreciate the salvation offered in Christ alone. A prerequisite to saving faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, is acknowledgement that you are a sinner with no redeeming value acceptable to a holy God. Unfortunately, this prerequisite truth is rarely, if ever, mentioned anymore from most Church pulpits. Any public discussion of sin is deemed to be too negative and a deterrent to Church attendance. People don't want to hear about sin from the pulpits. They don't want to be made to feel guilty, especially in Church. They want to be accepted, encouraged, motivated to try harder, appreciated for their "good" works, emotionally moved and, most importantly, entertained from the pulpit; "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths," (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Those who consider themselves to be basically good, have no need for forgiveness or a Savior. As Jesus said; "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:12-13).
Even though they don't want to hear it, we true Christians must continue to proclaim the truth of the Gospel to all who need to hear the truth, beginning with the truth about their sinful nature, their guilt before God and coming judgment. The truth that their good works will not justify them or satisfy a holy God. And finally, the marvelous truth about the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is The Great Physician who alone offers sinners complete healing and eternal life! Maranatha!