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Are people born good?

Do you believe you're a “good” person? Do you think there's anyone who is truly "good"? How does God define "goodness"? Many believe people are inherently “good,” but the truth is that people are inherently inclined toward disobedience. Just take a look at any baby or toddler. Did someone have to teach them to be defiant or to go against their parents' boundaries and rules? Nope. They can figure that out all on their own. But why is this?

People are not inherently "good."

“The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” —Psalm 14:2-3

The Bible tells us that we are not born good. From the moment of conception, we are sinners with a sinful nature (Psalm 51:5). We inherited this sinful nature from Adam as "sin came into the world through one man" (Romans 5:12). Sadly, this means we don't have an inherently “good" heart either. We all have sinful, corrupted, evil hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

We're all in this together, friends. We are literally dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1). And due to our sin, we deserve God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:3). There’s no denying it. There’s no running away from the truth. But there's hope to come, I promise. Keep reading...

Defining "Goodness"

Goodness is a selfless, sinless state. According to Jesus, true "goodness" is something only God can be and give. In Luke 18:19, Jesus says, “No one is good—except God alone." We only experience goodness because of God and what He does in the world, in our lives, and through the lives of others (Psalm 31:19; James 1:7). We can only DO good because of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

In the beginning, God did create humans to be "good"—completely free from sin (Genesis 1:31). God had created the perfect environment for Adam and Eve. No pain. No sickness. No death. They were created perfect: innocent yet with complete free will. And with this free will, they willingly chose to rebel against the one rule God set in place. They could not blame stress, pain, or agony as reasons why they sinned and disobeyed God. Their world was perfect, and they still chose disobedience when given the chance (Genesis 3).

After sinning against Him, God could not allow Adam and Eve to live forever in Eden—not with their evil natures (Genesis 3:22). Think about it: to live forever with a sinful nature would be a cruel fate. So God had mercy and clothed them, then sent Adam and Eve out of their perfect paradise (Genesis 3:21-24).

And the story continues, because just like a child inherits characteristics and features of their ancestors, we have inherited our sinful nature from Adam. We have all willingly chosen to sin against God (Romans 3:23). It's like we have two things going against us: one is our inherited sinful nature, and the other is our active participation in sinful choices. Death came into being because of sin (1 Corinthians 15:22), and we are all destined for death. What happens after death is up to another decision we can make...

The Good News of Hope

If the story ended here, knowing that we are all naturally inclined to sin against God, we would all be condemned to spend eternity in hell because of our sinful nature. But the good news is that God has provided a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and restore a good relationship with Him. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment we deserve for our sins against God (John 3:16-18).

Jesus is God in the flesh (Colossians 2:9), and His death on the cross provided satisfaction for God’s wrath. Because of Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf, we can choose to be reunited with God. How? By believing that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and came back to life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Is it really that easy? The apostle Paul says it is: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved..." (Acts 16:31).

God never intended for us to become sinners, and He certainly never wanted us to die without Him (2 Peter 3:9). Adam and Eve's sin was no surprise, and God had a plan. He loves us with an unconditional love that can never be shaken (Romans 8:31-39). When we place our faith in Jesus, we receive forgiveness for our sins, restore our relationship with God, and the Holy Spirit comes to help us. Best of all, we have the promise of eternal life with God in Heaven—forever in a perfect place, just as God intended from the beginning.

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TL;DR

People are not inherently "good” (Psalm 14:2-3). The Bible tells us that we inherited our sinful nature through the actions of Adam and Eve, all the way back in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12). We all willingly choose to sin against God by our own free will (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). Because of our sin, we're separated from God and destined for hell. But the good news is that God sent Jesus to pay the penalty we owe God for our sins (John 3:16-18). Because of Jesus' sacrifice on your behalf, you can choose to be reunited with God by believing that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and came back to life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

By: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

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