Tag Archives: Total Depravity

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I have heard it said (correctly) that the early Christians faced a moral world that in either the same depravity, or worse than what we see now.

Well, farther back than that.

If the Hebrew people had not lived surrounded by idolators and other evils, they would not have fallen in WITH them. So the evidence is that their world saw evil, as ours does.

The Jews just before Christ had forcibly dispersed, and some had returned; and the evil that they saw was as evil as today.

I think (purely subjective) that today seems more difficult for us because it appears so new to us. And (objectively) we do see things that we have NEVER seen before.

Was immorality rampant in 1st Century Rome? Absolutely. Was it worse than today? I don't know. Some say yes, others say no.

I think that we feel it more because Western Christians have long enjoyed "majority rule," thus staying safely wrapped in the insulation of tunnel vision.

The phrase "total depravity" best describes the world, and always has. We expect it.

We grieve - yes, for that depravity, but we grieve having to stand by, seemingly helpless, watching the DECLINE of our country and culture, at a breakneck speed.

Homosexuality is the best example.

Only a couple of decades ago, we (collectively) viewed same-sex-sex as abnormal. We knew gay people, we loved them as friends and family, but we loved them, not their chosen lifestyle.

Gay people sometimes (perhaps often) faced bullies and that should never have happened. People should never see bullying as acceptable.

In (culturally speaking) a very short amount of time, we see a decline.

- Traditional family unit (dad, mom, kids) and the gay community as outliers.

- A move away from the traditional family unit with the introduction of "consequence free sex" and "no-fault-divorce" (note: we do find good and Biblical reasons for divorce, and I don't find "nobody's fault" on the list.)

- With the traditional family unit undermined, open acceptance of the homosexual becomes tolerated by the culture

- As single motherhood becomes more acceptable, homosexuality becomes not only tolerated, but acceptable as a viable option.

- Demand of recognition of gay relationships becomes more popular, as does public spending for single motherhood.

- Demand of recognition of gay relationships becomes the demand that the culture view those relationships as identical to heterosexual relationships.

- The demand to see homosexual relationships as identical becomes the demand for culture (via "we the people") to sanction these relationships.

- the demand for sanction becomes the demand for approval

- the demand for approval becomes the demand for celebration by all people.

- the demand for celebration becomes the demand for participation, regardless of sincerely held religious convictions.

As Christians today look around and see our spiritual siblings SUED and FORCED to provide services to ceremonies found morally offensive, I find myself able to identify with Christians in other times and places, who steep in total depravity through no fault of their own.

We, who enjoyed cultural insulation for centuries, may find this a difficult transition. No, we WILL find this a difficult transition. From power to weakness, from majority to minority, from peace to persecution.

Is the "remnant" ready? I want to be part of the remnant - and I know I'm not ready. If the "steps of grieving" can be applied to this - I'm still in the "denial stage" but we need to get ready.

We need to be in the world, but not of the word. Persecution awaits, Jesus promised. Whether we will be found worthy of the persecution that HE endured, is yet to be seen.



Because my move from Arminianism to Reformed Theology has been such a formative thing, as well as a very formative thing in "our relationship" - it makes sense.

(well, it will be in October, so we'll have millions of mums also)

Short Primer:

T - Total Depravity

U - Unconditional Election

L - Limited Atonement

I - Irresistible Grace

P - Perseverance of the Saints




Reason #3 - I'm not going back

We are not as bad as could possibly be...but all possible parts of us are touched with bad.

When Adam fell, sin entered the world. As a result, we are all sinners. "Total depravity" doesn't mean that we are as wicked as we can possibly be. It does mean that every single part of our being has been tainted by sin. Our "will" (ability to make decisions) has been so tainted that not a single one of will willingly, of our own accord, turn and follow Christ. Because of our sin nature, no one seeks God...no not one. We have all gone astray. When left to our own devices, we will...we MUST...act according to our nature...and the nature that we are born with is a sinful one. Without the Holy Spirit's effectual call, we will continue the path of destruction, unable to choose any other path.


(this post is "recycled" while I update categories)

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— (Romans 5:12 ESV)

This is not a "Federal Headship" post. This verse does not say because one man sinned, we are all guilty of his sin...it says "all sinned"

We are all touched by death; all of us have known somebody who has died. Some of us have had a very close loved one leave this earth. For some of us, we have the comfort of knowing that we will see them again. Others of us do not have that comfort.

It is not "life" that gives us death.

It is SIN that gives us death

"and, you know, we all will probably die with something sooner or later..." (former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders)

Yes...we all will "probably" die. All of us that are walking on this earth right now are mortal...we will die

That is the "T". The Total Depravity that touches all of our lives.

The "T" is important because it makes the problem crystal clear. All have sinned.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in< his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26 ESV)

Without the "T", the need for a Saviour is not so clear. Without the Saviour, the "T" brings hopelessness.

But we do have the "T", we do need a Saviour and we do HAVE a Saviour.

We have hope...

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:8-9 ESV)

The "T" makes us understand that we are so steeped in sin that there is nothing we can do to merit our salvation.

The hope is in Christ and in Christ alone. It is by grace, through faith, not of works.

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.(ISA 64: 6-7 ESV)

It is only in our understanding of our need for the Saviour that we are able to reach out for salvation.

Unconditional election...AKA predestination.  It is my second least TULIP doctrine to try to explain.

Based on the premise that "God is sovereign and He gets to pick - not only how, but who."

This builds on the "T" - total depravity.  Not that each peson is as totally depraved as they could be, but rather every part of each person's will is touched by Adam's nature (original sin).

How many people seek God?

The answer (as well as in other places, is answered in Romans 3:

"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."

If we don't seek God, how do we find Him?

Ephesians 1:3-6. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.”

Christ told His disciples,

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide...(John 15:16)

But what about my will?

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy (Romans 9:16)

But that isn't fair

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:20-24)

"Total Depravity" matters.

It matters because if there is some little bit of good in us, then we can somehow try to earn our salvation.

Mormons say, "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we saved, after all we can do." (II Nephi 25:22) - emphasis mine

Total depravity matters, because if we can earn our salvation, there is no need for a savior.

We are not just a little "sick", so that we can get better and so attain salvation.

No - we are DEAD in our sin. We can no more walk toward our own salvation than Lazarus was able to walk out of his tomb before Christ called him.

It is not until we understand the depth of our sin that we can fully understand our need for our Saviour.

It is not until we see how bad we are, that we see how good God is.

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

Words and Music by Stuart Townend
©1995 Kingsway's Thankyou Music

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross
My guilt upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr's, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

We all have one - a heart that is steeped in rebellion. Reformed theology calls is "the total depravity of man".

We see in in children; for many of them "mine" and "no" are among the first words they use.

We see it in teenagers when they learn that they have wings and start to use them - many times in rebellion instead of freedom.

We see it in adults when we observe the "nine you're fine, ten you're mine" rule of speed limits.

I see it in myself. I sleep with a CPAP and I hate it. Most mornings I wake up with the mask laying next to my pillow and a vague recollection of ripping it off my face in the middle of the night. Why? Because I DON'T LIKE IT!

We see it rebellion against parents, against government, against laws, against doctors, against physical limitations.

And it all stems from a rebellion against God.

John Piper writes: When we speak of man's depravity we mean man's natural condition apart from any grace exerted by God to restrain or transform man.

Total depravity does not mean that all people are as bad as they could be - it means that every part of every person is steeped in original sin. Our minds, our will, our emotions, our body - everything. It is all affected by sin.

Scripture tells us of the nature of man.

The heart is deceitful

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

People are slaves to sin

Romans 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

There is nobody who is righteous.

Romans 3: 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."

We do not accept spiritual things

1 Cor. 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

We are dead in sin

Eph. 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ

and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (v.3)

Why are we all thus?

herefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— (Romans 5:12)