“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. Their throat is an open grave with their tongues they keep deceiving. The poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”——-Romans 3:10-18
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, no even one.”——-Psalm 14:1-3
When we look around, it isn’t difficult to see that the world is getting further and further from the Lord. What many don’t recognize, including some professing Christians, is that their beliefs and lifestyles are truly contradictory to God and His Word. None of us are righteous. None of us seek after God. And our sin truly separates us from God and is deserving of eternal punishment.
Without telling people the “bad news”, none of us can ever truly understand the Good News.
In attempts to “get people saved”, many have erred by only attempting to share the Good News. It is true, we all like to hear positive and hopeful things. But when it comes to the Gospel, if we don’t share about our real condition of each of us being evil, sinful, and only seek to go our own way, then we have shared an incomplete “gospel” at best.
Here in the United States, we are currently going through an election process to vote for a new president this November. What is astounding is that you never hear any of the candidates talk about the real root of our problems, sin. Most of the time they talk about their ideas about trying to fix the consequences of our choices, but overlook the glaring issue of immorality and our sinful condition. No wonder why our country and the world is quickly heading for destruction.
The same also goes for believers and churches that don’t proclaim each individual’s depravity. Instead of getting to the root of sin, there continue to be sermons that focus on dealing with the fall out of sin, but not with sin itself. Having marriage problems?? Go on a couples retreat. Having addiction issues?? Go through this “recovery” class. In debt?? Take this course that will help set you on a path to financial security. And so on and so on.
So-called believers and churches should be ashamed. Instead of exposing people to their desperate sinful condition, many have given people a prescription that does nothing to cure the disease. Dealing with the surface issues in our lives may help for a brief moment, but without addressing the underlying issue of not having Jesus as the object of our faith, leads only to destruction.
A Gospel that is devoid of declaring our sin and only shares the reward of eternal life is no Gospel at all.
I often think about those that hear the Good News, but never really grapple with their sin. They hear that they can “go to heaven” if they just say they believe in Jesus. Belief is never really defined, and Jesus dying on the cross for their sins simply means, for our “mistakes”. When faith in Jesus is presented according in these terms, who doesn’t want to say they “believe” in Jesus?? But without truly wrestling with and repenting of our sin before a Holy God, we can never get to the place of real faith.
Romans 3:10-18, that is based on Psalm 14 and a few other places in Scripture, makes it clear that there are “none righteous”. People often try to justify themselves or others by saying that they are “pretty good”. They recognize that they might have done some things wrong, but many say that they live without regrets. People think that since they are “pretty good”, that they will ultimately go to heaven. What is severely mistaken is that they are basing their “getting to go to heaven” upon not being “so bad”. This comparing ourselves to others may make us feel good, but completely fails to understand that each of us are under sin and we can never do enough good to outweigh all the bad.
The problems we encounter today are a result of living in a fallen world that all began with Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God in the book of Genesis. We each are affected by this sin and continue to carry it out in like manner in our own lives. Our default position is to think our way is best, but in reality we make ourselves out to be God; thinking we can define right and wrong, sin and righteousness, on our terms. In doing so, the greatest of sins is not submitting to and glorifying the One and Only True God who created the heavens and the earth and all that they contain. But who is talking about this?? Maybe some here and there, but definitely not enough.
Left in our sinful condition, we only await God’s judgement and eternal punishment in Hell that each of us deserve. That is bad news if you ask me. The Good News is that when sin entered the world, God through His wisdom, grace, mercy, and compassion, set about a redemption plan that started with the Old Testament sacrificial covenant. The punishment for rebellion and sin was death. The reminder of this was when a person would bring their animal sacrifices to the Tabernacle/Temple to confess, repent, and offer up their sacrifice to God as a means of receiving forgiveness. The animal sacrifices could never truly atone for sin, but were the continual reminder of the need of God’s forgiveness for sin.
Through Jesus coming to earth, being both fully God and fully man, ultimately fulfilled the sacrifices, once and for all, by living a sinless life and dying on the cross for our sins and in our place. It is through Jesus’ shed blood and His resurrection that offers the opportunity of forgiveness through faith in Him. And this faith isn’t merely an acknowledgement, but a complete surrender of our lives to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11) and to continue live in obedience to God. The reward is our hope of living with the Lord for all eternity in His presence. That is definitely Good News!!
There are no quick fixes when it comes to the Gospel. People, politicians, and churches can continue to chase the effects of sin with their ideas and solutions, but until we each confront our sinful depravity, people will continue to be morally bankrupt and separated from God. There is great hope, but it requires us to each humbly examine ourselves, repent, and place our faith Jesus and seek to live in obedience to Him.