Read Psalm 14:1-3
1 Only fools say in their hearts,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
not one of them does good!
2 The LORD looks down from heaven
on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
if anyone seeks God.
3 But no, all have turned away;
all have become corrupt.
No one does good,
not a single one! (NLT)
This passage is just one example of how utterly realistic is the Bible’s view of the human race in its relation to God. Some might disagree and say that in this case the psalmist has gone too far. Is he really suggesting all the lovely people we know (Christian or otherwise) are in fact terribly bad with no redeeming features? This would be harsh and factually untrue. Rather, the psalmist is making a general statement about humankind’s refusal to live in glad surrender to their creator. A broad description of our inability to truly please God with any depth or consistency. Our goodness is real in a relative sense but when it comes to satisfying the character of a holy God, then our goodness isn’t good enough.
As a consequence, all our human-centred efforts at self-improvement won’t get us right with God. All the well meaning laws we pass to improve society will themselves be tainted with human egocentricity and fallibility. Which is why the great social programmes of the political world can’t ultimately solve the social problems of the world. Those who are part of the problem are trying to fix the problem.
Once more it has to be said that this doesn’t mean we rubbish all such endeavours. They do some good. But we can’t ultimately rely on them for a better world. To change the world we must begin by changing hearts. Only changed hearts can change a world and only God can change the heart.