“What in the world is the matter with people?!”
Ever heard that one? Ever asked it yourself??
How many times have you pondered that question as you watched the evening news or scrolled the news feed?
It really is a crucial, foundational issue for being able to interpret life, whether you’re talking about what’s going on at home, at work, or on the other side of the world. Answer that question wrongly, and you’ll surely mess up everything else.
For example, there are some who think people are innately good, and evil is merely a consequence of growing up in a wretched environment. Clean up a person’s environment and you’ll ensure better behavior.
That’s rather naïve.
In the first place, it doesn’t consider why the environment is corrupt to begin with. It also fails to acknowledge that bad behavior finds expression at all levels of human existence, from the squalor of urban slums to the gated upscale neighborhoods of suburbia.
Others think man’s problem is ignorance. “Educate the beast,” so the argument goes, “and you’ll tame him.” In reality, all you do is help him to be more sophisticated in the expression—and perhaps the hiding—of his corruption. He’ll be less savage-like, but no less corrupt.
The only satisfactory answer to the question is found in Genesis 3 in the record of man’s fall.
“The matter” with people is that we have inherited a corrupt, depraved nature from our first parents. The Bible also calls it sin and declares that all men are sinners—we “come short of the glory of God.”
When we come to see this truth, we can then understand what’s wrong with the world and why all our efforts to fix it simply won’t work—our best intentions, efforts, and successes are still marred by our depravity! But once we understand the real problem, we can then look for a solution. And what we’ll discover is that the same Book that reveals the root problem also reveals the solution—one promised by God as He cursed the serpent in Genesis 3:15:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
This promised solution was fulfilled in the first Advent, in the birth, life, and redeeming work of Jesus Christ. His death on the cross seemed to be His defeat—but that was just a bite to the heel. Instead, Jesus crushed the head of the serpent by paying for sin’s penalty by His death, burial, and resurrection!
Only by Him and through Him can the sin problem be dealt with adequately. In other words, to change a man, you can’t simply change his environment or educate his mind; he needs radical heart surgery. As Paul puts it, he needs to become a “new creature” in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
In faith, turn from sin and self, turn to Christ as the only Savior. Call upon Him. He will save and set free all who do so!
“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” …For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [Romans 10:9-13]