Summary: Are People Really Good at Heart? (Rom. 3:11-18)
Are People Really Good at Heart? (Rom. 3:11-18)
Illustration:[According to a recent poll] 88% of Catholics and a majority of Presbyterian and Methodist evangelizers [those who actively try to share their "faith"] believe that "if people are generally good, or do enough good things for others during their lives, they will earn a place in heaven."
National & International Religion Report, August 23, 1993
1. Have you ever heard somebody say, "I really believe people are good at heart!"
The humanistic view purports that every person has basically good intentions even though they may go occasionally go astray. So much of what we see on TV comes from the humanistic view that believes if everyone is just given enough help they will do what is right.
In contrast, Paul describes a very bleak picture of unregenerate human nature in this passage. The great apostle describes several of the aspects of the depravity of our sinful nature to show how desperately all need Christ.
No doubt Paul remembered what God told Jeremiah, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately wicked; who can understand it." (Jer. 17:9)
Paul gives us several points of evidence in how the human nature is depraved, corrupt and helplessly sick. The great apostle uses this true description of human nature to highlight everyone’s need for regeneration through Christ’s grace.
Without a clear understanding and appreciation for man’s helpless state, no one will have sufficient motivation to trust Christ for forgiveness and deliverance. Otherwise, most people will say, "Why should I repent, I’m not that bad."
Ask the Lord to help you teach others about the only solution to the sickness of sinful human nature in Christ.
2. Paul begins by teaching the Romans "None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and upright and conscientious, no, not one." (vs. 10)
Unless a person is able to come before the presence of God in the righteousness of Christ they remain condemned.
Not one single human, except for Christ, has ever been able to live a totally righteous life – no not one.
Ask the Lord to help you find your righteousness through Christ instead of your own efforts.
3. Paul explains that our human understanding is insufficient to comprehend supernatural truth without the help of the Spirit of God. That goes against all human or rationalistic thinking.
Most people believe that if they just study hard enough and consult learned authorities they can find the answers to their problems.
Paul writes, "No one understands or intelligently discerns or comprehends the truth of God, no one seeks out God." (vs 11)
An Einstein size intellect is inadequate to perceive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, neither can he understand or progressively know them for they are spiritually discerned." (I Cor. 2:14)
Without the Spirit of God living in us we are incapable of recognizing, understanding or discerning spiritual truth.
Ask the Lord to help you show people how to could quit relying on their own insights and trust Christ for the free gift of Spirit’s regeneration.
4. Paul shows the Romans that every human will is depraved. He writes, "There no one who seeks after God – not one." (vs. 11)
No matter how hard a person tries or how sincere they are eventually the human heart chooses evil over good.
Our sinful human desires lead us to decide for impurity over purity, selfishness over service or lust over agape love.
Sincerity is not enough.
Every person, left to their own devices, makes poor character choices.
Humans need to make the choice to let Christ come into their heart and give them a new nature that desires good things.
Ask the Lord to help you show people how their sincerity is not enough to transform our motivations.
5. Paul demonstrates that human speech is depraved. He writes, "Their throat is a yawning grave; they use their tongues to deceive to mislead and to deal treacherously. The venom of asps is beneath their lips." (vs 13)
The great apostle knew how important truth is to a person’s well being. However, the human nature leads people to use deceit, trickery and cleverness to manipulate others for their advantage.
Some politicians are infamous for their slick speech to gain voter’s favor. Many used car salesmen will say about anything to make their car sales quota for the month.
A few husbands and wives will resort to all kinds of smooth talk to get what they want. Our world is filled with unhappy people who will slander to wreck vengeance on their opposition.
Ask the Lord to help you teach others that God will hold us accountable for what we say.
6. Paul concludes this section by highlighting the depravity of human lifestyles. He writes, "Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery mark their ways. And they have no experience of peace. There is no fear of God before their eyes." (vs. 15-18)