A word that has now entered common vernacular in the UK is the word ‘asymptomatic’. If someone is asymptomatic, they display no symptoms of a given virus. Externally they look perfectly healthy, to the outward eye there is nothing amiss – all is well. However, a diagnostic test will reveal that an asymptomatic individual may be carrying a serious virus.
For a long time in western culture we have treated the problem of sin as an asymptomatic illness. We have believed our own hype that we are all basically good people. We have convinced ourselves that we brush up well on the outside and that God will let us into heaven based on our good works. Though we are nice people and good citizens, this is not God’s criteria for allowing people into heaven.
Just as a virus can be present in an individual and its signs are invisible to the human eye, a sinful nature is resident in every single human heart. We may patch over our sins with good works, we may brush up well for society outside, we may filter and airbrush all we like, but God who is all-seeing and all-knowing sees our heart. There is no hiding what we are from him. God is the great physician and qualifies to diagnose the human condition, the Bible says, “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
He has diagnosed the condition of our nature and concluded; “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The Lord Jesus, who is God incarnate, and equally all-seeing and all-knowing says:
“from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:23).
We may appear respectable and upright to our neighbours, we may think our sin is asymptomatic and nothing to worry about, but God who sees our heart knows what we are really like. We are corrupt on the inside. The Lord Jesus sees our motives and intentions and says, “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). He scrolls through our inner life like a news feed and sees everything. At heart we are rotten, lying, adulterers.
This news is devastating, it shatters our self-righteousness and veneer of morality. It is a death blow to the idea that man is intrinsically good. We are all sinners; lawbreakers in the sight of a holy God. The result of such a condition is that we cannot enter heaven, the Bible says that “there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles” (Revelation 21:27). Eternal judgement in hell is our deserved lot, because of what we are and the sins we have committed.
However, there is good news. God is not a capricious, surveillance obsessed deity that delights to pry into our private lives. The effects of sin are a cause of grief and sorrow to him. Though he is holy and will judge every sinner, God is a God of rich mercy and amazing grace. He is also a physician who not only diagnoses but heals. He has provided the cure for our heart-sickness; he has provided a Saviour who can rescue us and make us clean. This is the sweet story of the gospel. The Bible says, “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3). We could not save ourselves or cure our own sin problem, but the sacrificial death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus has provided the foundation upon which God can stand to pardon guilty people like you and me. We can be cured, made clean and fit for heaven. Not by religious works, virtue signalling to cultural standards, or trying to be good. We can be saved if we agree with God’s diagnosis about ourselves - acknowledge that we are sinners and turn to the Lord Jesus in faith. All who believe in the Lord Jesus can experience this salvation free of charge, no strings attached. He says, “come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). There is provision for all, and an eternal cure guaranteed, if you simply repent and believe. This is the good news of the gospel. Will you accept it?