Affirmation 2010 Point 3: Total Depravity

Having sung ‘Amazing Grace’ together, Alex Hutter took our class yesterday, 1st July 2012. Here is a summary of what was said.

The five points of Calvinism, refutes the five points of Jacob Hermon.
1500’s TULIP was devised in opposition to arminian heresy.
The teaching of ‘freedom of the will’ claims we have free will under the umbrella of God’s will. Arminian teaching is that man’s will is not bound by God. Yet we assert that it is bound, by my own sinful nature. Complete free will equates with the ability to choose good as easily as evil. But even God’s will is not free like that! He is holy – He will and can not choose evil.
Total depravity is different to saying man is absolutely depraved.  See Matthew 5:44-46
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
There is certainly the capacity for absolute depravity – we would all say ‘there but for the grace of God go I’, and, with the disciples, ‘Lord is it I? ‘ (cf.  Matt 26:22)
Total depravity means being ‘incapable of doing or desiring anything that is pleasing to God’.
Westminster confession was quoted:
we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good,[8] and wholly inclined to all evil,[9] do proceed all actual transgressions.
We have nothing to offer God. It is always important to remember this teaching was set up in opposition to free-will heresy.
Every aspect of our nature is tainted by sin; not one part of our being is unaffected.
Sanctification is different to morality. 
So cannot the heathen choose that which pleases God? Morality is about me, pride, self, man-centred. Some even use it to mock God – ‘look God, see how I can be moral without God’ – but in such boasting and arrogant blasphemy they just prove the point that their morality is flawed. Holy Isaiah found that all his ‘righteousness is as filthy rags’ (Is 64:6). The pharisee’s motives for good works are partly his own salvation.
Jn 14:15 and 21 show that the only proper motive to good works is love to God not love for the world, self or any other thing.
2 Tim 2:20-21 shows the path to doing that which is pleasing to God.
Isaiah 6:8
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
There is no pleasing God without faith and in my own strength (Heb 11:6). World religions claim there is some hypothetical balancing out of good and bad deeds.  But nothing unclean will enter heaven; just just one sin will bar us from heaven. Romans 8:7 means that, in the flesh, we cannot please God. So man cannot save himself.
Genesis 6:5 ‘Every every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’
Jeremiah 17:9 ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’
These are powerful verses. Man does not even seek God:  Romans 3:10-11
John 5:40: ‘ye will not come to me that he might have life’
We cannot receive the things of the spirit of God because they are spirituality discerned. People without spiritual life from above, from God are simply not listening. The Pastor sometimes speaks of the way that you can hold a ‘good’ conversation with someone about salvation by grace only for them then to walk off saying that they’ll ‘do their best’.
Sermons seem to just bounce off. This is so different when we are made alive to God.
Actually we love darkness rather than light John 3:19
Also see, Eph 2:4-5 man has nothing good to offer God except our vile heart?! Why give that to God and why would he want or accept it?!
People may well not accept that they’re as bad as that. Yet their perception of God is irrelevant – of course the gulf between what the scripture says and what people think is growing.
We see in the Scriptures that it is clearly God who saves.
Ps 3:8 salvation belongs unto the Lord.
It is his to give to who he pleases. See Romans 9:15-18, John 1:13, Eph 2:8 which answers the wrong thought that I could be saved by faith I generate.
Implications
TULIP tells us that salvation belongs to the LORD. So we ought to be more prayerful. Ask the God who can save. We’re told to pray. Total depravity is in fact an encouragement to evangelism and our own salvation. We are wary of hypercalvinism though. To be involved in this work is such a privilege. In reality, if we actually did nothing towards evangelism, not even prayer, we would prove there was no spiritual life in us. There is no need for an altercall: applying pressure on the will is wrong but also so is it wrong to give no call at all because how can they hear…
John 3 tells us ‘you must be born again’. But in general the gospel is ‘repent and believe’. If a doctor made a cure for your disease but only made it for his daughter – you would still bang on his door to get a shot of it. So sinners must go to God for the cure.
We must also avoid emotional pressure on sinners to make a decision.
Do not expect the world to behave like Christians – getting people to be more moral, as per the ‘social gospel’ will not work.
We should be very thankful for being saved by God as we could not do it ourselves.
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