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Total Hereditary Depravity --
by Wayne Camp
Why It Is the Real Battleground
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him., If ye continue
in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed,
and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made
free" (Jn. 8:31-33).
When Jesus told these professors that the truth would make them
free they immediately rebelled against the idea that they had ever been
in bondage. "We were never in bondage," they cried. In this angry response
they manifest the fact that the real battle ground in the doctrine of grace
is not election, the effectual call, or the extent of the atonement; the
real battle ground is the doctrine of total depravity. It is not pleasant
to the natural man to expose his true and total corruption in heart, mind,
and body. That our hearts are "deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked" is repugnant to our pride and high estimation that we have
Sadly, much of the most fierce opposition to this Biblical doctrine
comes from within the ranks of "Christendom." All kinds of objections are
raised by preachers because they see that if they ever admit that man is
as depraved as the Bible says that he is, they must also admit the necessity
of the other doctrines which they hate. One great enemy of the doctrines
of grace, Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, confessed in his magazine that, if
one accepts as true the doctrine of total depravity, he must also accept
the doctrines of election, effectual call, limited atonement, and preservation
and perseverance of the saints. He declared that one who rejects any of
the others must reject total depravity also. He argues correctly that total
depravity requires an effectual call, etc. Therefore, this arch enemy of
truth declares his rejection of all five doctrines mentioned.
Why is total depravity the real arena of controversy? There are
several reasons that will be considered in this article.
TOTAL DEPRAVITY MORTALLY WOUNDS THE PRIDE AND SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
There is nothing that is more repugnant to the pride and self-righteousness
of man than the doctrine of total depravity. To confront men with the fact
of their total ruin in the fall is to sound a war-cry and those who preach
and teach this Biblical doctrine must be prepared to face heated and hateful
opposition from within the ranks of Baptists as well as other sources.
To tell man that he is morally incapable of elevating himself from the
pit of his depravity is an affront to his self-righteousness and self-sufficient
Total depravity teaches that men are dead spiritually. "And
you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins ... even when
we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened us together with Christ" (Eph.
2:1,5). "And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your
flesh hath he quickened together with him" (Col. 2:13). Man may admit
to some spiritual infirmity and confess that he needs some slight assistance
to elevate himself spiritually but to admit that he is dead spiritually
is repugnant to his pride. To tell the proud that they are as bad off spiritually
as dead, stinking Lazarus was bad off physically, is devastating to their
self-esteem. Until Jesus Christ imparted physical life to Lazarus he could
not flick an eye lash, wiggle a toe, or make any move toward the door of
his imprisoning tomb.
Unless God quickens the dead sinner he will never leave his dead
spiritual state. He is as helpless to raise himself spiritually as was
Lazarus to raise himself physically. "But" cries the objector (as one baptist
preacher once said to this writer) "Man is not so dead spiritually that
he cannot at least take the first step in coming to Christ. "Are there
degrees of death, physical or spiritual? can one be dead, deader, or deadest?
One walks into a cemetery and can he say correctly: "The fellow in that
grave is deader than the one in yonder grave?" To be dead is to be dead.
The same is true in the spiritual realm. It is therefore declared in the
scripture: "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them:
even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." James attests to the same
truth: "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth" (James
1:18). John writes of those who received Christ that they were enabled
to do so because they "were born, not of blood, nor the will of the
flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn. 1:13). As before seen
Paul declares that God "hath quickened us together with Christ"
(Eph., 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13). The natural man can no more contribute to giving
himself spiritual life than he can to giving himself physical life. This
hurts his pride; therefore he objects to being told he is "so dead."
Total depravity contradicts the theory and false notion that many
unregenerate people are really good at heart. Over the years this editor
has preached the funeral of a number of unsaved people. In at least 90%
of those situations some family member was sure to tell him; "Bro. Camp,
she (or he) was not a professing Christian but she was really a good person
at heart." Can one believe that any unregenerate person is "really good
at heart" when the testimony of God is diametrically opposed to such an
idea. The Holy One of heaven tells us that "The heart is deceitful above
all things, and DESPERATELY WICKED: who can know it" (Jer. 17:9). "The
imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Gen 8:21). "The
heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" (Eccl. 8:11).
"The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their
heart while they live" (Ecc. 9:3).
"Out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries,
fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness,
an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these things come from
within, and defile the man" (Mk. 7:21-23). God certainly does not present
a pretty picture and comforting picture of the hearts of men. None are
"good at heart" in their unregenerate state. To declare this to most people
is offensive and repulsive for they have been deceived by their deceitful
heart into thinking more highly of themselves.
Total depravity denies that those born of the flesh have any natural
goodness in them. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," declared
Jesus. Paul declares that in the flesh, "dwelleth no good thing" (Rom.
7:18). In view of this total absence of good in the flesh he declares:
"So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:8).
The unregenerate man has no good in him because he is only born of the
flesh. Tell him that and he rebels.
Total depravity declares man incapable of performing spiritually
meritorious acts and deeds. It should be pointed out at this point that
total inability is not a separate doctrine from total depravity. Total
inability is one of the fruits and effects of man's total depravity.
The scriptures clearly teach that man is incapable of doing for
himself and of his own motivation those things necessary to and involved
in his salvation. Salvation includes a radical change in nature which produces
a great change in practice. man cannot effect such a change for himself.
"Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may
ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23). If the
Ethiopian could change his skin by his own will, or if the leopard could
will a change in his spots we might have grounds to believe that a man
can will a change in his nature. But man is no more capable of changing
his nature than is a leopard capable of changing his spots. To tell him
of his terrible inability is very distasteful to man.
Man cannot will his regeneration. We have before pointed out that
the new birth is not of man but is a work of God. He wills regeneration
and effects it or it does not happen. "Of his own will begat he us"
(James 1:18). God "quickens" those whom he will quicken (John 1:13; Eph.
2:1, 5; Col. 2:13).
Man is so blind spiritually that he is incapable of seeing or
entering the kingdom of God "except" he is born again. Therefore, Jesus
said: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God"
(Jn. 3:3). "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because
they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14). To comprehend, understand,
and act upon spiritual truth one must be born of God. The natural man with
his exalted opinion of his intellectual abilities is prone to rebel when
he is told he is incapable of perceiving spiritual truths.
In his unregenerate condition man does not have the ability to
come to Christ. There is no power on earth that can bring him to the Saviour.
The preacher may preach, plead, brow beat, and do what he will but he cannot
bring one to Christ. A mother may pray, and weepingly plead but she cannot
bring her son to Christ. Not one, will ever come of his own inclination.
"No man," declared Jesus, "can come to me, except the Father
which hath sent me draw him" (Jn. 6:44). He further said: "It is
the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that
I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life ... therefore said
I unto you, that NO MAN CAN COME UNTO ME, except it were given unto him
of my Father" (Jn. 6:63, 65). Now, Dear Reader, the question is not
one of willingness to come in these verses. The matter with which the Lord
deals in these verses is the ability to come, an ability which must be
given by the Father or none can come. Man was so debilitated in the fall
that he simply cannot come to Christ unless God gives him the ability to
come. In his natural state man imagines: "I can come to Christ whenever
I please. I will decide the time and the place. It will be at my own choosing."
Tell him that he cannot come, ever, unless the Father enables him to, is
too much for his pride and ego and he rebels. Preachers rebel because it
takes away much of the punch of their invitations. it is a rebuke to their
sermons on "easy- believism" and their high-pressure "altar calls." No
man will come, no man can come to Christ until the Father gives him the
ability to come!
The depraved sinner, apart from the regenerating grace of God,
cannot hear the word of God. Oh, Yes! He can hear the audible sound and
know what the words are. Some men, lost men, even pride themselves in being
able to quote many verses of Scripture. I once knew an atheist who could
quote more verses of Scripture than many preachers. He had a good head
knowledge, a historical, factual knowledge of the Old Testament and New
Testament. He had searched the Scriptures for seeming contradictions. He
knew every passage where our "God of love" had ordered the death of someone.
He loved to call a Christian's attention to those supposed blots on the
character of God. He tried to find flaws in the Word, so he studied the
Bible but never "heard" it. Like those Jews to whom Jesus preached in the
temple. "Why do ye not understand my speech?" he asked them. Then
he answered his own question with these words: "Even because ye cannot
hear my word" (Jn. 8:43). Jeremiah wrote: "To whom shall I speak,
and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised,
and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach;
they have no delight in it." (Jer. 6:10). Physically, these people
may have the sharpest of ears. They may hear sounds that escape most of
us. Their problem is spiritual deafness, a problem for which God has the
answer. "The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even
both of them" (Prov. 20:12). Much of modern-day evangelism is predicated
upon the idea that all men, without exception, have the ability to hear
and act upon the preached word. It angers the "soul winner" to tell him
that his efforts will be totally a failure (as he judges success and failure)
unless God gives his listeners a hearing ear.
The unregenerate are dead and DEAD MEN CAN'T COME. This was previously
discussed. Men resent this. Much of what is preached today to lost men
is done in a way that totally ignores this dead condition. One preacher
said to me: "If lost men are that dead, we are powerless to help them.
Why even preach to them if they are so dead that they can't come." My answer
was and is: "We preach because we are commanded to preach. We preach because
it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
When it pleases him to do so God will quicken those to whom we preach so
that they can and will come to Christ and be saved.
The unregenerate cannot believe on Christ. Those who preach an
"easy-believism" message, as we sometimes refer to a message, are angered
when we preach that the natural man cannot believe on Christ. His objection
is both doctrinal and practical. Doctrinally, he objects because most believe
that repentance and faith produce regeneration. Therefore, he holds that
an unregenerate person can savingly believe on Jesus Christ. Therefore,
he seeks, by every means possible, to wage such an intellectual battle
with the lost man that he can persuade him to believe on Christ.
His objection to the doctrine that the unregenerate cannot hear
is a practical objection, also. Every sermon he prepares, every illustration
he uses, every invitation he issues is designed to literally overwhelm
the lost man with intellectual and emotional arguments that will literally
suck him into a profession of faith. If that lost man is truly incapable
of believing, such tactics are ineffective. When God does grant one the
necessary faith these tactics are very unnecessary.
Can the natural man believe on Christ? The Apostle John wrote:
"But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed
not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which
he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? And to whom hath the arm
of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they COULD NOT BELIEVE" (Jn. 12:37-39).
Faith is a gift which God graciously grants when he regenerates a sinner
and no amount of persuasive preaching can cause the unregenerate to believe.
The unregenerate is spiritually impotent. He may be a giant of
a man physically. He may be extremely strong. He may be strong morally
as any Christian. When it comes to spiritual ability, however, this unregenerate
giant is totally impotent. Paul writes of this impotence and says: "When
we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly"
(Rom. 5:6). He is incapable of keeping the law of God. He "is not
subject to the law of God, neither indeed CAN be" (Rom. 8:7). He is
without the power to find his way to God for he is in darkness. "The
way of the wicked is darkness: they know not at what they stumble"
(Prov 4:19). "They meet with the darkness in the daytime, and grope
in the noonday as in the night" (Job 5:14). When we teach this we will
awaken the ire that lies in man's depraved nature. Yet we must preach and
teach total depravity even though telling a man he is blind, dead, impotent
and incapable of spiritual good in his natural state will cause his natural
hatred of truth to rise up violently.
TOTAL DEPRAVITY IMPLIES AND NECESSITATES OTHER DOCTRINES WHICH ARE
HATEFUL TO THE NATURAL MIND
In an article in which he attempts to refute the doctrines of sovereign
grace, Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart wrote: "Personally, I've always maintained
that if the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is accepted then
(if a person is honest) he must accept the total depravity of man, unconditional
election, the limited atonement of Jesus Christ, and irresistible grace.
Obviously this final erroneous doctrine (which has caused untold millions
of people to die and go to hell) is irrevocably linked to the preceding
doctrines ... any attempt to divorce the perseverance of the saints from
irresistible grace, the limited atonement, unconditional election, and
the total depravity of man is futile. If you believe in one of these, you
have to believe in all of them" (The Evangelist, Sept. 1983, p. 9).
Swaggart is an avowed enemy of all of these Bible doctrines but
was right when he said that "if you believe in even one of these, you have
to believe in all of them." Many, who would otherwise accept the doctrine
of total depravity, rebel against it because of other interrelated doctrines.
Since man is totally depraved and totally incapable of coming to Christ
of himself, an effectual call is necessary if any of Adam's posterity is
to be saved. One can only come to Christ if DRAWN by the heavenly Father.
This drawing and ability to come to Christ must be given by the Father
(Jn. 6:63, 65). One can only give attendance to the preached word if the
Lord opens his heart (Acts 16:14). One can only come if quickened into
life by the power and will of God (Jn. 1:13; Eph. 2:1).
One who is spiritually deaf cannot come until God gives him a
hearing ear (Matt. 11:15; Prov. 20:12). One can only come if God causes
him to approach unto the Lord (Psa. 65:4). They must be made willing by
Divine power (Psa. 110:3; Phil. 2:13).
Since there is an effectual call that always results in the justification
of those effectually called ("Whom he called, them he also justified")
(Rom. 8:29-30), and since all are not effectually called, there must be
an election of those who will be called. That this is true is seen in Psa.
65:4. "Blessed is the man whom thou CHOOSETH and CAUSETH to approach
unto thee" (Psa. 65:4). "Thy people shall be willing in the day
of thy power" (Psa. 110:3). "Whom he did FOREKNOW (electingly love),
he also did PREDESTINATE to be conformed to the image of his Son ... Moreover
whom he did PREDESTINATE them he also CALLED: and whom he CALLED, them
he also JUSTIFIED: and whom he JUSTIFIED, them he also GLORIFIED." (Rom.
8:29-30). All those upon whom God set his electing love are predestinated,
called, justified, and glorified. There is not the loss of a single person
in this unbreakable chain. Not One!
We must admit that many live and die who are not justified. Many
never come to know Christ as Saviour. Since all whom God calls in the manner
set forth in this passage are justified, all must not be called in this
manner, for all are not justified. An effectual call to some, but not all,
definitely implies an election of some to salvation. The chosen are caused
to approach unto Christ. His people are made willing to come to Christ.
Those given to Christ and those who come to Christ are the same
folk. Jesus declared unequivocally: "ALL that the Father giveth me SHALL
come to me" (Jn. 6:37). Those given to Christ and those who receive
eternal life are the same, for Christ's declared purpose in having power
over all flesh is "that he should give eternal life to AS MANY as thou
hast given him" (Jn. 17:2). Those receiving salvation and those chosen
thereunto are the same folk. "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election
of God ... We are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved
of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning, CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION
through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (1 Thes.
1:4; 2 Thes. 2:13).
Repeatedly, we see election and an effectual call by the regenerating
power of God inseparably linked together. Total depravity necessitates
an effectual call and the doctrine of an effectual call establishes the
truth of Divine and Sovereign election unto salvation since all are not
effectually called. If man were not totally depraved these two doctrines
would not be necessitated and established. The totally depraved are shut
up to a gracious and effectual call, for without it none would ever be
Since only the elect of Adam's depraved race will be effectually called
and justified, this leads one to the logical and Scriptural conclusion
that the atonement is limited to the elect in its efficacy. We place no
limit on the value of the atonement which Christ made. Its value is so
infinite that we will not limit it in value.
On the other hand it should be said that an atonement merely made
possible or available is no atonement at all. We believe in and proclaim
an atonement that really does atone.
Therefore we conclude that we are on Scriptural ground when we
say that the objects of the atonement are none other than the elect, the
called, the justified. God declared: "By his knowledge shall my righteousness
servant justify MANY for he shall bear THEIR iniquities" (Isa. 53:11).
The many who will be justified are those whose iniquities Christ shall
bear. In verse 12 we read: "He bear the sin of many." Christ declared
that he came "to give his life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28).
Again he said when instituting the Lord's supper: "This is my blood
of the new testament, which is shed for MANY." God gave Christ power
over all flesh, "that he should give eternal life to AS MANY as thou
hast given him" (Jn. 17:2). Paul wrote: "Christ was once offered
to bear the sins of MANY" (Heb. 9:28). "By the obedience of one,"
wrote Paul, "MANY shall be made righteous" (Rom. 5:19). God foreknew
and predestinated many that Christ "might be the firstborn among MANY
brethren" (Rom. 8:29).
We have seen that the MANY whose iniquities Christ shall bear
is the MANY whom he will justify (Isa. 53:11). He was given power over
all flesh, "that he should give eternal life to AS MANY" as the
Father had given unto him. He was called Jesus for "he shall save HIS
PEOPLE from their sins." "I pray not for the world, but for them which
thou hast given me," prayed Jesus (Jn. 17:19). "I have manifested
thy name unto the men which thou hast given me out of the world" (Jn.
17:6). "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for
the SHEEP" (Jn 10:11). "I lay down my life for the SHEEP" (Jn
Total depravity necessitates an effectual call if any are to be
saved. Since all are not called effectually, this implies an election that
is sovereign and unconditional. A sovereign and unconditional, gracious
election logically and scripturally establishes the doctrine of a limited
atonement. "Christ took hold of a special class, and a definite number,
known by the Father, to succor and to save, and whom he calls the 'Seed
of Abraham; His Seed; His Sheep; The lost sheep of the house of Israel.'
To save none others was He specially sent into the world. 'I was not
sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel: (Matt. 15:24)"
(Seven Dispensations, J. R. Graves, Published by the Baptist Sunday School
Committee of the American Baptist Association, p. 100).
PRESERVATION AND PERSEVERANCE
How are the doctrines of preservation and perseverance irrevocably linked
with total depravity? The answer is simple. Since the saved retain their
old fallen nature after regeneration they must be preserved by Divine power
for they cannot keep themselves from utterly falling into sin. We must
have the motivating power of God to cause us to will and to do his good
Are the saints Divinely preserved? salvation is a gracious gift
of God, not wages for service. "The gifts and calling of God are without
repentance (are irrevocable)" (Rom. 11:29). Since salvation is an irrevocable
gift of God it must be secured by Divine power. The saved are "preserved"
in Christ who "is able to keep you from falling, and to present you
faultless before the presence of his glory with exceedingly joy" (Jude
When God graciously quickens one of his elect he imparts saving
faith which causes that born-again person to commit his soul into the safe-care
of Jesus Christ. We need never fear that we will be lost again, for as
Paul wrote: "I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and
am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him
against that day" (2 Tim 1:12). Of the child of God David wrote: "Though
he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him
with his hand" (Psa. 37:24). "The Lord forsaketh not his saints;
they are preserved forever" (Psa. 37:28). Here David clearly teaches
the preservation of the saved. We are preserved forever because the Lord
holds us in his hand. In this same vein Jesus said: "My sheep hear my
voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal
life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out
of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no
man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" (Jn. 10:27-29).
Could one ask for a better preserving force than our blessed Lord here
Do men actually hate a doctrine which assured the perseverance
and preservation of the saved? Listen to Heretic Jimmy Swaggart: "Does
a person lose his free will simply because he gets saved? In other words
when a person gets saved, accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord of
his life, does he then lose his freedom to make decisions? The question
is, of course, ridiculous.
"No, a person does not lose his free will, or his freedom of choice,
when he is saved. If anything, salvation enhances a person's freedom and
state of being a free moral agent. The individual retains the ability and
power to say 'yes' or 'no' to God -- or to anyone else. Just because someone
becomes a Christian in no way subverts his freedom to make decisions. We
use our own personal will to get in, and if we so desire we can use our
same free will to get out." Swaggart referred to the preservation of the
saints as an "erroneous doctrine which has caused untold millions of people
to die and go to hell" (Ibid. p. 9). Again he wrote of the five doctrines
we have herein shown to be Scriptural, in this manner: "You can see how
Satan has woven his web of deceit piece by piece -- and all to destroy
untold millions. Unfortunately he's been successful in his quest" (ibid.).
Again, of preservation Swaggart wrote: "There are millions in hell ...
because they believe this pernicious doctrine of the perseverance of the
saints. The doctrine is fallacious, unscriptural, and ungodly" (Ibid.).
Yes, false teachers, ministers of Satan such as Jimmy Swaggart, have transformed
themselves as apostles of Christ and spout forth their hatred of truth
while many Baptist say: "I sure do like Jimmy Swaggart, or Oral Roberts,
or some other ravening wolf in sheep's clothing.
TOTAL DEPRAVITY, IN ESTABLISHING AND NECESSITATING THESE OTHER DOCTRINES,
THEREBY ESTABLISHES THE DOCTRINE OF ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY IN THE BESTOWAL
OF HIS GRACIOUS FAVORS.
Dr. J. R. Graves wrote: "It is quite impossible to bring an unprejudiced
mind and a balanced reason to the examination of these questions. All Bible
readers have taken position; and the verdict of the world is made up: and
how difficult to reverse or modify it. They involve the sovereignty of
God in the bestowment of his favors. All men are by nature Arminians; and
the absolute sovereignty of God is a doctrine hateful to the natural and
depraved heart. False teachers have taken advantage of this natural feeling,
and have for ages have inflamed the prejudices of Christian men and women
against any exercise of sovereignty on the part of God in this covenant,
either as to his 'determinate counsels,' his electing love, or his distinguishing."
This enmity of truth is reflected in Swaggart's words again when
he wrote: "To believe that He would hang on that bloody cross for just
a select ministry is blasphemous. This act of total love had to be for
the whole world -- or for none at all. If even one person would be excluded,
the whole concept of salvation and redemption becomes a farce" (Ibid. p.
Regardless of man's hatred of this Sovereignty in salvation, it
is still true. Jesus is sovereign in the revealing of the father. "No
man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father,
save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Matt.
11:27). Jesus clearly reveals who it is to whom he wills to reveal the
Father. "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me
out of the world" (Jn. 17:6). Jesus quickens into spiritual life whom
he wills to quicken. "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth
them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will" (Jn. 5:21). James wrote
of God and said: "Of his own will begat he us" (James 1:18).
God chose whom he would without any respect to any good or evil
seen or foreseen in them (Rom. 9:11-12). He loved Jacob as he willed and
hated Esau as he willed (Rom. 9:13). He is gracious to whom he wills to
be gracious and he hardens whom he wills to harden (Rom. 9:14-18). He takes
a piece of clay and out of it he makes one vessel unto honor and another
unto dishonor as he wills, of that clay he makes one vessel of wrath fitted
to destruction and another vessel of mercy which he has before prepared
for glory as he wills. On one vessel he wills to show his wrath, on another
he wills to manifest his mercy. And none of his creatures should say to
him: "Why hast thou made me thus?" (Rom. 9:19-24).
In the matter of salvation, as well as in other areas, God must
be sovereign. "He must either rule, or be ruled; sway or be swayed; accomplish
his own will, or be thwarted by His own creatures" (A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty
of God, p. 17). The throne of God is a throne of grace and that grace is
Sovereignly bestowed by the Sovereign who occupies the throne. Man, by
nature hates the Bible doctrine of Divine sovereignty. He especially hates
the exercise of sovereignty in the bestowal of grace and mercy. Since total
depravity requires and establishes the effectual call, election, etc.,
which in turn establish and enforce the sovereignty of God in his covenant
mercies, we once again are made to see that the real battle ground is the
doctrine of total depravity.
TOTAL DEPRAVITY FORCES MEN TO GIVE GOD ALL THE GLORY
Man hates those doctrines which give God all the glory for his salvation.
He deserves all the glory, for "Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah
2:9). Jesus is "the way" to the Father. salvation is in Jesus Christ
and in none other (Acts 4:12). those doctrines which we have considered
in this article, especially total depravity, forces us to give God all
the glory for every aspect of our salvation from regeneration to glorification.
Salvation is of the Lord entirely or there would be no salvation for totally
depraved folk. But how men do hate to give God all the glory. For many
reasons, therefore, the real theological battle-ground has, for ages, been
the doctrine of total depravity.
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