Grace Protestant Reformed Church

Incapable of Any Good; Inclined to All Evil

Date: AM
Text: Romans 3; Lord's Day 3
Psalters: 221, 102, 23, 390
Series: Heidelberg Catechism (2015-16)
  1. The meaning.
    1. "Depravity" (q.7) is our old man of sin, our inner wickedness, corruption within, the innate evil of fallen man.
      1. Depravity is the spiritual death within a man (Eph. 2:1), just like there is physical death for man’s body.
      2. Depravity is the corruption of man who does not measure up to the holiness of God, according to the verdict of God.
    2. Biblical proof.
  2. What is the explanation for this depravity in man?
    1. Pelagius and Arminius presented erroneous views.
    2. The adjective "total" reinforces the depravity, explaining that there is no element of goodness whatsoever in fallen man.
      1. At any moment every human is sinning - they are as bad as they could be at that moment.
      2. Man is completely dead in sin, can do no good before God, and cannot exercise his will to accept Christ.
  3. The significance. Why is it important to maintain and emphasize the truth of total depravity?
    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.
    3. Regeneration enables one to see God's kingdom, to enter into it, and to obey God.
    4. In the knowledge of your depravity is additional reason for humility, for flying to Christ crucified, for mortifying the old man, for constant watching and prayer, and for pressing on for glory (Canons V – 2).