Depravity's Extent: Total

Date: AM
Text: Romans 3; Lord's Day 3
Psalters: 222, 80, 110, 142
  1. The meaning.
    1. “Depravity” (q.7) is inner wickedness, corruption within, the innate evil of fallen man.
      1. Depravity is the spiritual state of death within a man; our old man of sin.
      2. In theology depravity is the state of corruption of man according to the verdict of God.
    2. The proof is abundant.
      1. Death (not just sickness) was threatened to Adam upon disobedience (Gen. 2:17).
      2. All men are blind and deaf to spiritual truth, their minds are darkened, and their hearts evil.
      3. The reign of sin is universal: all men are under its power (Rom. 3:9-12; Ps. 130:3; 143:2; Eccl. 7:20.
      4. Man is unable to repent, to believe, to come to Christ or to prepare himself for salvation: Jer. 13:23; John 6:44,65.
  2. A part of man’s sinfulness is that he always wants to deny this truth (cf. “deceived” Titus 3:3).
    1. Pelagius: men sin because of imitation, because he is a victim of circumstances and environment.
    2. Arminianism teaches that man’s depravity is total except for man’s will.
    3. The adjective “total” reinforces the understanding of the depravity.
      1. The corruption of the fallen sinner is total - there is no element of goodness in man whatsoever.
      2. At any moment every unregenerated human is sinning - they are as bad as they could be at that moment.
  3. Why is it important to maintain and emphasize the truth of total depravity, man’s horrible sinfulness?
    1. This truth affects other truths.
    2. Man’s total inability to do good emphasizes the necessity of God’s saving work from beginning to end.
      1. God must begin (and end) the work of salvation.
      2. God’s first work is regeneration, the radical change from death to life, being born again from above.
      3. All of salvation is only and always by grace alone.
    3. Regeneration enables us to see that we are incapable of doing any good and are inclined to every evil there is.
      1. While before regeneration one cannot do anything good, after regeneration we not only must, but can.
      2. In the knowledge of your God-given ability, let us “be ready to every good work” (Titus 3:1).