TULIP - TOTAL DEPRAVITY

Through the centuries, some of the doctrines of God’s grace have been set forth by the acronym “TULIP”, which stands for

                                                          Total Depravity

                                                          Unconditional Election

                                                          Limited Atonement

                                                          Irresistible Grace

                                                          Perseverance of the Saints

Over the next few weeks, we want to share these glorious truths with our readers. We will start today with:

“Total Depravity”

What do we mean when we say that mankind is “totally depraved?”  Webster defines the word depravity as “corruption, perversion.”  Now, God didn’t make man that way.  Let’s not blame Him for it.  God made Adam good, and very good.  Yet, we read of Adam’s fall, his transgression that ruined him.  He became corrupt, perverted by his sin.  His sin brought death upon himself, and all of his posterity.  All of humanity, being descendants of Adam are depraved sinners.  This agrees with the biblical account of mankind.  Paul wrote, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”(Romans 4:12). Now if you can find a person who does not sin, if you can find one that will not die, you have found one that is not related to Adam.  Yet, we do not have to look far to see the consequences of Adam’s transgression.  We see death, depravity, and every moral perversion known to man all around us, a sure testimony that man is totally depraved. It amazes us that man blames God for his own perversions and atrocities.  He will shake his fist in the face of a God that he says he doesn’t believe in, and blame God for every evil act.  This is the depravity of depravity!  Man, left to himself, is at war with his own creator.  He hates God.  That is the finality of depravity.

When we say than man is totally depraved, we must also conclude that he is unable to save himself from his fallen condition.  If you saw a person drowning in the middle of the ocean you wouldn’t scream to them, “Save yourself from drowning”.  That would be preposterous.  Someone must come to his aid.  Since man can not save himself, there must be One who is mightier than sin, without sin, One that death has no hold on, who will come to the rescue.  That person is our Lord Jesus Christ.  This, thank God, is scriptural, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”(1 Corinthians 15:22).  The word “all” is representative.  Adam represented all of his seed. All of his seed fell by his sin.  Christ represented all of His seed, the elect.  All that He represented on the cross shall live with Him in glory because He lifted them from their fallen condition.  By His stripes we are healed.  

We are living in a man-centered age.  Much of the gospel that we hear today is man-centered.  Rather than representing man as the corrupt, bankrupt, guilty sinner, that he is, man is presented as basically good.  Rather than preaching that God must condescend and rescue man from his helpless estate, man is represented as just needing a little help, that there is something good within him, and if we can just fan that flame he can save himself.  But this is totally opposite of the biblical account of man.  The Bible presents man as depraved from his head to his foot, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-28). Some may be saying, “Now wait a minute preacher, I don’t think man is all that bad.”  That statement, by itself, is a confession of guilt.  Man, left to himself, will not, can not, see how bad he really is!  Until the Lord touches the sinner by His grace, and shows him his sinful estate, he will never seek God.  That is why this is a doctrine that represents God’s grace.  God must come first.  He finds His lost sheep, He shows them their sin, and then and only then will they seek a Savior. This is grace! –Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor, Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, Donaldson, AR. (Visit us at  HYPERLINK "http://www.harmonypbchurch.org" www.harmonypbchurch.org

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