My kids, ages ten, eight, five, and one are bad. It’s not a matter of doing bad things. They are inherently bad. I will ask them, "Simeon, are you bad?" "Yes Daddy," he replies, "I am really bad!" "That’s right son." We recently had friends at the house whose kids are the same ages as ours. One of them said, "I’m a good little boy." My five year old said, "No you’re not, you’re a wicked sinner!" I grinned and thought, that’s my son.
Here is the point: our kids need to know that they are not okay. The human race is fundamentally messed up. The fallen nature in which we all live and have our being regularly manifests selfishness, greed, lust, pride, and idolatry. We are, as John Calvin said, idol producing factories, and until we recognize this fact we will never appreciate how deeply we need divine grace. In other words, without a firm doctrine of human depravity, it is easy to walk through life feeling pleased with ourselves, perhaps including Jesus, but maybe not, because who really cares about religion, if we’re honest, except if we’re absolutely desperate for God, which is precisely the point.
We didn’t leave the nice little boy who visited our home with the disappointing news of his badness. My five-year-old gave him the good news: Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave so that we might be covered with goodness. Herein is the message that we big people also need–as dark as sin is, especially in violence and oppression, we have a living hope in Christ that evil will one day be vanquished in the presence of the living God. Come Lord Jesus!