I was reminded again of this painful truth when listening to the Paul Washer message -as if my own life wasn't testimony enough. When dialoguing with people about Jesus, it is easy to get caught in the trap of, "But we're basically good. We just make mistakes." Not true. God says something quite different. As those who are true rebels, we do nothing that is not from a heart of rebellion. No one seeks after Him. No one does good. Our hearts are wicked and deceitful. Our mind is enmity against Him -unable to submit to Him.
We aren't just people who make some bad mistakes here and there. God's Word doesn't leave any room for that. Ultimately, it is the cross of Christ, itself, that is the proof of our true condition.
This was what got me. If Jesus had to die, and if He is the only way, then even my "goodness" is bad. If it was necessary for Jesus to die so that men would be reconciled to God, and it is by His blood and righteousness alone, then that automatically means both that a) I do not have peace with God. I need to be reconciled to Him somehow, and b) My "goodness" isn't really "good enough" at all since such seemingly extreme measures by the Son of God were necessary. In fact, it is wicked. It is self-aggrandizing, self-promoting, self-saving dirt.
I thought I was generally a good person. I never did drugs or smoked. I never drank. I tried to be nice to people. I tried not to lie. I used to make fun of those people who pretended to be all "religious" but were "hypocrites." I thought God would be silly to not accept me and overlook my "very minor" mistakes and imperfections. However, I was blind to the fact that even my goodness was filthy. In my flesh is found all manner of self-exaltation, pride, deception, lust, bitterness, envy, and idolatry.
You might be tempted to think differently, but as Jonathan Edwards wrote, "He who trusts his own heart is a fool."