There is a strange fact about the world, which few will agree with: there are no good people. Years ago, I had a friend who once told me that she thought she would go to heaven because she was a "good person." I knew how to counter this same strange fact then and tried to explain it to her, but she could not hear me because of this very fact: she was not a "good person." What do I mean?
Let me clarify the concept of "good." In some ways, I cringe away from the contrast of "good versus evil." While these are opposites in principle, they are not opposite in essence. A thing can be perfectly good, but it is impossible for something to be perfectly evil. Why? Because no matter how evil a thing is, it still has some good in it.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28 (emphasis added)
If you go to your local Christian bookstore, you can find a half dozen or so books written to answer common questions about Christianity. If you examine each, you will probably discover a few very common questions. One of these will certainly be something to this effect, "Why would a good God allow bad things in the world?" This question is interesting in that it reveals one truth everyone with a conscience realizes. It also reveals a common lie that many people believe to be true---it happens to be the same lie that causes them to think there are good people.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. — Romans 1:19
They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. — Romans 2:15-16
The truth is: we all know, on some internal level, what is good and what is bad. There may be some exceptions where someone's conscience has been damaged or destroyed. There may be some disagreement about some of the details, but, ultimately, everyone has a little nagging sense of good and bad. We have two choices about this "voice" that whispers within our skull. We know from this voice that "bad things" happen. People commit crimes and atrocities. Natural disasters strike down many. Lives can be destroyed in millions of different ways and everyone has felt some amount of harm due to some of these things.
The lie is that the presence of good automatically cancels the power of evil. That is completely false. That isn't to say that an act of good cannot help in the face of evil, but good cannot undo evil. If a man commits murder, no amount of good is going to bring the victim back to life. God is the ultimate good. However, He has not chosen to stop evil from occurring altogether because of these very facts.
If I wash myself with snow water, And cleanse my hands with soap, Yet You will plunge me into the pit, And my own clothes will abhor me. — Job 9:30-31
If a person does evil, that person cannot undo that evil with any amount of good behavior. If you lie to a friend, that lie continues to exist. If you punch someone in the nose, the nose may heal with time, but the pain that was caused cannot be taken away with any amount of kisses in return. Evil is a contamination that persists despite whatever good a person may do. The smallest amount of evil corrupts a person completely and that corruption is what prevents the existence of good people. Every person has succumbed to this corruption. There are no good people.
For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin. — Ecclesiastes 7:20
How did this happen? Well, in the very start of things, this was not the state of the universe.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ... And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. — Genesis 1:26-27,31a
Almost everyone knows the rest of the story. The first man and the first woman, Adam and Eve, had one rule. That rule was that they must not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This rule provides the test of man and proves man's free will from God. Man is given the choice to either obey God or to turn aside from God and choose to rule himself. At this point, the devil came in and tempted Adam and Eve to disobey and Adam and Eve chose the exhilaration of rebellion over the contentment of obedience. Every man and woman since that day has been born into the corruption that has resulted.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13
This, then, begs the question, is there no hope? If good cannot undo evil what hope is there for us that desire to be good people? The good news is that there was exactly one man who was able to live on this planet and yet be free from the corruption of evil. He was able to do this because he is the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is God in the flesh. He came to earth to invoke the "deep magic" C.S. Lewis allegorizes in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The "deep magic" is this, that if one who committed no sin is sacrificed on behalf of those who do sin, the power of sin will be turned backwards for all who are covered by this sacrifice.
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." — Romans 10:9-11
I said that good does not undo evil, but when the Good Creator chooses, he can make it as if no evil ever occurred through this sacrifice. The evil exists, but God has provided a way for it to be forgiven. If you choose to submit to God, accept this sacrifice, and honestly pray for forgiveness for the evil you have committed, you too will be covered by Jesus Christ's sacrifice. You too can hope to follow Christ into the resurrection and life in heaven.
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? — Mark 8:35-36
The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God. — Psalm 9:17
Yet, if you choose not to consider or accept this, I will not lie to you or gloss over reality. It would be better for you to have never been born than to die. The evil you have committed requires some amount of compensation. You will experience the forever torment of hell because evil demands an answer.