Thursday, February 02, 2012

Total Depravity (or Just Plain Lost)

The phrase “total depravity” is used to describe the condition of an unregenerate sinner. The word depravity or even depraved does not appear in the Scriptures, but the phrase is somewhat useful if it not expanded to meet the requirements of someone’s systematic theology. To be clear, no sinner can either save himself or even aid in his salvation. It is a total work of God.
Salvation is by grace through faith and faith is not a work but a gift of God. Time and time again the Spirit calls to sinners to make a choice. Jesus beckoned some to follow Him and some of those he beckoned refused. The entire issue centers around the question of free will. Does a sinner have free will, and its twin brother being has Jesus died for every sinner.
It seems very simple, but of course man has made it complex. We are called to preach the gospel to every creature and unless every creature has the offer of salvation then most to whom we preach are being taunted. But of course the gospel is a universal offer of redemption to ever sinner for Christ has tasted death for every man.
Heb.2:9 - But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
ee, simple and clear. So then what does total depravity mean? As I alluded to before it does not mean that a sinner cannot seek God, or even that he has no consciousness of God. It simply means that no sinner can do any works that have redemptive value. But listen to what Jesus says here.
Matt.19:23-24 - Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
f God chooses who will be saved, and if those who he chooses have no choice in the matter, then there would be no degrees of difficulty. Why would it be more difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom as opposed to a poor man? Its obvious what is being taught here. The rich man’s wealth affects his heart and he cannot bring himself to leave his riches to follow the Lord Jesus. That is why it is more difficult and the teaching here is very clear.
Lk.11:52 - Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
ere again, Jesus is rebuking the experts in the Mosaic law that their actions were keeping some who might have entered God’s kingdom from entering. And if those who might have entered could not enter because they were not chosen, then why is Jesus rebuking these men? It is obvious. There is such a thing as deception, and this deception is not just about temporal things. In fact, if a sinner is completely depraved and cannot seek God without God drawing him without his will, then how can he be any more deceived? A completely dead corpse cannot be deceived. And who can be a stumbling block for a dead man?
Lk.13:34 - O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
ere again Jesus acknowledges that He called and the sinners in Jerusalem said no. The entire concept is very simple. God desires all to be saved and that the gospel should be preached to every sinner. Man is depraved, but he still has a residue of the knowledge of God. He cannot save himself or even help God in that respect, and he cannot know who Christ is without the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
In closing I want to make perhaps the most important point. Regardless of all the nano-doctrines and the endless disputes over just how depraved sinners are, the material point will always be that they are lost. And of what good does it do to accurately define the lost condition? It really only serves to create a doctrinal tournament and provide a competetive spirit while at the same time diminishing the God given panacea for those same lost sinners. Many times the passion for doctrine eclipses any passion for sharing the gospel.

Let us never lose sight of that salient point by obsessing over the finer points of systematic theology.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rick I like this: "Let us never lose sight of that salient point by obsessing over the finer points of systematic theology."
I agree 100%. Way too many followers are obsessed with trying to point out their theological preferences lobbing Scriptures back and forth when we should be obsessed solely on spreading THE Gospel and making and becoming Disciples of Him who saved us.