Posts Tagged ‘total depravity’


The Doctrines of Grace are clearly taught in the tenth chapter of the gospel of John. “sheep” are believers.

John 10

14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Who did Christ lay down his life for? The sheep. All who will be believers. The elect

24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.[b] 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

Why didn’t they believe? Because they were NOT of the sheep. Then Christ goes on to explain that all his sheep know his voice and will finally follow and believe and not only that but He will not lose ANY of his sheep and gives then ETERNAL life not temporary life.

We see here Total Depravity (they can’t believe because they are not sheep) Unconditional Election (he knows the sheep by name) Limited Atonement (Christ died for sheep only) Effectual Grace ( all his sheep WILL believe and follow His voice) and Perseverance of the Saints (He will lose NONE of his sheep but gives them ETERNAL LIFE)

Doctrines of Grace in a nutshell

Praise God!!!!

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First let me state that I will be using the Westminster Confession of Faith(a Reformed Confession) to summarize the doctrines that we are going to investigate.

WCF 9:2,3

II. Man, in his state of innocence, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God; but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.

III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself to it.

The position a person takes concerning the way in which God saves man will be, to a large extent, due to the view one takes in reference to sin and its effect on man’s nature hence the reason why we will begin with Total Depravity for it entails the status or condition of man’s will after the fall.

When you hear us Calvinist/Reformed speak of being totally depraved what we mean by this is that man’s nature is corrupt, perverse, and sinful throught his whole being. What we DON’T MEAN by it is that man is as corrupt and perverse as he could possibly be, this is not what we mean by “total”. The word “total” for us then means that the WHOLE of man’s being is affected by sin this corruption of sin extends to EVERY part of man body and soul. Sin has defiled the totality of man’s faculties, his mind and his WILL.

There is a point that I find is neglected in these discussions concerning this subject. Please refer to the WCF paragraph 2 that I included above. Notice what it says. Humanity was not originally made in this corrupt condition. God made Adam and Eve upright with TRUE FREE WILL. The early church father St. Augustine described this free condition as “posse peccare and posse non peccare” which in latin means that Adam had the ability to sin and the ability NOT TO SIN this was freedom in its essence. He had no natural desire to choose evil.

BUT! In the fall Adam lost the ability NOT TO SIN for himself and for his offsprings, us (this is the doctrine of Original Sin) and plunged us into spiritual ruin and death. Also destroying the ability to choose spiritual good over evil. As a result of this cosmic tragedy man will is no longer free as Adam and Eve’s will was free before the fall, instead man’s will is in bondage to his sinful nature the will now becoming a slave to sin and dead to righteousness.

Now we are all born in sin, inhereting this depravity the unregenerate (spiritually dead) person is totally unable to do anything spiritually good therefore being unable to choose God in and of himself or to do anything contributing to his or her salvation. The Scriptures teach that man in this fallen state are enemies of God by “nature” blind and deaf to spiritual truth, dead in trespasses and sin, children of satan enslaved and under his control, their hearts are corrupt and evil. Man if left in this dead state are unable of themselves to believe the Gospel, repent, and come to Christ. Man has no power to change their own nature or to ressurect themselves and follow Christ.

Man must be made alive being born again by the power of the Holy Spirit given a NEW heart in order to follow Christ.

We still have a will and the ability to choose but the problem is that we will NEVER choose any spiritual good (we’re dead spiritually) but will ALWAYS choose spiritual evil (because we are its slave and love being one).

Heart/Mind (Deceitful and Wicked)

•Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

•Titus 1:15-16 – to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

•Ecclesiastes 9:3 – Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

•Romans 1:28-31 – And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were… foolish

•Ephesians 4:17-18 – you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

•Jeremiah 10:7-8,14 – among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. They are both stupid and foolish… Every man is stupid and without knowledge

•Matthew 15:19 – “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (c.f. Mark 7:21-23)

•Genesis 6:5 & 8:21 – The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… from his youth.

•Proverbs 10:20 – the heart of the wicked is of little worth.

•Proverbs 28:26 – Whoever trusts in his own [heart] is a fool

Mans Will a slave not free

•John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”

•2 Peter 2:19 – They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

•Titus 3:3 – For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

•Galatians 4:8-9 – Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

•Romans 6:6,16,17,19,20 – We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed… For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

•Romans 7:14 – For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

•2 Timothy 2:25-26 – God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

It would also be best to read these passages in their context….

Natural man in his dead state cannot comprehend the gospel or come to saving knowledge of God on his own will.

•1 Corinthians 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.

•2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – our gospel is veiled… to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

•1 Corinthians 1:18,21-24 – For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles

•Deuteronomy 29:2-4 – And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.”

•Matthew 11:27 – “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

•Romans 8:7-9 – For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Dead man cannot can come to God or choose salvation

•John 3:27 – John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.”

•John 14:16-17 – “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.”

•John 1:12-13 – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

•John 6:44,65 – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

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

•Romans 11:35-36 – “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things.

•1 Corinthians 1:30 – And because of him you are in Christ Jesus

•Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
It is God who must resurrect the dead man

•Colossians 2:13 – And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses

•Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5 – And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved

And my Favorite:

•Ephesians 2:8-9 – 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.

Ahhhhhh what amazing and sweet Grace!!

This in essence is Total Depravity


This is an Exposition that I did for a sermon I preached at one of our sister churches in the PCA several years ago on true peace with God and benefits. I made emphasis at the end on being preserved in Christ until the end for our ultimate salvation. May God use this for His glory.

Title: Reconciliation, When Sinners become the Just

Open Gods Word to Romans 5:1-11

5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Exegetical Context of the book of Romans

The Apostle Paul wrote this epistle to the saints in Rome just shortly before visit to Jerusalem with gifts from the Gentile congregations you will find this evidence in chapter 15:25 and Acts 24:17. The book of Romans is the Apostles most thoroughly comprehensive explanation of the true essence of the gospel so much that John of Chrysostom, one of the fifth centuries greatest preachers, had Romans read to him once a week. As a matter of fact even Augustine, Luther, and John Wesley all came to true faith through the major impact of this epistle. The Reformers themselves had viewed Romans as a God given key to comprehending the total sum of Scripture after all Paul puts together all of Holy Writ and its major themes and these greatest themes are sin, law, judgement, the destiny of humanity, faith, the correct understanding of works, grace, justification, sanctification, election, the ordus salutis the plan of salvation, the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit, the Christians only hope, the nature and life of the church, true Israel and reprobate Israel etc….

But in chapters 1 through the first half of chapter 3, Paul starts of this Epistle with some pretty bad news that all men are corrupt and unrighteous before a Holy and Righteous God under His wrath and condemnation, all are guilty before the righteous throne of our Lord because of original sin and mans total and radical depravity so that none are righteous no not one and none is justified by their argumentation against God and are all without excuse. Man that really stinks! What in the world is the remedy? How can Gods enemies come to peace with God and be reconciled? Let us then turn our attention to chapter 5.

Sinful man vs God

Brother Paul having fully and clearly asserted and fully proved the doctrine of justification by the righteousness of faith, proceeds to convey the awe inspiring fruits and effects of this great blessing, known and enjoyed by the believing one; as also the source and spring of it, the love of God, which appears in the death of Christ, in the substitution of His people, which is the foundation on which it stands and likewise gives an illustration of this benefit, by making comparison of the two heads, Adam and Christ, together. The first fruit and effect of justification, as a benefit only received and enjoyed by faith alone, is peace with God through Christ.

Rom. 5:1 (all scriptures quoted will be in ESV)

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Being in a present peace with God implies that we were once at war with God being hostile and vigorously opposed to God as it teaches in Rom. 8:7,8 and as I already mentioned earlier fallen man is at enmity with our Creator and we are born from the womb shaking our fists towards the heavens. Romans 8:7,8 read as follows:

“7. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

The word “Hostile” in its greek form means to have a profound hatred for and in opposition to, the greek word used for “hostile” in Romans 8 is echthros ech-thros’ from a primary echtho (to hate); hateful (passively, odious, or actively, hostile); usually as a noun, an adversary (especially Satan):–enemy, foe. (Strongs greek lexicon 2190)

We can trace the beginning of this declaration of war after the fall in Gen. 3:15 where after Adam and Eve sinned against God’s direct command not to eat of the fruit but failed and fell into blatant disobedience into wretched sin.

Gen. 3:15

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

What we observe here is the hostility between good and evil, an inevitable fight between the Son of God and the sons of depravity, fallen men, and we all know that our arms are too short to box with God; just ask Jacob who actually attempted to wrestle with God and was given a bum hip as a reminder God always wins. But what we also have here in this text is what in theology is called the proto-evangelium aka “first gospel” in its literal Latin meaning. Here is actually the first revelation of the Covenant of Grace, this was the first dawning of the light of the Gospel on earth. A descendant from Eve the woman’s seed, namely Christ, will deal a death blow and utter defeat to Satan the serpent at the cross, while Satan would bruise Christ’s heel, that is, cause Him to suffer.

That’s good news better yet its great news it is the gospel, not the total sum of the gospel but most definately the introducing of it. But this good news presupposes or implies a bad news and it is this bad news that I make emphasis on here because its the bad news of humanity in what I like to call Anti-evangelium. So what’s the bad news what’s the antievangelium? The antithesis to the Gospel, in that God declares war against the unrighteous seed and because of this, man in his unregenerate state by nature are children of God’s wrath and in addition man by nature who were once God’s enemy, hated God in return hence the enmity. The Apostle James tells us that if we consider ourselves friends or at peace with the worlds system then we are in fact at enmity, at war with God.

Jam. 4:4

4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Saints, the glorious cross is the climax and fruitation of the protoevangelium, that covenant promise God made to crush the serpents head and free us from the bondage of his will replacing our darkness for His light, forgiving our blatant hatred for His divine persons and His holiness, coming to Christ and waving the white flag in humble surrender making peace with God our once sworn enemy, our eyes being opened to fully envision, realizing that we were at war with the all powerful Divine Being who creating all things; it is too absurd to fathom.

But this brings us back full circle to Rom.5:1, Pauls statement that “we have peace with God” and also tells us that we have been reconciled to God through the appeasing or satisfying work of Christ on the cross.

Rom.5:9,10

Since,therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Mans frienship with God is restored and renewed through Christ having faith in His finished work on the Cross. Peace is now a reality peace now rules in our hearts, reconciliation has been made being once alienated and distant unreachable to man but God has drawn us near to Himself and has given us membership to His Holy family entrance into His Divine Glory. AMEN!!

Rom.16:20

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

Eph. 6:15

“and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”

Eph. 2:12-17

“12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.”

Col.1:21,22

“21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”

How eternal is the mercy of the Lord! How infinite is His wisdom!

To amplify this glorious truth even more and what blows my mind and brings me complete comfort is the benefits of being reconciled but I purpose to emphasis only two as I have found in the Romans 5 passage.

Rom. 5:2 Standing on Grace waiting for His Glory

Unlike those still at enmity with God or unsaved, we who have been justified by faith and who now have peace with God, rejoice for grace and stand firm on Gods promise and we rejoice in hope of the appearance of God’s glory. It is by grace we have been reconciled and saved and it is by grace we maintain saved and at peace with God. We as God’s covenant people await the majestic return of our King in confidence. So we hope or earnestly await the return of Christ in His Glory for the redemption of our bodies and eternal bliss which the Holy Spirit bears witness in our hearts.

Rom. 5:3 Peace in Trials and Tribs

Here the Apostle Paul makes a connection with the last point we just made that seems strange at first but if understood correctly leads to a logical conclusion. He tells us here that not only do we hope in God’s glory but that we also glory in tribulations and proceeds to connect a chain, if you will, that leads right back to the hope we just spoke of. Paul asserts that we should glory or take delight in tribulation because tribulation connects us with perseverance which connects us with character which connects us with hope and all this says verse 5 is attributed to the working of the Holy Spirit which was given us. We find this same reasoning in the first chapter of James verses 2,3 and 12 where we read that we are to count it all joy when we fall into various trials, James states that the testing of our faith produces patience or perseverance as worded by other translations. When we endure these tests in confirms in us that confidence that the day we are looking for will soon be and it is only those who have been justified by faith and who has made peace with God can hold claim of. Therefore even in the midst of such sufferings we Christians, followers of the Lord, still dwell in peace and will always be in peace and persevere to the end.

Rom. 10 Eternal Friends

Now watch this, verse 10, so powerful, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more,being already reconciled we shall be saved by His life.” This verse thrills me and I want you to understand it.

Now watch, follow Paul’s reasoning, just profound. “If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God,” stop right there. If God brought us to Himself when we were His enemies, how much more will we be kept and secure in His grace being reconciled now that we are His friends. In other words, if God reconciled us to Himself when we were His enemies, don’t you think He’ll keep us and secure us to the end and beyond now that we’re His friends? You see, when He reconciled us in the first place we were wretched, rotten, vile, godless sinners. And if this poses no barrier to Him reconciling us then it poses no barrier to keeping us reconciled for eternity. Do you understand that? So, being now justified, reconciled, when we were at one time enemies, don’t you think God will much more keep us justified and reconciled when we are now His friends? If He redeemed us while we hated Him, don’t you think He will not keep us when we love Him? Here it comes. “If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by…what?…by the…what?…”the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” I think that’s the idea there, “by His life.” Now, what is this saying? If Jesus saved us in His death, don’t you think He could keep us in His life? In other words, if a dead Savior on the cross can redeem us, can’t a living Savior keep us?

What a great truth, isn’t it? If Jesus in death provided our salvation, how much more is He doing now in glorified resurrection life? You see, that’s the whole point. If He could save us in His death, He can keep us in His life. Great truth. You have seen me use the phrase “much more” several times its because it is thematic in this context. Paul is using what theologians call in theology a fortiori argument. It argues from the lesser to the greater. If God already did the greater, saved us when we were wretched sinners, will He not do the lesser in keeping us. If Christ did the greater when He was dead and buried, can He not also do the lesser now that He’s resurrected and alive sitting on His throne at the right hand of the Father? What great comfort. Our salvation is secure and preserved in Christ by the Father through the Holy Spirit. These divine truths can only be realized through Jesus Christ analyze Rom.5:1-11; verse 1, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Verse 2: “By whom also we have access.” Verse 6: “In due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Verse 8: “Christ died for us.” Verse 9: “Justified by His blood, we’re saved from wrath through Him.” “Reconciled to God,” verse 10, “by the death of His Son.” We shall be saved by His life.” “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s always through Christ. The center of our worship and adoration is Christ our reconciliation our ultimate shalom . Solus Christus!