In my last post, I summarized the importance of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. Today, we continue our overview of the bare essentials of the Christian faith with what most people consider the most offensive of the lot, but before I launch into the doctrine of total depravity, here’s the full list:
1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts.
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.
The first thing most of us think when we hear the phrase ‘total depravity’ is that of a Hannibal Lector, Ted Bundy, or perhaps the ISIS goons and their unspeakably cruel acts – and then smugly go on our way proud that WE aren’t THAT bad…
But that isn’t at all what we’re talking about when we speak of total human depravity. It means that, according to God’s standard, the totality (all) of humans are sinful. In other words, people are not basically good; they are basically (and intrinsically) bad. Think about it: can you honestly say that you (or anyone you know well) has never since birth said, done, or thought anything contrary to God’s commands – not even once?
A few places where the Bible speaks of the fact that we are ALL subject to God’s wrath and punishment are Psalm 14:2-3, Romans 3:9-23, Romans 5:12, Galatians 3:22, 1 John 1:8
So why is it so important to understand that every human is inherently evil? Because if it is not true, there is no need for the death and resurrection of the Christ, and no need to follow Him.
But both Scripture and honest observation prove that it IS true. Therefore, unless you become a disciple of Christ, you are both doomed and damned. The choice is yours.
Here are a couple of links I hope you find useful:
This short article by R.C. Sproul gives a good summary of the subject, and explains that “total” does not mean “utter”.
Theopedia has a very good article, with links to videos by both John Piper and John MacArthur as well as many Biblical references.