We will never be ‘good’ apart from God

Published 8:33 am Monday, November 27, 2023

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: Having graduated at the top of my class, engaged to be married, and ready to take on the world of international travel, my life collapsed when none of the leading corporations hired me, my fiancée ran off with my best friend, and the world closed down because of COVID-19! I haven’t recovered yet, badly disenchanted by all of the promises that the future was mine to create. In the midst of this horror, I found the saving light of Christ, and now I want to help prevent others from believing the false narratives that people are basically good and self-sufficient. – F.D.

Dear F.D.: Human nature – ever intent to live independently of God and His transforming grace – claims that environment, education, and right mental attitudes can change the heart and make it pure. This is the argument of humanists.
There are many who say that our mental attitude toward life needs to be changed: “If we think right, we are right.” To them the problem of evil is a psychological one. “Think positively. After all,” they say, “the Bible says, ‘As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he’” (Proverbs 23:7, NKJV). The problem is that they are not putting the verse in context, for the Bible also says that the heart of man is deceitful and inherently wicked (see Jeremiah 17:9).
People are being told that they are self-sufficient and to be happy all that is required is to think happy thoughts. Such thoughts might cheer us and make us feel empowered, but they will never change us to be what God commands us to be. The “do-it-yourself” rage is spreading everywhere, but it cannot be applied to living life as God intended.
We will never be “good” apart from God. The heart of man can only be changed by Jesus Christ. Only He can create in us new hearts (see Ezekiel 36:26) that will follow the goodness of the Lord (see Psalm 31:19).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox