Could you get any more graphic, more specific, more all-inclusive words than these?
"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5, ESV).
It's clear from Genesis 6:5, and it's clear if you watch the news today, that something is deeply broken with the human race. Even people who don't believe in the Bible would agree that something is wrong, and that people need help.
But what's the problem? And how do we fix it?
There are two commons lies that we all believe. The first is this: "I'm one of the good guys."
It's easy to read Genesis 6:5, and it's easy to watch the news, and remove ourselves from the problem. "I'm not as wicked as those other people. Look at my track record - I have a long list of helping people and doing good!"
For the Christian, there is some truth to that logic. Because of the sacrifice of Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the power of sin in our life has been broken.
That means we now have the ability to reject wickedness. We do have pure thoughts, pure motives, and pure intentions. In some ways, we are exempt from the diagnosis of Genesis 6:5.
But at the same time, we must always remember that our purity is the result of grace, not the natural condition of our own heart. We must also remember that while the power of sin has been broken, the presence of sin remains.
And so, while we are positionally righteous before God, our corrupt hearts still commit sinful deeds, and our intentions are certainly not pure all the time.
We still are part of the problem.
There's a second lie we believe: behavior reform will fix what is broken.
We tend to think that all our world needs is a harsher justice system, a little faster police response, and a new election to replace corrupt politicians.
Yes, God established law and order for the benefit of society, but the Bible never once proposes that the lasting solution for the human condition is more law.
On the contrary, the Bible teaches that what humanity needs is radical heart change.
Genesis 6:5 and the rest of Scripture teaches that "the heart" is inherently evil and needs replacing. You and I can't change our own heart, nor can any law or institution put in place by man.
The only way you and I will be rescued is by a transformed heart, created in us by God (Psalm 51:10).
This is why we celebrate Advent. Jesus Christ came to earth to fix what is broken: the human heart.
This December, celebrate the work of the Messiah and the new heart you have because of his birth, death, and resurrection.
- How have you been tempted recently to see yourself as a good person?
- Why is this inaccurate view of yourself spiritually dangerous? Be specific.
- Where have you given evidence this week that your heart is still corrupt?