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On Total Depravity: The Place to Start


We all have heard the altar call "Come to Jesus, come, just like you are. He loves you and accepts you. You are special to Him. Come, come to Him. He is waiting for you to come into His arms."

This is what I heard every Sunday for 15 years. But is it real? Really, Jesus loves people just the way they are? If so, why then did He have to come and die on the cross and bear the guilt of many and bear the wrath of God on Himself?

This powerful doctrine of The Total Depravity of men,  is really the place to start in our relationship with God. This the place where we come before a Holy, Holy, Holy God and take off our shoes and fall to the ground. This is the doctrine that humbles me the most and draws me close to Jesus, my Mediator; because it was because of my total depravity, my total inability that I had no hope except that He called my name and gave me life.

What is Total Depravity?

It means that my whole being is corrupted by sin, and that "corruption extends to every part of man, his body and soul; sin has affected all (the totality) of man's faculties -his mind, will, etc." [1]

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
(Romans 3:10-18 ESV)

As a result of this corruption, all men and women are incapable of drawing close to God They simply don't want to come, they are, instead, fugitives. They are desperately running away from Him. No man, no woman, no child seeks God. But you might say, I have seen people, lost people seeking after God. The reality is that people do not seek God, they seek only the benefits, the blessings that come from God: health, prosperity, peace, joy, a healthy marriage, a way out of debts, hope, etc.

"The unregenerate man is dead, and his will is enslaved to his evil nature" [2] How true! This is where we see that God cannot accept men as they are. They need to be dragged by God into the light, they need to be born again.

Don Fortner says,

You will never seek the mercy and grace of God in Christ
until you are convinced of your sin, convinced that you
are without excuse, and convinced that you are personally
guilty before the holy Lord God.

We are, everyone of us, and every one of our children,
sinners, corrupt at heart, corrupt by nature, corrupt by
choice, and corrupt by practice. So vile, so corrupt
are we, that the thoughts of the human heart are only evil
continually (Gen. 6:5; Matt. 15:19-20).

So evil are we that we cannot and will not do good. If you
die without Christ, this is what you shall be forever in hell.
There will be no changes on the other side of the grave.
Whatever else hell may be, it is a place of ever-increasing
torment, blackness, darkness, corruption, and burning lusts,
without satisfaction. This is called "Total Depravity."

We are depraved, spiritually dead sinners by nature, incapable
of changing our condition, or even wishing to change it.
Man is so depraved that it is utterly impossible for him ever
to escape the wrath of God, if left to himself.
But, blessed be God, that which is impossible with men is
possible with God! By the work of his sovereign, free,
distinguishing, effectual grace, some men and women are
made new creatures in Christ. May God be pleased to do
for you and me what we cannot do for ourselves.
Oh, may God be pleased to save us from ourselves,
for Christ's sake!

When I see this, when I see that before regeneration I was dead (yes, dead, 100% dead) and God came and gave me life, when the only thing I deserved was hell, His grace grows and I am left undone.

When our relationship with God starts here, then we are always in awe of His grace; every single minute we remember that we did not deserve His saving grace yet, He came and gave us life, eternal life.

John Newton reminds us "that no doctrines or means can change the heart, or produce a gracious conversation, without the efficacious power of Almighty grace."  [3]

So, it is my prayer that through Grace, through the efficacious power of the Almighty grace,  you may be called to repentance and fall to your knees before the Cross where your sins can be washed away and your nakedness will be covered with a robe of Righteousness.

Soli Deo Gloria


[1] The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented by Steele, Thomas and Quinn p. 19
[2] ibid. p. 19
[3] Via Grace Gems 

An excellent article which expands on this matter is one entitled A Jealous Love by Tim Challies. I highly recommend it to you.


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If I am happy it is because of God! God, in His sovereign grace, has called me out of darkness into His Admirable light. He has opened my eyes and has shown me the way to Eternal Life. He has set my feet on a journey, and now I am walking Daily on My Way to Heaven. I did not find Jesus, He found me. I did not seek Him, yet He called me. I did not love Him, yet He loved me. I deserved death and He gave me Life. This is the place where I keep a journal of my life under His sun and by His grace!
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"It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven... to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?"

Jonathan Edwards

"I am still pondering God's greatness in His creation. I have so many questions that I would like to ask the Lord about the universe, creation, the fall of man... But when I'm in heaven, I wonder if I will even remember them. At that time, being in the presence of God will be enough. I'm thankful that I can look forward to that day."


“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”

- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart

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