So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. -Romans 7:21, New International Version, Paul said
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.– Romans 8:13, New International Version
“Since it is impossible to count on enough moral goodwill among those who possess irresponsible power to sacrifice it for the good of the whole, it must be destroyed by coercive methods and these will always run the peril of introducing new forms of injustice in place of those abolished.” -Reinhold Niebuhr, author of Moral Man & Immoral Society, theologian and political philosopher
As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.”– Romans 3:10, New International Version
Ugh. That last scripture in Romans 3:10 is sobering. Not even one is righteous.
All of the aforementioned quotes and scriptures boil down to one, crude fact: As human beings, much of what we do is driven by self-interest. Always thinking how we’re gonna get over, even if it risks another’s demise. Because we’re dependent upon various needs to preserve our physical life (ex: food, money, clothing, shelter, relationships, community, status) if left to our own devices, we may carry out unspeakable acts to secure these items should one or more be threatened. God knew this in creating us, even with the fall of Adam and Eve and mankind’s sinful nature revealed. A cunning serpent enticed the two that they could know more than God by eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. Though God had instructed them to not eat from the tree, to think God might be keeping something good from them, stirred their self-interests to be all-knowing like God.
God sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ to live and die as the Savior of mankind. We are driven to satisfy the thirsts and urges of the flesh and physical needs. Such appetites not under control have driven many to kill, steal from others, oppress others and inflict injustices upon others. Without a heart transformed by Jesus Christ, even the most naturally goodwill-intentioned people would be corrupted by others’ untamed self-interests. Seeing their rights infringed on in such scenarios, even the most altruistic person void of a relationship with Christ would say, “the heck with it,” and seek measures at all costs to preserve their interests. Peace nor justice will ever be obtained in this manner.
In short, Jesus as our Savior, protects us from ourselves. As Savior, He replaces our propensity for evil with the desire to love and serve others above ourselves. He promises that in HIM we will have peace. In HIM we will have justice. In HIM we will have life and have it to the full. In HIM will our needs be met. He atoned for the inevitable evil in which we’re capable of committing, taking on the punishment we deserved. By inviting HIM into our hearts and lives, thankfully, in HIM, we are made righteous.
Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.
Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.