Summary: Born radically depraved and dead and exposed to wrath, but God made us alive!
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Three buddies were discussing death, and one of them asked the group, ‘What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?’ His own answer was, ‘He was a great humanitarian, who cared about his community’. The second said, ‘He was a great husband and father, who was an example for many to follow’. The third answered, ‘Look, he’s moving!’ Pastor Darrin Hunt, of Susquehanna Valley Bible Church in Selinsgrove, PA, submitted this story to SermonCentral.com.
Everyone wants to go to Heaven but no one wants to die. In truth however, people who do not know Christ and who do not have His Life-giving Spirit in them are walking, talking paradoxes. They fear death, and yet they are dead.
They live in dread of the inevitable, never understanding that from the day they were born, they were already dead and there is no hope for them except in Christ.
RADICAL DEPRAVITY AND GOD’S WRATH
“I once was rebellious, corrupted by sin,
Pursuing the Devil’s dark path,
Oblivious, dead to the state I was in,
An object of God’s dreadful wrath.”
This is a fundamental doctrine of the church, and the church has absolutely and completely thrown away her capacity to evangelize the lost in this world if she fails to teach the doctrine of man’s radical depravity; of mankind’s spiritual death.
Let me briefly explain this term, ‘radical depravity’. The reformers came up with an acrostic to help remember the doctrines of grace. The acrostic spells the word ‘TULIP’, and the letters stand for Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and the Perseverance of the saints.
Now I am not getting into a teaching of these doctrines today, but only give you this acrostic to show that while it is convenient it is somewhat unfortunate in that if used shallowly it can lead to some misunderstandings. The reformation preachers of recent years have realized this and they have begun to change the terminology somewhat. An example of what I’m saying is in this first doctrine on the list from which past preachers got the ‘T’ for tulip, which is ‘total depravity’.
The reason I say this is unfortunate is that if I teach that you and I are by nature totally depraved, then I leave myself open for someone to point out that most of us are quite capable of doing good things, having good and healthy thoughts, and on occasion even acting quite sacrificially toward our fellow human beings.
So I cannot say we are totally depraved, since the word ‘total’ would indicate that there is absolutely no capacity in any one of us for any good whatsoever. If we were truly in that state we would be no different than rabid animals, attacking and biting and killing one another until there was no one left.
So, as I say, reformation preachers of recent years have begun using the term ‘Radical Depravity’, because the depravity in man, his incapability of knowing or understanding God in any way, is radical; that is, we are affected in our entirety by the sin nature.
There is no part of us that is not affected, and because of that our spiritual ruin is complete. Now let me explain this further.
People think, and they express this belief often, even within the church, that what makes people bad is the commission of sins. If they themselves are possessed of an even temperament and are content to go through life obeying the laws and being civil to others and have no habits that are harmful to themselves or others, then they tend to think that they are good people and sin cannot be attributed to them.