A few years ago Kathy and I visited the former Auschwitz/Birkenau Prison Camp near Krakow, Poland. The Nazis, in a hurry to exterminate all kinds of “undesirables” (especially Jews), had installed poison gas “showers” to expedite the process and had built more ovens to dispose of the vast number of corpses. Everyone who visits this memorial is aghast at the depravity that humanity is capable of. We have been told for years by all kinds of secular authorities that mankind is basically good. The problem is we have this pesky thing called guilt that constantly bothers us.
The Bible says, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19). The reason we experience this pesky thing called guilt, the Bible tells us, is because we ARE guilty. The whole world is guilty before God. We can pretend it is not there. We can find someone else to blame for our problem. But the only real and effective way to remove guilt is to get to the root of the problem, which plainly is sin. The truth is that humanity is not basically good. Humanity is basically sinful. That is God’s assessment of humankind. We see it in the acts of terrorists who heartlessly murder people with no apparent pangs of conscience whatever. We see it every day in our own nation In the crimes that are committed, especially against children.
The Bible tells us that these things happen because people have no fear of God in their lives; “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:28). I hear people say all the time, “Well, you have chosen to follow God and I have chosen other pursuits in life.” They carelessly think that all that is at stake is simply a difference of taste or opinion. NO. The eventual outcome of turning away from God is a life of evil, which may be expressed many different ways. Solomon, after his binge into every kind of sin imaginable, came to this conclusion: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). He was essentially saying, “Listen, here is what I have learned from life: after doing everything that God told me I should not do, I have discovered that God knew what He was talking about.” We would do well to come to that conclusion as early in life as we possibly can
—Adapted from an article by Greg Laurie
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship