Country music star Luke Bryan has a chorus to one of his chart-topping songs that says, “I believe most people are good.” Many people have sung those same lines while drunk in a bar hitting on someone they are not married to, which is curious.
The Bible’s version of the song would be, “I know all people are bad”. Theologians like to speak of our fallen sinful human condition with the theological term “total depravity”. Total depravity does mean, however, that we are totally sinful—our entire person is marred by sin. This includes the mind (Ephesians 4:18), the will (Romans 6:16–17), the emotions (Titus 3:3), and the physical body. (Romans 8:10) Subsequently, everyone is a sinner whose inclination is to live for the glory of anyone and anything other than God (Psalm 29:2; Rom. 3:23; 11:36; 16:27) and is altogether incapable of doing even “good” things for the purpose of pleasing and glorifying God. (Matthew 7:17–18; Rom. 8:7–8)
Total depravity helps explain why not everyone goes to Heaven. An analogy might be helpful on this point. In John 5, Jesus healed a man at a pool. He could have healed everyone but chose to heal only that man. He passed over the others who were present and wanted healing. Likewise, in the doctrine of predestination God heals some people spiritually while not doing the same for others. The truth is that God could save everyone, just as Jesus could have healed everyone when he was on the earth. Yet, because God is obligated to no one, the fact that he heals or saves anyone is a gracious gift since none of us can choose or earn salvation. Like any gift, there’s no reason to expect everyone to get that gift as a gift is by definition something special and unique not given to everyone.
Spend some time thanking God for sending His one and only Son to die for us despite the fact that we are totally depraved.
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.