I’ve been hanging around some folks who think we are terrible people. They say there is no good in us at all. Therefore we need Jesus to save us. I agree with part of their statement. I believe we cannot do enough good to get to heaven on our own and so we need the blood of Christ to cover our sins. If he had not died for our sins, we’d never get to heaven. But saying that we, God’s creation, are just terrible people, goes beyond everything I’ve ever thought about God.
I thought we were made God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). I thought little children were good when they were born. Why else would Jesus say one has to be like a little child to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:3)? The King of Tyre was told by God that he was not guilty of sin until he had actually sinned (Ezekiel 28:15).The Apostle Paul told the pagan poets in Athens that we are all the “offspring of God” (Acts 17:29). I can’t believe that as his offspring, we are terrible people. Then I love the passage that speaks about the good/righteous man who has a bad kid and that bad kid has a righteous/good kid (Ezekiel 18). The point Ezekiel makes is that we won’t be punished for anyone’s sins but our own.
God promises that we won’t pay for what someone else has done. Look at it this way, if my Dad cheated on his taxes, I wouldn’t go to jail or pay a fine for what he did. God promises that won’t happen. That would be like Adam, the first man in the world, sinning. Because of his sin, we hit the evil jackpot and all of us when we are born, become terrible people. That’s sort of sounds as ridiculous as someone saying my Chicago Cubs are going to win Baseball’s World Series this year, or any year for that matter.
The Bible does say that because Adam sinned, we all have experienced death and sin entered the world (Romans 5:12). Looking further down the page at Romans 5:18-19, the Apostle Paul writes that through one man, all people everywhere were condemned. Let us say we were all sentenced to death because of Adam’s sin. It doesn’t say that we are all terrible people. Then Paul writes that because of one man, Jesus, and his act of righteousness, his dying on the cross, we are found “not guilty” so that we can have eternal life.
After looking at these verses closely, it becomes so clear. Jesus’ death didn’t bring righteousness to everyone automatically. His death upon a cross brought an opportunity for us to be found “not guilty” and to be given an eternal life. Just like with Adam; his spiritual death (sin) didn’t make everyone a terrible person. Adam’s fall gave us the opportunity to sin and have our lives, the beautiful masterpieces God originally created, covered up with muck and dirt and soot. Therefore, we need a savior like our wonderful Jesus who waits for us to submit to him and become his children. We sin, we pay. Could it be as simple as Ezekiel 18 says it is? Oh, by the way, I was reading the Bible the other day and just happened to come across Luke 23:50 which says Joseph (the man who buried Jesus’ body) was a “good and upright” man. Now did that mean he was “good and upright?” Maybe.
Remember this phrase about how God created us and our eternal need for Jesus, the prhase: “Good, not good enough.”