» People resist the idea of total depravity. Why do you think that is?
» How much do you still naturally attempt to defend your nature as basically good and your intentions as always genuine?
» What does it mean to be dead in your trespasses and sin?
» What does it mean to be made alive again?
» Practice this week’s memory verse.
“The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.”
- Malcolm Muggeridge
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
- Jeremiah 17:9
As every parent can testify, all young children must be taught to
say “please” and “thank you” and to share. But you never have to encourage a child to say “mine!” or to grab things that don’t belong to them or to hoard their toys from others. Even as adults, we have to discipline ourselves to say kind and encouraging things, but it takes no discipline at all to be critical, negative, or judgmental.
Now this does not mean that people are devoid of all goodness. We are made in God’s image; therefore, we all are still capable of doing good and beautiful things. But sin has corrupted our ability to love and obey God with our whole hearts, strength, and minds. Sin has infected every part of us so that we are all born in sin and guilt, corrupt in our nature, and unable to keep God’s law perfectly.
Imagine there is a hungry lion, and imagine putting two plates of food in front of him—one plate of raw red meat, and the other, a plate of a perfectly prepared vegetable medley. The lion can choose either one, but because of his nature, he’s always going to choose the red meat. The problem is even worse: we are not just depraved in our nature - we are dead in our trespasses and sins. But thankfully, Christ did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive.
This transformation is far more dramatic than many of us allow ourselves to believe. Jesus didn’t suffer death so you could be nicer to people; He died and rose again both for your salvation, and so that you may have a new heart. A heart that desires what God desires, through the work of the Spirit and to no credit of your own. This process is so radical that the Bible refers to it many times as being born all over again.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:17