Humanity Still Sucks   1 comment

The misconceptions surrounding the doctrine of man’s total inability (or total depravity) do not negate the implications of the doctrine.

(1) Because man is totally depraved, salvation is necessarily a supernatural phenomenon. Those who are “dead in their trespasses and sins” do not normally or naturally become alive in Christ. Many of us are not convinced of this. Our thinking goes somewhat like this:  If only the gospel were explained clearly enough, then anyone would turn to Christ for salvation. How do we explain the “failure” of Jesus to convert all but a few of His hearers? Intellectually, man is so affected by sin that a totally convincing argument will fall on deaf ears. The gospel is not logical to the lost, but foolishness:

For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18, 19-31).

While some people suppose we can reason the lost into heaven, there are others who believe that we can nag them into eternal life by breaking down their resistance to the point of surrender. That is why we play 29 stanzas of “Just As I Am” and plead with the lost. That is why some wives persist at trying to wear down their husbands with the message of salvation, over and over, sneaking in a tract here, setting up a meeting with the preacher there, and so on. Others will try to use emotions to scare unbelievers into a decision for Christ by threatening them with hell fire.

Do not misunderstand me! I am not saying that the gospel can’t be sloppily and haphazardly explained. We should make the message of salvation as clear as possible. We should address the whole person—intellect, emotions and will. But after we have done the best possible job of proclaiming the gospel, it is only God Who can bring a dead man to life. Salvation is a supernatural experience and we mere humans must not rely upon our own strength or devices. If people are to be saved, it must be because God has used us and our words. We remain continually be dependent upon Him for success in evangelism.

(2) Even children are totally depraved. I know that statistics reveal that most people are converted in their youth. A famous Southern Baptist study showed that 80% of all conversions take place before the 21st birthday. I’m not going to refute these figures. Yet, logically speaking, if we are born in sin and rebellion against God, children are just as dead as adults. They are no more inclined to trust in Christ than anyone else. Granted, they have not become hardened in their sins (1 Timothy 4:2), but they are no less dead. All that we have said above applies to children, as well as to adults.

Children, because their desire to please, will often go through the motions of conversion, but that does not save them. Children, like all others, must be convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). They must be born again. Unclear statements of faith, such as “having Jesus in your heart” often lead to professions without any concept of what salvation means.

(3) Because salvation is a supernatural matter, no one is ever too lost to be saved. Some people are far more aggressively opposed to the gospel than others. This leads us to conclude that an agnostic is more likely to be saved than an atheist, but who could have been more opposed to the gospel than Paul, who referred to himself as “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15)? Salvation rests with the ability of God Whose power is infinite. No man is less dead than another. The most hardened and resistant sinner is no obstacle to the grace of God. No one is beyond God’s salvation.

(4) The bad news of total depravity is really the good news. The most difficult aspect of salvation is not getting man saved. I’ts in convincing him that he’s lost in the first place. After all, who needs to be saved who is not hopelessly lost? Total depravity means that man cannot save himself and must look to another for salvation. Christ came to the world to save sinners. He did not come to heal those who are well, but those who are sick (Mark 2:17). If you are lost in sin, there is hope, there is help, for Christ died to save sinners. When people come to the point of despair, realizing their own inability, it is also the point of hope, for where else would they look but to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and deliverance. Soft-soaping mankind’s total inability to save himself will not hasten the process of salvation, but probably will hinder it.

(5) We must be careful not to cushion the consequences of sin so as to minimize the desperate condition of the sinner. The prodigal son wised up to his situation in the pig pen, far from his father in a foreign land, eating the pods which were pig food. As much as that father loved his son, he realized that he would not be reconciled to him until he saw the folly of his ways. He had to be lost before he was found; he had to be dead before he could receive life (Luke 15:32). Many of us are tempted to build a pig pen in the back yard, trying to soften the blows of sin. While we must surely grieve at the sins of those we love, sometimes we must allow hard times to come upon them before they will recognize the seriousness.

(6) If man is totally unable to save himself or to contribute to it in any way, then all of the praise and glory for our conversion must go to God.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

Perhaps it is in our prayers that we are most likely to confess the fact that our salvation is solely from God. As B. B. Warfield put it,

He who comes to God in prayer, comes not in a spirit of self-assertion, but in a spirit of trustful dependence. No one ever addressed God in prayer thus: “O God, thou knowest that I am the architect of my own fortunes and the determiner of my own destiny. Thou mayest indeed do something to help me in the securing of my purposes after I have determined upon them. But my heart is my own, and thou canst bend it. When I wish thy aid, I will call on thee for it. Meanwhile, thou must await my pleasure.” Men may reason somewhat like this; but that is not the way they pray.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

One response to “Humanity Still Sucks

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: The Solution is Easy — Arm the Children « He Dwells — The B'log in My Eye

What's Your Opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Libertarian Ideal

Voice, Exit and Post-Libertarianism

CRAIN'S COMMENTS

Social trends, economics, health and other depressing topics!

My Corner

Showcasing My Writing and Me

The Return of the Modern Philosopher

Deep Thoughts from the Shallow End of the Pool

Steven Smith

The website of an aspiring author

thebibliophagist

a voracious reader. | a book blogger.

cupidcupid999

adventure, art, nature, travel, photography, wildlife - animals, and funny stuff

Republic-MainStreet

The Peaceful Revolution Liberate Main Street

%d bloggers like this: