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Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

Some refer to the first point of Calvinism as “Total Depravity.” However, this phrase is a bit misleading. To most people, the phrase “total depravity” would mean that all persons are as completely and utterly as evil as they can possibly be. Which is why I prefer Radical Depravity/Total Inability. Radical depravity means that mankind is a sinful creature by nature and unable to come to God on their own.

The doctrine of Total Inability, which declares that men are dead in sin, does not mean that all men are equally bad, nor that any man is as bad as he could be, nor that anyone is entirely destitute of virtue, nor that human nature is evil in itself, nor that man’s spirit is inactive, and much less does it mean that the body is dead. What it does mean is that since the fall of man rests under the curse of sin, that he is actuated by wrong principles, and that he is wholly unable to love God or to do anything meriting salvation.-Lorraine Boetner-The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Our nature is a result of the first sin. The sin of Adam resulted in sin being passed upon all men, so that all are sinners. Mankind is born with a sin nature, dead spiritually to the things of God. We are unable commit any righteous acts without the grace of God. The first sin produced original sin. That means that because of the sin of Adam and Eve, the entire human race fell. The doctrine of original sin teaches that our very nature is influenced by sin.

Rom 5:12-19 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (13) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (15) But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (16) And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. (17) For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (18 ) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Eph 2:1-9 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by (grace ye are saved; ) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (7) That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. ( 8 ) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

On the above passage, James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken made some interesting points in the book “The Doctrines of Grace-Rediscovering the Evangelical Doctrine.”

1. The sinner is dead in sins.
2. The sinner actively practices evil.
3. The sinner is enslaved.
4. The sinner is by nature an object of wrath.

Mankind is completely dead to God and the things of God, but is “alive” to sin. Scripture clearly teaches this. Not only is man spiritually dead, but he is unable or unwilling to come to God on his own.

Rom 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

The above passage teaches us something too, first and foremost, that man’s moral nature is sinful(radically depraved). It also teaches us that man does not seek after God(inability). Mankind does not seek after God, and mankind does not seek to do the things of God.

If the above is true, that mankind is sinful and seeks not the things of God, then something has to change in order for man to come to God. Otherwise, no man could be saved.

Generally, there are three views on the “will of man” in regards to sin nature.
First, we will look at the view of Pelagius. His view is easily summed up in a few brief points.
1. Adam’s sin and guilt affected no one but himself.
2. Mankind is born not into a sinful state, but a morally neutral state.
3. Mankind is capable of living sinless if they choose to do so.
It’s easy to see how the above contradicts any biblical doctrine of sin.

The next view is one that states that mankind’s will is free, and that he is not totally dead to God and the things of God. It teaches that mankind, while born with a sin nature, is completely free to choose or reject God without being influenced by that nature wholly.

The third view, is that because mankind is a)dead in sins, and b)unwilling to come to God, then something must change for man to come to Christ. Jonathan Edwards wrote on this topic in his “The Freedom of the Will.” The first thing Edwards did was define the will. He defined it as being “that by which the mind makes choices.” That is to say, that the mind makes a decision based on what is the most desirable course of action. Second, Edwards looked at the question of why the mind makes the choices it does. Edwards stated that the mind has motives for choosing what it does. It is not neutral. The mind has certain things that it desires more than others. If the mind were confronted with two choices, one that it loved and the other that it hated, and it chose the hated, then it would be acting irrationally. And here we get to the crux of this point. Since mankind does not seek God, and hates the things of God, the mind will not choose God. Mankind’s nature is to seek sin. The mind, therefore, will choose the most desirable action because of it’s nature, even though it recognizes that sometimes these actions are morally wrong. A simple illustration would be the difference between carnivores(meat eaters) and herbivores(plant eaters). You could set a bucket of oats in front of a wolf. Physically, the wolf could eat the oats. However, it will not eat the oats because by it’s very nature it seeks after meat. Mankind could choose not to sin, in theory, but by our nature, we choose to sin even though we recognize that our actions may be morally wrong.

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Deu 17:18-19 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: (19) And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

The Kings of Israel were required to read the book of the Law daily, so that they could execute the judgment of God, and so that they would know the law intimately. God required the kings to know the law. This is why David spoke so much of reading the Law of God, of reading and memorizing the Scriptures. The Scriptures were a part of his life consistently. He read, memorized, and to him the Scriptures were an intimate part of his life. He knew the Bible no doubt as well as any priest in the kingdom. What would our churches be like if every Christian took reading the Bible just as seriously?

Just a random thought today. My pastor I had when growing up preached a lengthy series through the book of Deuteronomy, and expounded on this particular passage several times. I’ve thought of it often as I’ve thought of him.

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