Do you like good natured people? I highly doubt there are any negative answers to that inquiry. Who doesn’t enjoy the company of someone with a consistently easygoing and cheerful disposition? During my work years spending a shift with such a person made a night and day difference in comparison to sharing it with an irritable curmudgeon.
Perhaps knowing enough good-natured people contributed to the results of last October’s Lifeway Research and Ligonier Ministries survey. When asked if humans by nature are good, 67% of Americans said yes. If you find that a bit troubling, how about these three numbers: 79% of Catholics, 76% of mainline Protestants, and 51% of evangelicals agreed that mankind is inherently good. Even allowing for confusion and some misunderstanding of the question those results are alarming.
The Bible tells us that we enter this world with an Adamic nature. We are born in the image of the man of dust. (1 Cor 15:45-49) Nothing good dwells in our flesh. We are by nature children of wrath. (Eph 2:3) Our inherent nature is fallen, depraved, corrupt, rebellious and separated from our Creator. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23) Jeremiah declares, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (17:9) We are degenerates and in desperate need of being regenerated.
If indeed our inherent nature is good there is no need for redemption, regeneration or reconciliation with God. Throw the Bible, the Nazarene, the Cross, the Blood and such foolishness on the scrap heap. Toss propitiation, the atonement, and the absolute need to be born again on there as well. Strike a match!
Our secular and liberal friends, neighbors, family members, and fellow citizens would certainly welcome that bonfire! Their yes answer to the inherent goodness of mankind and a dismissive wave of the hand concerning our sin nature is quite understandable. It is foundational and consistent with their beliefs and resultant lifestyle choices. But the eight out of ten Catholics and over six out of ten Protestants who agree, what does one say to that? One can only say we have a huge problem, and the problem appears to be us.
The Bible tells us, “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Rom 5:12) We then learn that while one man’s disobedience brought death to all, “so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (v.19) The fact is our inherent nature is only fit for hell. Jesus Christ is the only One, who can make us fit for heaven. Shouldn’t all those professing Christians in that survey know this? Would they believe it if they did?