Russian writer Turgenov once said, “I do not know the heart of a bad man, but I know the heart of a good man—and it is terrible!”
God’s Word says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Our words and actions constantly reveal our depraved state and our need of the Gospel and of Christ. All one has to do is watch a few minutes of an evening news broadcast to recognize this truth, and yet most people I meet seem so shocked that people are capable of evil. I am sure you have heard the “people are basically good” reasoning from many people as well. This wrong thinking about the heart of man is why some many people think that God will let them into heaven because they aren’t that bad.
The Bible, however, is clear that man is sinful, and God is holy. And because He is holy, He cannot overlook our sins. His justice demands that sins be punished. If we have been made alive in Christ, believed and repented, and placed our faith in Him, THEN the punishment for our sins has been paid-by Christ’s sacrifice. If we die apart from Christ, we are not a “basically good person” who can hope to get into heaven despite our sins; rather it is wrath and justice we will receive.
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Do you find it hard to believe that man’s heart is desperately wicked? Our hearts are deceitful, convincing even ourselves that we can manage our lives on our own; we know best. Pray that your eyes may be opened to God’s truth, you are in need of the forgiveness that is only available through Christ Jesus.