These verses have put our requests in perspective haven’t they. Maybe it changed your prayer life a little bit. That’s a good thing.
“So if you, despite being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” – Matthew 7:11
Um..did Jesus just call us evil. Kind of…let’s dig into this.
This powerful verse reveals essential truth about both the nature of people and the nature of God.
Jesus is explaining why God stands ready to hear and answer every prayer from His people. Jesus asked His listeners in the previous two verses if they would ever give a stone or serpent to a child who asked for food? The implied response was that no good parent would ever do such a thing (Matthew 7:9–10).
Now Jesus drives the point home: God is a father—your Father in heaven—who gives good things to those who ask because that’s what fathers do. It is in the nature of God to give good gifts to those who make their requests in humility and sincerity. Of course, Jesus will also clarify elsewhere that nobody can come to the Father in this way except through Jesus, Himself Him (John 6:28–29; 14:6).
Jesus also reveals something about human nature. He begins by saying, almost as an aside, that even good parents are evil. This is one of the strongest evidences and clarifications of what is called the doctrine of human depravity. In short, this is the idea that human beings are sinful by nature and incapable of true righteousness or goodness. By definition, Jesus says, we are evil in our hearts. Paul says the same when quoting Psalms 14 and 53 in Romans 5:10–12, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
The fact that humans are naturally evil, compared to God, does not mean we’re incapable of doing any good, of any kind. Most human parents provide as best as they can for their children. Some even give themselves sacrificially to meet the needs of others. What none of us are naturally capable of is true, Christlike goodness, selflessness, or righteousness.
Ouch….hurts to read some of those sentences doesn’t it. We think we’re all good right? We are, we’re good people. Yet, compared to Christs’ goodness, we can’t even begin to compare.
Kind of puts us all in our place right? That’s a good thing. Our continued dependence on Jesus is a good thing to continue to talk about….