Jewels from Romans #6

Romans 3:10-18

10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
(ESV)

We come today to one of the classic texts which proves the total depravity of mankind. I believe that there is a misunderstanding of total depravity in the minds of many people today. Many people, when they hear the term “total depravity”, assume that it means that people are as bad and as evil as they ever could possibly be. That is not the case. You and I both know many fine, upstanding, morally good people who do not have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Are these people totally depraved? Yes. We must understand that total depravity has nothing to do with our actions. It has everything to do with: 1) our state of righteousness, and 2) our ability to attain a state of righteousness. There is a difference between personality and righteousness. A nice person who lives apart from God and the saving grace of His Son Jesus Christ is unrighteous just as the unregenerate murderer sitting on death row. His crimes may not be as heinous in the sight of God, but his sins are serious enough to eternally separate him from God and to justify the wrath of God by being tormented by God in the Lake of Fire forever.

Many preachers and teachers, when they come to the subject of total depravity, point to the blatant and increasing sinfulness of the world at large to prove the concept of total depravity. They point to things like the increase in murder rates, robberies, greed in the corporate world, and moral failure in the church. They point to things like the prevalence of abortions and euthanasia. While all these things are a result of total depravity, they do not prove total depravity. The best proof of total depravity that I can think of is myself. People without the saving grace of Jesus Christ can be expected to sin as they are lead by their own lusts, by the world, and by Satan. What proof of that is total depravity? The depraved can be expected to be depraved. But what about a person like me, who well knows what it means to be saved from the power of sin? I still sin, knowing better, and knowing the better way. I still sin even though God in His loving kindness provides a way of escape from every temptation which comes my way (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). I still sin even though I recognize that my every sin is another hammer blow on the nails that affixed Jesus Christ to the cross at Calvary. I still sin even though my sinful flesh has been crucified with Jesus Christ (see Galatians 2:20). This, my friends, is the proof of total depravity. The person who should be most free from sin on this earth still practices sin every day.

By Berean Husband

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