Wouldn’t it be better to talk about all the goodness in mankind rather than be negative?
To understand the answer to this question, we have to consider what is the point of Christianity?
When we understand that, then we will know why Christianity talks about sin so much and does not base its message on “the goodness in mankind.”
We will also understand where the “goodness in mankind” gets us …
And we will see that this message is not negative; but the most powerful, liberating and positive message the world has ever heard. And it affects you, and me.
The limitations of human goodness
What is human goodness really? There are a lot of nice people who do a lot of good. There are a lot of brave people who do courageous things for the sake of others. There are heroes who sacrifice themselves for the greater good. And yet …
Even “good” people have their limits. For all the kind, unselfish or brave actions they are known for, there will be a time when they think selfish thoughts, become irritated in a traffic jam, sigh over the actions of others, snap at their partner.
I have a challenge for you: try being, saying or thinking completely, totally, good actions, words or thoughts for one whole day. Not one word, thought or action from you that is tainted with selfishness, laziness, jealousy, lust, irritation, anger, deceit — sins that we all have inherited in our human nature. No deviations and no exceptions. One selfish, smug or irritated thought and you’ve failed.
You see, we cannot be truly good by nature. Even our best efforts are contaminated by things like wanting recognition for what we have done.
Whenever sin is referred to nowadays it really sounds like an old-fashioned, outdated concept and the world has moved on. Yet in this modern world people still call evil, evil — as in murderers, dictators, pedophiles and terrorists. We think evil is something other people, other governments, other countries do on a big scale. But this awful, demonstrable evil that we can recognize develops from sin. And sin, whether we like it or not, whether we admit it or not, is something that is inside every single human being. Even the “good” ones.
Jesus Himself needed help not to sin
Jesus, being born as a man, had a human nature like ours which expresses itself through sin; therefore He had to be “anointed with the Holy Spirit and power” (Acts 10:38), and needed to implore for help from God “with vehement cries and tears” (Hebrews 5:7) when He met His own flesh, even while doing good. His struggle was that none of His works would be tainted in any way by the sin in His flesh.
Therefore, unlike the “human” good deeds that we think up when we want to bless people, the good that Jesus did was anointed by God.
To overcome sin on Earth like Jesus did — absolutely attainable
The point of Christianity is to become like Christ, He who “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” (1 Peter 2:22) Our ultimate calling is no less than to partake of divine nature! (2 Peter 1:4) And this is important to understand: we do not only receive divine nature when we leave the body and get to heaven. By following Jesus, we overcome the sin that is inherent in our nature bit by bit, just like He did. It is replaced by the virtues, divine nature, and this takes place while we are still alive on earth! If what you read in the New Testament isn’t how you experience Christianity, or isn’t what you are aiming for, then – what is the point?
And that is the whole point: human goodness does not lead to divine nature.
Even when we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and received forgiveness for our sins, we still retain our human nature and this is what we must be cleansed from. And because Jesus took up His cross daily and denied Himself to rid Himself of the sin in His human nature, we must do the same: and if you do not believe that is true, read Galatians 2:20, Galatians 5:24 and Hebrews 12:4.
It is entirely possible for us to become like Christ. When we really understand this, then talking about sin in order that we can recognize it and put it to death becomes the most positive and liberating thing we can ever do. Then we will receive power to do God’s will and not our own. Power to be quiet, and power to speak up. Power to give, and power to love. Power to encourage and power to rebuke.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18.