According to one theory, the good in people just has to be discovered and developed. He basically has a good heart. But appearances are deceptive and huge. A big misunderstanding that sounds pleasant to people’s ears, but leads straight to the abyss.
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Man is fundamentally good, equipped with a good heart and also capable of doing something good (in the sense of the gospel). Therefore, within this world, which is now riddled with sin, only a change of heart is needed to straighten out the distortions within society. The rational person only has to find themselves and this also recognizes the basis for good moral values. Such statements can be heard especially from the Roman Catholic Church and refers in particular to the general orientation towards “preservation of creation”. The Church of Rome even formulated the “change of heart” in the environmental encyclical “Laudato si'” (Pope Francis, 2015) as the “10th Green Commandment“.
Due to the supposedly inherent goodness of people, they are also able to do good works and deeds to achieve the justice demanded by God. According to the Roman Catholic catechism, sins once committed must be given to a “confessor” and he then decides on forgiveness and the punishment. According to this church, God has – unbelievable as it may sound – to stick to the decision of the confessor or priest. God is obliged to “confirm” the decision, regardless of whether the priest gives absolution or not. This hypothesis was formulated by “holy” Alphonsus Liguori.
However, according to Catholic doctrine, the sinner must now see to it that despite the “forgiven sin” by the priest, he compensates for the punishment that is still open by means of “good works”. Here the “confessor” prescribes appropriate measures, be it praying the rosary twenty times, climbing up some “holy” stairs, or kissing the feet of a “saint’s statue”. There are no limits to the fantasies here. The sinner would still have the option of claiming one of the indulgences still distributed by the pope. Any punishment that cannot be compensated for by good works must be sweated off in purgatory.
One recognizes that Catholic teaching, in contrast to the truths of the gospel, is based on works righteousness.
But in order to do good works, a person must also be able to do good of their own accord. Here, however, the spiritual sense means the good that is consistent with the gospel and not good deeds in the worldly sense, in which “good deeds” are based on moral values that have come from the human heart.
Especially in today’s “advanced time” it is very difficult for people to recognize their insignificance, helplessness and also their fundamentally evil heart, let alone to accept this. “Find your inner self and draw the energy of the universe from it” and similar “wise sayings” have long been part of everyday life. These theses are not even that far removed from the Catholic catechism. In this dictate of faith, assertions such as the “divinity of man”, the ability to distinguish between “good and evil” and one’s own talent for good works are anchored (Details).
Works righteousness based on a man and his fundamentally good heart is also found in other religions. In addition to Catholicism, this teaching is also contained in Islam and Buddhism. The fact that the Church of Rome repeatedly invokes the gospel can safely be seen as an alibi act.
The blatant exception to the many religions is the gospel. Man is not endowed with a good heart, but with a fundamentally evil heart. Adam and Eve already had this state after their fall and after they were thrown out of the Garden of Eden. This fallen nature, separated from God, continued to the present, for what man does not possess (e.g. good heart) he cannot pass on to his descendants.
The gospel does not describe in detail what the conditions on earth were like before the flood. At the very least, it must have been so wild and wild that even the Creator regretted ever having made man. But in Noah he found another – to put it diplomatically – an acceptable person. But even Noah and his family members had a fallen nature, and God made explicit reference to this even after the Flood:
“And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.”
Man has a corrupt heart from his youth. Jesus Christ indirectly confirmed at a later point in time that children are expressly excluded here.
“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
With his corrupt and fundamentally evil heart, man is completely incapable of doing anything that is pleasing in the sight of God. The Holy Spirit is still at work here on the completely shattered globe. But God gradually withdraws His protecting hand.
A few other statements in the gospel confirm the fundamentally abysmal heart of man and his inability to bring it into shape himself. Man is not capable of changing his character by himself, any more than the zebra can change its stripes. A positive transformation of the individual is dependent on God’s intervention through the Holy Spirit.
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
2 Corinthians 3:18:
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Just as Jesus Christ pointed out that man can do nothing at all without Him, so in
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”,
so the transformation of man is exclusively the work of God through His Holy Spirit in man.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
From this follows the meaninglessness of one’s own righteousness through works and also the logical consequence that only genuine faith in which the Holy Spirit is at work can lead to fruits, i.e. good works. If that belief is merely imagined, asserted, or pretended, or if it is erroneous belief, then the Holy Spirit does not put His hand on it. The good works in the good pleasure of God are absent.
The idea of being able to achieve righteousness before God through one’s own works without the right faith is not only a gross error, but also an expression of presumption, hubris and arrogance. Life is a gift. The forgiveness of sins due to the sacrificial death of Jesus and His shed blood is His grace and therefore also a gift. Man is in no position at all to do anything for his own salvation because of his fallen nature and sinfulness. He is dependent “for better or for worse” on the grace of Jesus. God does not owe anyone anything and man cannot build up a “credit account of good works”.
If man has real faith, it has invited the Holy Spirit to work in him. God does not force anyone to make this decision. In this way, God also preserves man’s free will, which He has given him. Ultimately, only the Holy Spirit brings about the good deeds of man, out of his faith.
The statement in James 2:17 can then also be correctly understood:
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
This also resolves the very common misunderstanding about the statement in James 2:20:
“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
This verse is often used on its own as a supposed proof of righteousness by works. But when we realize that without the Holy Spirit, i.e. without the right faith, a person is not capable of good works, it also becomes clear that good works are proof of the right faith. If these works are missing, then faith is also dead (absent).
This also reduces the propagated factory justice ad absurdum.
Now the objection may come that people can do something good, even if they are atheists, Muslims or Buddhists. Anyone who gives money or clothing to a needy person is actually doing good and that is also in the spirit of God. There are numerous similar examples. God’s love for His creatures is unlimited and will continue to be. The Holy Spirit continues to work on people and their “minds” today, regardless of the religion practiced. But in the end it will be like it was in Noah’s time, and these circumstances ultimately led to the annihilation of mankind except for the eight who remained.
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
The hand of God withdrew at this point, giving free rein to the heart of man.
The greatness of God’s love for His people is incomprehensible for the likes of us, but, as is also often heard, there will be no universal reconciliation (more here). This tale is among the worst heresies in circulation.
Today, in other fields, “love” is literally funneled into people’s heads. Love and tolerance for any ideology, no matter how unusual, revealing and motley. But this “love” has absolutely nothing to do with the gospel. Here man is also deceived in such a way that this “love” is presented as something Christian, although it is an abomination in the eyes of God.
How is man supposed to distinguish real love from false love? By believing in the gospel and letting the Holy Spirit work in him. Man can do nothing without Jesus Christ. This is also to be understood in the truest sense of the word. Life comes through Jesus Christ and acting in the spirit of God also comes through Him.
Man is by nature not good, but evil
Humans cannot change their character themselves
Man cannot of himself do any good that is pleasing in the sight of God
True faith leads to good works brought about by the Holy Spirit
Faith without visible good works is either false belief or feigned belief. You can also lie to yourself.
Good works without faith are futile
Intended works justice is futile and pretentious
Bibelverse aus Schlachter 2000