The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
One of Satan’s most effective lies is that although no one is perfect, people are basically good. He would have us believe that children are born with a good heart and that any deviant social or cultural behavior is abnormal, temporal and almost always correctable. Since people are basically good, sin is a relative concept and God is therefore being unfair in His judgment and penalty for sin. After all, since people are basically good, everyone, even the seemingly most evil people, must have some redeeming, intrinsic value.
But are people basically good? Are we born with a good heart? The word "good" is originally derived from the word "God" or "godly". So are we then born with a God-like, godly or even divine nature and a natural desire to be holy, morally excellent, virtuous, righteous and pious? The answer, of course, is no! The word of God says that we are not basically good, rather we are born with a sin nature; Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5). As it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God. (Romans 3:10, 11)
This fundamental misconception that people are born with a good and pure heart and are therefore basically good is the platform for all kinds of satanic lies and false doctrines. If people are basically good, then there is no need for repentance, forgiveness of sin or redemption. Christ's death on the cross for sinners was unnecessary because we are really not "dead in our trespasses and sins". According to this false doctrine, anyone who sins, only just needs to be forgiven by others, revived and restored back to their basically good (godly) nature.
The lie that people are basically good is taught in most homes, schools and even in some churches. There are thousands of “motivational speakers” and “self-help” books written each year espousing the virtues of self-esteem. Children grow up believing that most problems and deviant behavior are just the result of “low self-esteem”. People do bad things simply because they have “low self-esteem and don’t understand that they are really basically good. Parents, teachers and other members of society try to enhance children’s self-esteem teaching them to love themselves more. In the name of self-love and self-esteem, everyone wins the competitive games, the victory metals, trophies, honors and accolades. There must be no “losers” who might then consequently suffer from further “low self-esteem” issues and certainly no one must be labeled as an incorrigible sinner because we are all basically good.
Most people have bought into this big lie of Satan but God is not, of course, deceived; I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.(Jeremiah 17:10). We are born with a sin nature and everyone knows that even children manifest their sin nature very early in life. Children don't need to learn to be selfish... It comes naturally!
David recognized his innate sin nature and cried out to God; "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalms 50:10). Unfortunately, many even so called Christians believe that they are born basically good and therefore reject or treat lightly the true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The prerequisite of the gospel is the understanding that we are conceived in sin, that we have an unclean heart and are separated from God because of our sin. The penalty for sin is eternal death in hell. But through repentance and faith alone in the finished work of Christ on the cross, we can have forgiveness of sin, a new heart, a new godly nature in Him and eternal life in heaven.
For those who wisely come to understand that they are not basically good, but rightfully judged as sinners before a holy and righteous God, Satan offers another big lie—“Sinners can redeem themselves”. We will deal with this big lie next time. Maranatha!