The concept of total depravity is, of course, shocking. We like to think there are redeeming features in all people, and to a certain extent there are. However, the iceberg lies much deeper than we can see, and we are dealing with a God who is utterly higher than any mind can comprehend. We depend entirely on Divine revelation to know a) about our Creator and b) about our selves.
Abraham, despite knowing something of his own total depravity (dust and ashes Gen 18:27) struggled to accept the total depravity of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah (Oh let not the Lord be angry v.32), the city just being a Manchester or a San Francisco of its day, until the day of its infamous destruction. More shocking still is the extent to which sin can ruin not just the worldly but the supposedly religious, if not rooted in Christ.
The religious folk of Christ’s enfleshed days could not see the irony of I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Mk 2:17), blind to the fact that there are no ‘righteous’ outside of Christ. Moreover, Paul reasoned with the religious Galatians, whom he deeply loved, Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3:3). Evidently many of them could not at that stage see the extent to which, in and of themselves they were no better than the proud worldlings of their day.
As you and I struggle with our noxious, in-dwelling weeds, as we strive earnestly for the ‘fruit’ of the Holy Spirit, may we better grasp that blessed ladder between us and the holy and living God: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Ti 2:5) Let us put no faith in this world’s Titanics, and be found simply clinging to the Cross until we meet our Father – or Christ arrives in glory.
From somewhere very deep inside
comes foolish sin and stubborn pride,
oh it is more than to decide
it’s Christ Who in me must reside.
From somewhere very dark within
comes every anti-Christian sin,
it’s not enough to lose my sin
if I do not with Christ begin.
From somewhere very bad in me
comes all the heartache I can see,
thus only in Christ’s purity
do I find peace and surety.
From somewhere very good I think
comes through the Word the fact I stink,
God sees the place where I do blink
I’m weak, I need Christ, He’s my link.
The thought that mankind is able to improve itself runs like a current through the course of history. What is the theory of evolution, after all, if not that age-old philosophy of self improvement, repackaged and rendered pseudo scientific? And yet the Bible exposes all counterfeit philosophies and reveals the truth that man is fallen, damaged goods, depraved in every way (though not all to the same degree, and not all in the same proportion).
Whether the anti-Christ of Revelation is an empowered individual or the figurehead of an evil collective has been an area of debate. However, no Bible believing Christian would deny the Here is wisdom of Revelation 13:18. Aside from the specificity of Six hundred threescore and six, the personal application for us is that outside of Christ’s radically transformative power, we are doomed to be incomplete.
To a mind blinded by the philosophy and religion of this fallen order (2 Cor 4:4) it seems impossible to reconcile our condition (none righteous Rom 3:10) with His condemnation (there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth Rev 21:27).
Thank God that we are not left in the despair of futility and madness, a despair which God the Spirit outlines in Ecclesiastes. Praise the Lord that, however wretched we feel and how damning our diagnosis is, we can come to a knowledge of Christ, the soul’s true and only doctor.
Your life can get you not one inch
one foot from hell, one step to heaven,
for the sum of all your deeds
is six six six, the Lord is seven.
Righteousness, eternal rest
will suffer not one speck of sin,
for heaven is a holy place
only the just will enter in.
Your charity is filthy rags
only in Christ is there relief,
for sin’s deceitful, slippery
it wears you down with unbelief.
Repent, believe, are God’s commands
you cannot for yourself atone,
were you to offer all your blood
the Lord would still your soul disown.