Are People Basically Good?

Free Bible Study Materials for Christian Discipleship
March 2013

photo courtesy of L.Marie

Dear fellow disciple-maker,

When I was in high school, I remember taking a Psychology class. Our textbook raised a question regarding the fundamental nature of people. In short the issue was this: Are people fundamentally good or fundamentally bad? Perhaps you remember engaging in such a debate. Are people basically good and occasionally do what is wrong? Or are people basically bad and occasionally do what is right?

The answer - neither!

From God's perspective, the answer is neither. To God, people are not basically good or bad. They are dead. God warned Adam and Eve that if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would die (Genesis 3:17). As the only two members of the human race at the time, their sin brought spiritual death into the world. Ever since then all mankind has been affected by their spiritual condition. Today people are sinners both by nature and by choice. Thus, fundamentally people are spiritually dead. The apostle Paul summarized how God views the human race when he stated that all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Furthermore, he described the universal result: the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Jesus' Resurrection

As Easter draws near, let us remember and celebrate what the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead really means. Jesus' death and resurrection were not intended to make bad people good and good people better. Rather, our Lord’s purpose was to provide a way to bring spiritually dead people back to life. Here is how the apostle Paul explained it: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins. . .but because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions (Ephesians 2:1,4).

photo courtesy of Luz Adriana Villa A.

Meaning of Easter

After Lazarus died, Jesus told his sister, Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26). Resurrection power brings dead people back to life. This kind of power only works in a graveyard. It does for a dead person the very thing that he cannot do for himself. As you prepare your hearts for the Easter season, ask the Lord to give you a fresh vision of the Living Christ. Spend some time alone with God and meditate on these words of Jesus. "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever" (Revelation 1:17-18). Because Christ has risen, dead people can be made alive. 

Author:Paul Schlieker

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Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection - Mark 15-16

Christ Has Risen - John 21:1-4

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Archived Newsletters -

Easter Facts

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