Tag Archives: we remain sinners after we are saved

“T is for Total Depravity”

2 Nov

“”For that which I do, I allow not:  for what I would, that I do not; but what I hate, that do I.  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:  for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:15-18)


The above passage is in one of the chapters over which Arminius and Calvin differed the most.


Arminius said it was written by Paul as an unregenerate man, or looking back to when he had been unregenerate.


Calvin said Paul wrote it after he was saved. 


Which way do you believe?


I am leaving town for a two week business trip so I will be reblogging the posts of others for most of that time. 


I am going to drop a bombshell here.


I agree with Calvin.  And that those verses frame the “total depravity” doctrine.


It makes no sense that God would inspire His Scripture, even part of it, through an unregenerate man.  I know of no other book in the Bible where anyone has made that claim. 


And the passage itself shows Paul fighting against the evil inside of himself.  I don’t think we do that before we are saved.  The total weight of Scripture shows us that.


Before we are saved, we just give in to sin, with no qualms about it.


So if the great apostle Paul realized that in his flesh, after salvation, dwelt no good thing, is it unrealistic for us to agree?


You see, I have spent a lifetime studying people.  I love to people watch.


And one thing we all do is self-justify.  We try to convince ourselves and others that our actions are coming from righteous motives while everyone else’s actions are the results of sin. 


What could be a more stunning mark of our total depravity than our own total lack of consciousness that it exists?


If I do something that hurts someone and then defend it with the idea that I am a good person and would never intentionally hurt someone, I am all about me and not at all about God’s glory.  How much better to just ask forgiveness and move on, trying to grow and learn to better glorify a Holy God by my actions.


My concern is that many Christians I know have the idea that they were 98% okay before they met Jesus and just needed Him to die and rise again so they could get that 2% boost into heaven. 


My friends, that cheapens the life and death of our Holy God, who came and dwelt among us and was tortured to death because . . . we have a sin problem. 


That is bad news and good news at the same time, as my reblog today also points out.  It is bad news because we can’t get ourselves to heaven.  It is the most excellent news because God has provided a way to get us there. 


“By grace, through faith.”  (Ephesians 2:8,9).


Yes, I do believe in total depravity.  I am not sure about some of the other Calvin/TULIP doctrines (and you can see that I am studying them out for myself this year), but I can’t think of one good, Biblical reason to fight against the doctrine of total depravity.


And I believe we fight total depravity in our flesh our entire life, not just until we are saved.


Life gets sweeter when we agree with God on this and let Him start showing us His more excellent way–how to work against the evil that is ever present in our own hearts.


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