Likely the most succinct explanation of total depravity is penned by Paul:
Romans 3:9-18 [nature] What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; [mind] no one understands; [motive] no one seeks for God. [will] All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; [deed] no one does good, not even one.” [word] “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” [body] “Their feet are swift to shed blood; [emotion] in their paths are ruin and misery, [soul] and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
When we visit a doctor for a checkup, it is common to be examined from head to toe. In a spiritual sense, Paul does this very thing in what is perhaps the most comprehensive explanation of total depravity in all of Scripture that includes quotes from seven Old Testament Scriptures. Paul is clear that sin infects and affects every aspect of our being:
- Nature – evil and sin is not just what you do, but who you are before Christ
- Mind – intelligence used to war against God not worship God
- Motive – we seek gifts, not the Giver, until God the seeker finds us
- Will – Jesus is “the way”, first believers were called “The Way”, and before Christ we have all “turned aside” from the way
- Deed – God’s good deeds are internal with our motivations and external with our actions so God sees that “no one does good”
- Word – our hearts are like a tomb that puts forth words with the stench of death
- Body – from wars to murder including abortion, we take life that God made
- Emotion – as unhealthy people we burden and harm others bringing “ruin and misery”
- Soul – we don’t know the Prince of Peace, have peace with God, or bring the peace of God
How have you seen total depravity affect these areas of your life?
This is an excerpt from Pastor Mark’s Romans 8-9 commentary Duck Duck Doom. You can get a free e-book copy by clicking here or get a physical copy for a gift of any amount during the month of March here.
To find the new, free Romans 6-11 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.