Updated: Jan 23
Lord our God, incline our hearts to your testimonies and not to our selfish gains, turn our eyes from looking at worthless things; and give us life in your ways. Let the truth of our total depravity and your endless grace resonate in our hearts. Open our eyes, that we may behold the wondrous things out of your law.
Teach us your way, O Lord, that we might walk in your truth and unite our hearts to fear your name. Let this knowledge of your truth satisfy our souls and overflow in a joyful praise of your name and the glorification of your Holy name.
(Pss. 119:36, 119:18, 86:11, 90:14)
How tremendously privileged am I that the truth of my total depravity is starting to change my view of life. Let’s look at a few passages that highlight the fact of total depravity as it affects us all:
...all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "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.
These passages (and there are many others) leave us in the state of total depravity where we as humans are morally unable and unwilling to seek God. This brings forth the question that every Christian has at least asked himself/herself at least once: Does God divinely elect or do humans have a free will to choose God as their saviour? Perhaps Scripture can help us here as well:
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
It is clear that no man can of himself come to God unless He draws us to Him. This however is not the topic of discussion. For a more thorough analysis on the topic take a look at the following article on Man's Choice, or Divine Election?
If we accept this fact that we cannot work ourselves into or out of the saving grace of God, does this then not mean that we "stop" living, since we already know we are going to heaven?
This question, at first, might seem logical. In one sense it is since we need not do anything to get to heaven anymore. So what's the point of living and making choices then? Is it all pointless? An illusion? There is one incredibly important fact that the question is passing over. What the question is missing has to do with the role of the Holy Spirit. For us to come to this point (repentance and true, saving faith in Christ) God sent to us the Holy Spirit as our Helper. This is very clear in John 14:25-26:
These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
This means that our realisation of our sinful nature implies that we have the Spirit of God as Paul states it in Rom 7:16-17
Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
The acknowledgement of our sin means that we agree that we are sinners and that God’s law is good. This acknowledgement then can only manifest in us if the Holy Spirit leads us to it. Coming back to what the question was missing: We forget that the Holy Spirit is within us, meaning that the question of us not living anymore becomes the same as whether we can choose God. We now have the indwelling of the Spirit, meaning we are morally incapable of doing nothing, or not living, because the Holy Spirit will move and direct our steps just as we are incapable of not choosing God because of the call of the Holy Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
This then finally brings me to the topic I want to discuss. Knowing now that we are dead in our sins (totally depraved), saved by grace and that the Holy Spirit leads us: How does this change our daily lives and why do we want or need to change for the better?
To clear up one last thought, my intention is not to discuss the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. For the reader that is interested in this topic I would suggest reading the book of A. W. Pink on The Sovereignty of God. This book is quite extensive and provides a lot of answers. My focus for the scope of this series is on the fact that we were given the Holy Spirit as our Helper and how this affects our daily lives. This will be our topic of discussion for 8 articles.
The Creation of Adam and our Purpose
The key concept to understand the topic is that Adam was created in the image of God.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
Being mad in the image of God, our main purpose is to glorify God here on earth, but as we now know sin entered the world and we are now dead in our sins and have no capacity to glorify God out of our own nature. We that were supposed to mirror the glory of God in this world no longer have the moral ability to glorify God. So now for us to be able to glorify God our nature needs to be changed. We need to become a new creation and continually undergo change, that is sanctification. Being made holy is a continual process until we, the bride, can be reunited with the bridegroom who is Jesus Christ. This process starts once we receive the Holy Spirit, given to us, the new creation, by God out of His grace and not our choice. You see the Son of God was the perfect image and brought glory to God. We now need to be conformed to this image from one glory to the next:
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
It is fascinating to see the past tense used in this passage: called, justified, glorified. It is a sure thing. Ask yourself why it is that God can talk about the future in the past tense and then try to read the article again.
It’s very important to notice and try to comprehend the magnitude of the grace we received. God did not need to make us brothers of Christ. He would have been righteous, unblemished if He rather chose to send us all to hell straight away. Furthermore, He definitely did not need to plant a seed in us to make us a new creation, which conforms us to the likeness of Christ, but yet He did. Think about this, think long and hard about what God has done and what it means.
Check out this sermon by Paul Washer.
Let it sink in.