C.S. Lewis intimated that the only difference between a despot and a factory worker might well be the opportunity to carry out evil. That their hearts, and ours, are all filled with same hatred. Like most people, I want to think of myself as a "good" person, but it seems a more accurate view is that I am evil and disgusting in my natural state. Only the grace and power of God allow me to do anything good. This denies me the opportunity to boast of my own goodness and requires I rely on God for all my hope. Does this line of reasoning seem accurate to you? -- Jason Goble

Lewis is such a thought-provoking writer! I think he is right that many of us, placed in the matrix temptations of the dictator, might well behave the same. We have motive already, only not the means. We must be very careful that in our teaching and in our sharing about Christ we exalt him as Lord (2 Corinthians 4) and do not preach our own virtues. For in comparison to the infinitely good God, we are not nearly as virtuous as we might like to think.

Paul, in Ephesians 2, certainly seems to back you up on your suspicion. We are dead in our sins. And so does the Lord himself, when he says, "you, though you are evil..."

And yet I would add a word of caution. Be careful as to where this line of reasoning ends. In Reform Theology, it ends with the claim that there is no good in our unregenerate selves, not even a desire to do good, until God puts it in our hearts. Total depravity does not quite ring true to me, scripturally speaking. Cornelius seems to be a good man before he becomes a Christian. In addition, some believers seem to enjoy putting themselves down. I am not sure this qualifies as humility. As Paul mentions in Colossians 2, there is such a thing as false humility. We will do well to steer clear of that.