Can we be good without God? Are people generally good by nature?
There are some people who are of the school of thought that mankind is good by nature. They believe that man does not need God in order to be good.
Atheists for example, would go to the extent to claim that theism is the reason why certain people are not good and they blame religion as the source of some of problems within the world. Therefore atheists are of the inclination that the world would be a better place if there was no God or no religion.
Are these kind of perceptions true? Can such perceptions be proved?
An experiment was once done by some teachers at a certain kindergarten. The experiment was to test whether certain children would obey their instructions. In the experiment, the teachers firmly instructed each child not to spit into the water fountain that was in the middle of the kindergarten premises.
After instructing each child, the teachers then secretly observed the kids during the day to see if any of the children would disobey their instructions.
Sure enough, within the hour some of the kids who would pass by the fountain would first look around to see if anyone was watching them before curiously spitting into the water fountain and effectively disobeying their teachers’ instructions.
What is Sin?
The Bible teaches us in Romans 3:10 that “there is none righteous, no, not one”.
Romans 3:23 further tells us that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
Nobody is naturally or morally or spiritually good by nature.
If we think about it – we do not have to teach a child to lie. We do not have to teach a child to steal. We do not have to teach a child to be disobey. A child can lie, steal or disobey without being taught.
However, we do have to teach a child good manners; we have to teach a child that stealing is wrong; we have to teach a child that lying is wrong. This fact proves that every person is born with what the Bible calls sin. Therefore man is not inherently good by nature. Every human has inherited sin or the sin nature from Adam (Romans 5:12).
Therefore man is not inherently good by nature.
What is sin? Sin is the violation or disobedience of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Sin is the opposite of God’s nature. All unrighteousness from God’s perspective is sin. Sin is missing God’s mark.
Are we sinners by nature? Yes we are sinners. We are sinners not because we sin, but we are sinners because man is inherently born with the ability to sin.
What is the Condition of Man’s Heart?
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man – Matthew 15:19-20 NKJV
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV
Without God man cannot be good. Without God, the heart of man can produce wickedness and sinful lifestyles. Without God, the heart of man cannot change. Without God, the Bible says Isaiah 64:6 that “our righteousness are like filthy rags”.
Therefore any personal effort to be good without God are meaningless in the eyes of God.
Man cannot change himself because within him is the sin nature and this nature controls him.
The sin nature is the part of a person’s nature that does not think or function with God.
The New Testament Greek word is sarx. Kenneth Wuest deﬁnes sarx as “the totally depraved nature as dominating the unsaved individual.” The unbeliever has only this nature in him.
How Should We Judge Righteousness / Goodness?
Morally, we can all find somebody that’s “worse” than us. We may for instance think that a murderer is worse than a thief; or that committing adultery is worse than watching pornography.
However, God will not judge us according to how we stand against the morality or standards of others. God will also not judge us according to our personal perceptions of what we individually consider to be right or wrong.
God will not also judge us according to the moral laws of a society or a nation or a particular tradition.
God will judge us against the backdrop of His eternal holy, pure and perfect nature. God’s standard of goodness is higher than that of man.
God says in Isaiah 55:8,9 NKJV – For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
How Can We Be Righteous?
For man to be righteous before a holy God, we must accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
Without Jesus Christ we cannot be righteous because only Christ can make us righteous before God because of the finished work He completed on the cross.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV says For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Therefore it is only through Christ that we can become the righteousness of God.
God imputed our sin to Jesus Christ as if He were a sinner, though He was not. Christ paid the debt of sin that we could not pay by dying for the sins of the entire world (John 3:16). In exchange, God imputed the righteousness of Christ to Christian believers.
Romans 5:15-19 NKJV says: But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
So – can we be good without God? No we can’t. We need God.
ONLY when we become born again and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord & Saviour can we then be made righteous (John 1:12) and become part of the eternal family of God. In Christ we are treated as sons & daughters bound for Heaven and not sinners bound for hell (1 John 5:12,13).
ONLY through Christ Jesus can we become a new creation and receive a new heart that desire to conform to the image of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).
Today, if you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord & Saviour and if you want Jesus Christ to change your life – simply believe and trust in Jesus Christ and allow Him to take Lordship over your life.
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
I repent of all of my sins and I ask You to cleanse me Jesus.
Thank You for forgiving my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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