Does Every Person Have Good in Them?

Ever visited a “new” to you church? Ever hear at a new church a topic that stops you in your tracks because of its questionability? 

Ever visited a “new” to you church? Ever hear at a new church a topic that stops you in your tracks because of its questionability? 

You sit in the church service and the wheels begin to turn. Did I hear what I thought I heard? Is what the teacher said correct and more importantly, is it what the Bible teaches? Immediately the brain cells begin churning with the many verses memorized over the years and you begin the process of testing what was said with scripture. At once you recall that passage in Acts 17 about the Bereans who studied the scriptures to see if what Paul said was true or not . (Acts 17:11) 

So what was this statement heard?  It was this: “there is good in every man because all men are good”. After listening more I began to have this inner dialog. How can one say every man has good when I see the horrors of mankind upon another? When is a person good? Can any person be good? What then is the measure of being “good enough” What is the evidence of being good? And on and on and on the circles go! In addition, being an “oldAWANA leader many verses begin rattling off and the question remains: What does this person mean? Did I hear correctly? Did he mean that all people have goodness within themselves or did he mean that goodness is only a product of our salvation? 

Has this ever happened to you? What did you do? This is what I did and see if it correlates with your path to peace when your thinking is disrupted.

First, I came as a woman of God to the Lord and sought a quiet spirit.1Pet 3:4 but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.

Secondly,  I asked the Lord to reveal to me His Word of understanding claiming Luke 4:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.

Third I found a quiet spot and I interacted with the scriptures Mark 6:31 Come with me privately to an isolated place and rest a while, Acts 17:11b examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so. 

Fourthly I reminded myself of these points as I sought understanding:

  1. The Holy Spirit is not only comforter, but also Teacher and He will bring to mind all one needs to know and understand
  2. Keep the statements in context.
  3. Be teachable
  4. Be humble
  5. Be a student and a researcher
  6. Be ready to defend your thinking and your study

As I processed all of this in my mind I came to some very basic understandings and reminders from the Lord. See if they might be yours as well.

  1. The teacher had said “all” men are good. True or False? In fact the scriptures teach that “all” men are not good [Webster’s dictionary definitions pointed to the character qualities of being pure, being righteous, being virtuous.] Paul reminded the Romans using an OT scripture that no one is righteous, no not one (Rom 3:10) When a certain ruler questioned Jesus saying “Good Teacher..” Jesus replied “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone”. Paul again wrote about him self in  Rom 7:18 “nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh”.
  2. If “all” men are not good then how do these men do good? That seems to be an enigma and yet there are evidences of them going about doing good e.g. feeding orphans and widows. Why is that?  Rom 2:15 “They, that is all people, show that the work of the law is written in their hearts, as their conscience bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or else defend them.” So, yes, one can do “good deeds” because it is imprinted upon their hearts whether to do right and wrong. They in fact have this so they can do good to their fellow man.
  3. So then the question arises, do their good deeds count for eternity? God says that even if we do all of His commandments, that is the “good deeds”, but break even just one of them, we have broken them all. (James 2:10).  OUCH! Clearly according to James good deeds are an evidence of faith. The key then according to James is the order, faith then works. So good deeds only count if one has faith and as Hebrews tells us: “without faith it is impossible to please God”. [Heb 11:6]

In the end I came away with this understanding, good deeds do not make good men, good men are only made good by the grace of God and His saving grace and His righteousness. This is imputed, attributed or ascribed to me, not because of any good within me but because God loved me and gave His Son as my propitiation. Good deeds then are only an evidence of one’s faith.

So what would you have done in a similar situation? Do you have other ideas and thoughts?

Coordinator of the Heartprints Blog Page: Gaye-Ellen Austin or SonShine has a passion to train people to be successful Bible students, following the words of Paul to his protégé Timothy: “ entrust to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well.” (2 Tim 2:2). She taught 15 years in public schools and 12 years in a Christian school where she was coordinator of the NILD program for learning disabled students. She has taught Precept upon Precept classes and was a discussion group leader for 10+ yrs. in BSF in Daytona Beach. Fl. and Atlanta, GA. Also, Gaye-Ellen is the writer for the https://www.facebook.com/bible.org/ She also has her own personal blog page: https://sonshinesjournal.com/ David is a full time director for Bible.org as well as his secular job. He and Gaye-Ellen along with their son, Dr. Mark Austin, daughter-in-law, Dr. Blanca Austin and granddaughter Christina (https://christinaaustinlopez.com.) live in the Dallas area. Gaye-Ellen's goal is to present Christ and live Christ glorifying God. One of her favorite verses about the role as parents, teachers, and adults for the next generation comes from Psalm 78:4, "but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord."


  • Doulos Hal

    Well articulated! I woulld

    Well articulated! I woulld that all that I teach would follow the process you describe for examining what is taught.

  • SonShine

    “good men”
    I consider your comment a special gift from God this day. Thank you for your thoughts as encouragement and may all whom you teach follow Christ and be aware of what the scriptures teach.