#2 Everyone is born with an evil heart
Why does mankind need the gospel?
First we must understand why we are born with an evil heart, not a good heart. We are not born good and learn to be bad. Instead, we are born with an evil heart and He reveals it to us in His Word.
Adam and Eve were given life with a good heart, free will, and direct communion with God. This is revealed in Genesis. But they chose to disobey God’s very simple command and thrust mankind into a cursed life from birth. All are born under the bondage of sin.
What does this actually mean?
Paul tells Christians, “Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (New Living Translation). It is hard to understand that there is a division in our makeup. But God reveals we have a spirit and soul, and they are separate pieces of us in a similar way that our body has different divisions.
A soul is made up of your mind, will, and emotions. An animal has a soul. For instance a dog has a mind, definitely has a will, and also shows emotion. But an animal does not have an eternal spirit. We learn this in Genesis when God created everything. He breathed life into man, but created all other life.
So, what are the functions of the human spirit? Your conscience, creativity, faith, fellowship, passion and drive, enthusiasm, joy and peace are all products of your heart. Since we are created in God’s image our spirit reflects God’s but ruined by our evil hearts. God is spirit and connects to man through the spirit. Then discernment, spiritual gifts, etc. can come to life. It will be explained later.
For now, let me explain to you how the stubborn heart of disobedience affects the human spirit? We must begin with Christ’s words.
Let’s read Matthew 12:34 and 35 (from the NLT),
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”
These are the words of God, and I do not care about the theories of psychologists or other ideas of men. Do not be fooled, God says evil hearted people can only produce evil things. This evil heart pours out into a person’s words and actions and affects every part of a person’s life. Even if you think a person is good, like Judas Iscariot, their secret sin reveals their crimes to God who sees all people’s motives and secrets.
Now let’s read Romans 3:10 to 18 (from the God’s Word Translation),
“as Scripture says, ‘Not one person has God’s approval.
No one understands. No one searches for God.
Everyone has turned away. Together they have become rotten to the core. No one does anything good, not even one person.
Their throats are open graves. Their tongues practice deception. Their lips hide the venom of poisonous snakes.
Their mouths are full of curses and bitter resentment.
They run quickly to murder people.
There is ruin and suffering wherever they go.
They have not learned to live in peace.
They are not terrified of God.’”
You really need to understand the seriousness of the stubborn heart because it means everybody is an enemy of God inherently, and bent to love the things God hates and judges as morally wrong. And all are stubbornly, self centered, and unconcerned about the things of God. No one can fix themselves or change their eternal destiny. We are a lost race of humanity.
Jesus, God in the flesh, helped his original followers understand our horrible evil condition. He stated:
“Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.” Matthew 13:18 and 19 (NLT).
Like he explained in Matthew 12:34 and 35, Jesus deciphers the truth about the evil heart, and here he explains the three different types of an evil heart to them. First, the hardcore sinner has nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus, period! This is your relative or friend who shuts you up the moment you want to talk about their sin and the gospel. They are content and happy with no religion, or their religion and supposed relationship with God. They have created a god in their minds that accepts them the way they are.
For example, the rich young ruler that Jesus spoke to claimed his relationship with God was already perfect. He had no understanding of his true condition. He saw himself as righteous and pleasing to God just the way he was. When the Lord exposed his greed he immediately rejected the gospel. His stubbornly, disobedient heart chose the riches of this world over eternal life and immediately walked away.
Next, Jesus revealed the truth about those that many call backsliders.
“The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.” Matthew 13:20-21(NLT)
Millions of sincerely religious “Christians” will be stunned at Judgment Day when they finally see their evil hearts have never been changed and they are rejected by Jesus. Even though they choose with their mind, will, and emotions to accept Christ their hearts, are still unchanged and evil. Therefore they cannot produce good fruit. Human effort will only leave a person powerless to obey and serve Jesus. Just like those early disciple described in John 6:60 through 66, they will give up in a rather short time and depart from the church.
Then, Jesus explained the great mystery of the deceived who live among the saints.
“The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.” Matthew 13:22 (NLT)
As this group of people live among the Christians, appearing to be faithful believers, they really only focus their attention on sin, their families or careers. Judas is a prime example. He stuck with the inner group of disciples, looked like one of them, but stole money from the group funds. He secretly lived in sin and his greed got to him and he sold out Jesus for silver coins.
This group of people are hypocrites. They do not have a good heart to really, Biblically, personally follow Jesus. On the surface they hold to the doctrines that make them feel eternally safe, and if they choose a local church, they are not committed. They read their Bibles but do not obey what it says. The Bible does not affect the way they live their lives. They can attend a church each week, or once a month, and have no worries that they will miss heaven. After all, they prayed a little prayer and accepted Christ in their minds.
Paul explains it this way.
2 Timothy 3:1 to 5 (NLT),
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
Finally, the Savior reveals the extreme good the person with a good heart produces. He said,
“The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Matthew 13:23 (from the NLT)
The only way people are able to be good and be flooded with goodness is when they have a good heart NOT an evil heart. And this dilemma can only be solved by a miracle that God can do. You must be born again.
So I ask, are you really, Biblically, personally following Jesus?