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The Good News and Bad News

“The Lord works out everything for his own ends—even the wicked for a day of judgment.” Proverbs 16:4

Country music artist Luke Bryan has a song entitled “Most People are Good.” The chorus goes like this…

I believe most people are good And most mamas oughta qualify for sainthood I believe most Friday nights look better under neon or stadium lights I believe you love who you love Ain't nothing you should ever be ashamed of I believe this world ain't half As bad as it looks I believe most people are good[i]

Apparently, a majority of Americans agree with Luke. A 2020 Barna study asked over two thousand random adults if they agree or disagree with the statement “people are basically good.” Even though the response was lower than when the same survey was conducted twenty years ago, 69% still responded that they believe that most people are good.

But the Bible disagrees. We know from Romans 3:23 that “ALL fall short of the glory of God.” Even though most Americans don’t wish to acknowledge that people can be influenced and overtaken by evil, eighty-five passages in Proverbs discuss the fate of “the wicked.” The demise of evil men and women who oppose God and His people can be found throughout scripture…and throughout human history.

Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world if He bowed down because—to our dismay—they were his to give!

The book of Proverbs discusses only three types of individuals: Wise, Fools, and the Wicked. Do we really think people are good, or have we lowered the bar on evil so profoundly that only a select group of mass murderers are considered bad and the rest of us are good?

I remember giving the book “How Good is Good Enough” by Andy Stanley to a coworker. My intention, like the writer’s, was for him to recognize that none of us are good enough and must except the free gift of salvation that Jesus already paid in full. I will never forget how angry he was when he finished the book. He said to me, “I kept waiting for [the book] to tell me that as long as I hadn’t killed anyone I would go to heaven.” Even though this guy openly admitted that he had stolen a drum set from the apartment next door and was having an affair while he was engaged to another woman, he was convinced that since he hadn’t murdered anyone, he was good to go.

The irony is we have perverted the Good News; instead of recognizing that we can never be good enough, we change the standards so that we except behaviors which the Bible clearly calls evil. In the end, we reject both God’s free gift AND His warning to avoid the very choices which hurt us and cause us pain. We sabotage ourselves.

The bad news is that most of us are not good. But the good news? God already knew that and provided a solution before we knew there was a problem.

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