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On Total Depravity

Pablo Picasso The Dawn 300x198 On Total DepravitySpeaking of Israel, Paul writes, Romans 10:2 “For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.”

They have zeal for God. They seek after God. They simply do it in a manner which exults man and disregards God’s gift of Grace which is received through faith; attempting through their own works at salvation. They seek Him through their own knowledge, not on how He has instructed us to seek Him.

But this does not invalidate the fact, misguided in methods as they may be, that they seek God. (As if I’m smarter than they are, hah!) Many sought through their own works to please God instead of receiving Him freely through faith. This is not a lack of want for God, but a lack of knowledge of God.

Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Isaiah 64:7 There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.

Yet Isaiah who put these words into writing clearly sought after God.

Psalm 14:3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.
Romans 3:10 as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
Romans 3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;

Paul’s intentions with these verses is to convict all of sin. To show that none, no matter how hard they attempted and were successful in keeping the law, would be unsuccessful in being saved by works.

Romans 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

No, something is corrupt in our hearts especially in comparison to a holy God. But the Augustine-Calvinist-Arminian idea of Total Depravity would have us believe none wish to have a relationship with God or seek after Him. This is incorrect. These verses tell us that none are capable of saving themselves, all fall short, that seeking God through righteous behavior will fail, leading us to the knowledge that we need to surrender our will (whatever if any actually exists) to God and simply receive His free gift of salvation.

As Wikipedia says on Total Depravity, from the Fall, “all are inclined by nature to serve their own will and desires and to reject the rule of God.” Now does this sound more like the Adam and Even we read about only after the Fall or even before the fall? I would argue that Adam and Eve’s actions in the Garden shows man’s nature before the fall was inclined towards himself.

Romans 10:17  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Joel 2:32  And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered…
Matthew 22:14  “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

We are chosen to become the children of God when we are cloaked in the righteousness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Sin entered the world through one man. The strength of sin is the law. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. The story of Adam and Eve tells us something changed with man to give us a greater consciousness of sin. No matter how literal or allegorical you take Genesis to be, it’s difficult to miss that message.

John 9:39     And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”

Bringing us back into relationship with God. He is our Saviour in so many ways!

1 Comment

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