By Charles Woodruff
“As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Observing, even casually, the events of these days would seem to confirm the truth of
these verses, yet there are many, even religious people, who do not believe it.
Some teach that man is born basically good. He has at least “ a spark of goodness”
in their view. Yet the scriptural view is clear -- man is born in sin.
“The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they
be born, speaking lies“ (Psalm 58:3).
Since none are righteous from birth, all are born as depraved sinners. While the
word “depraved” is not found in the KJV, the synonym “corrupt” is found, and depravity
is certainly taught.
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which
is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22).
Certainly we do not always see this depravity of mankind in its worst display. Yet some events of late have surely been most deplorable in the eyes of the redeemed. Every day, even in the culture of America, we see it played out more and more. The recent disgusting events surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith is one example. Here was a woman, so self-centered in her life -- evidently all she wanted was the spotlight, and the money of that decrepit old man she married. First there was war with the family over the wealth he left to her. She managed to win a great sum in the courts. Then there was the tragic death of her 20 year old son, Daniel, who like Anna herself, took drugs “recreationally”. Recently she died, not surprisingly, from misuse of drugs, and now men are popping up all over to claim paternity of her orphaned baby. It is all about money! None of them, IMHO, give a rip about the child, not even Larry Birkhead, the one declared as the father. What a sad public display of human depravity.
Yet even more depraved are the recent senseless killings of many. First, the shootings in the Amish community of Lancaster, PA. Charles Roberts, the depraved killer of those in the Amish school, was so bent on this spree because of hatred of God, and warped sexual fantasies. The same thing could be said of the young Korean immigrant, Seung Hui Cho, whose diabolical plan of murder at Virginia Tech had at its core, hatred of Christianity. This is so evident in his writings and statements. 32 people, and himself, dead because of something in his warped mind. These two cases are extreme -- perhaps even demon possession. It certainly appears so with Cho, as it did with Charles Manson, and the Son of Sam killer some years ago. Even so, the natural depravity in all mankind, without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit to utterly, and drastically change the person, can lead to the greatest imaginable horrors. Unregenerate people are capable of any crime!
In spite of this, total human depravity is not being taught as a doctrine in many churches today. It must be taught if we are to understand mankind’s utter hopelessness and helplessness without “The living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe” ( I Timothy 4:10).
Sin controls every part of man. He is spiritually dead and blind, and unable
to obey, believe, or repent. He continually sins, for his nature is completely evil.
This is a concise statement on the doctrine of depravity. For more on this and all five points of Calvinism compared with Arminianism. (See the link on the right for The Highway website, and search on Calvinism and the Reformed Faith; then under Anthropology).
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)
CHAPTER VI. — Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.
I. Our first parents, begin seduced by the subtilty and temptations of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.
II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
III. They being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation.
IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
V. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.
VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.(London Baptist Confession of 1689 is essentially the same). It does have a better and fuller explanation of the fall as shown here:
Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof
1. Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honour; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them, in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory. (Genesis 2:16, 17; Genesis 3:12,13; 2 Corinthians 11:3 )