# 9 Total Depravity
If you’ve been following along in this series in Romans from the beginning, you are aware that the theme of this epistle is The Righteousness of God. The first division of this epistle is Man’s Desperate Need of God’s Righteousness revealed in Romans 1:18-3:20.
Those in desperate need of God’s righteousness include:
1.The heathen described in Romans 1:18-32. Though they’ve never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this passage argues that they are without excuse.
2. The moralist are just as lost in their sins. we see from Romans 2:1-16.
3. The religious Jews are just as lost as the gentiles, we learn in Romans 2:17 – 3:9.
In the previous message we noted that sin is defined as:
1. being ignorant instead of knowing God’s revealed will and standard.
2. missing the mark or bull’s eye of His perfection.
3. overstepping the boundaries God has set for us and
4. falling short instead of standing fully in the will of God
THE TESTIMONY OF GOD’S WORD
I encourage you to read Romans 3:10-18 as we examine the testimony of God’s Word on this essential life and death issue of total depravity.
1. There is none righteous.
Paul quotes Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20 to show us that what he preaches is in harmony with the Old Testament. .
In this section of Romans we learn of the total depravity of the human race and that there is no exception. Compared with Jesus, the perfect standard; there is none righteous, no not one. Contrary to the teachings of some well known liberal preachers of the past, no one has even a spark of goodness in him which simply needs to be fanned into a flame of a righteous life. Jumping ahead to Romans 10:1-4 we learn in this section of Romans that Christ is our only righteousness. In Christ, God sees us perfectly righteous and fit for Heaven.
2. There is none that understands.
The major problem with sinners is not so much their sin as it is their self-righteousness which blinds them and makes them oblivious to their sin.
Not only are we not righteous, but Romans 3:11 teaches us that there is none who understands in his unregenerate state. Paul writes in I Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.”
3. There is none that seeks after God.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned in the Garden of Eden, the first thing they did was to try to hide from God. The prodigal son whom Jesus talked about in Luke 15 went into a far country to get just as far as possible from his father. Sinners avoid preachers and churches and Gospel web sites such as this one.
They flock to preachers and churches where sin and the Gospel are watered down and where psycho-babble is spouted, such as, “sin is an illness which requires counseling and treatment.” Sin may result in problems that require counseling and treatment, but sin itself is easily dealt with by simply confessing it to God. Read I John 1. He alone forgives, cleanses and enables us to overcome sin. But I John 1:8-10 warns us to never deceive ourselves into thinking we have become sinlessly perfect.
Are you grasping this? As a sinner we are not righteous. We don’t have any idea what salvation is all about and we don’t even seek to know God. At best, we have some foggy idea that salvation has to do with trying to live a good life so we can be deserving of Heaven. That is totally a lie from the devil.
I Corinthians1:18 states “That the preaching of the cross is to them who are perishing foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.”
Remember, man does not initiate seeking God. Rather, God seeks after man Luke 19:10 Therefore, seek Him while He may be found, we are warned in Isaiah 55:6-7.
It’s only when we have come to the end of ourselves and admit we are hopeless, helpless, lost sinners, unable to do anything to save ourselves; it’s only as we cry HELP to God, that He will come to our rescue and save us from our sins.
FAITH AND REASON
Salvation begins with faith and not with reason. There is no intellectual approach to God. Only when you are able and willing to admit you are a helpless, condemned lost sinner and that your Creator offers you salvation through the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross; only then does God enlighten your mind to understand salvation. Hebrews 11:3 says, “Through faith we understand.”
The Gospel is foolishness to the natural mind. We read in Proverbs 1:7 that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”
A CLOSE UP SHOT OF MAN
Before we leave this theme of man’s total depravity, let’s bring the TV cameras in for a close-up shot of man. See Romans 3:13-18 and Mark 7:21 for that close up shot. It’s not a nice sight. This is not the way our family, friends and neighbors see us. This is the way God sees us for God alone looks on the heart.
WHAT THEN IS THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S LAW? Romans 3:19-20
God’s Law is given; not to save us, but to show us our guilt and stop our boasting of our own failed righteousness. The Law alone convinced Saul of Tarsus he was a lost sinner. See Romans 7:12-13
Galatians 3:24-26 teaches us that God’s Law was given as our school master to bring us to our need of Christ. Read Galatians 3:24-26 until you see your need of Christ.
JESUS PAID IT ALL
In our fallen state, we are utterly bankrupt, unable to lift a finger to save our lost soul. If you are, becoming aware of your sinful state and inability to save your soul; cast yourself on Jesus who has paid the full penalty for our sins through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Appropriate by faith that blood sacrifice for sin, trusting that Jesus blood alone is sufficient to pay the penalty for all your sins.
When you take that step, God will instantly forgive all your sins and make you His child and deposit to your account His righteousness; just as surely as if a millionaire transferred a million dollars to your account and made you an instant milionaire. You receive that salvation by faith in the same way that you board a plane, sit down and enjoy the flight to your destination. Your ticket to Heaven and the gift of eternal life has been purchased for you by the blood of Christ. Will your receive His free gift by faith right now and instantly be given eternal life and begin your journey as a Christian?
You may ask, “What feelings must I have to know I am saved?” Feelings don’t save you, but I assure you that you will be filled with humility, gratefulness and joy and peace with God when by faith you grasp this wonderful salvation. Those are the feelings I had over seventy years ago when, as a nine year old boy, after receiving Christ as my Saviour, I went to bed that night with peace and joy that my sins were all forgiven and under the shed blood of Jesus. I assure you that if you are truly saved, you will not feel proud or self-righteous about yourself.
Have you seen yourself as God sees you? Have you come to the end of yourself, no longer trying to make yourself presentable to God? Do you see yourself utterly bankrupt of righteousness in the eyes of our righteous, holy God? Then there is hope for you. Jesus said in Matthew 9:13, “I am not come to call the righteous; but sinners to repentance.”
The story is told of Harry Ironside, a well known preacher of the past century. He had been preaching in a city. As he was boarding a train, somone on the station platform called out to him, “How can I be saved?” Ironside called back, “Go to Isaiah 53:6. Go in at the first ALL and come out at the last ALL.”
Let me quote the verse for you, and as you read it, subsitute your name for the ALL’s. “ALL we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him, JESUS, the iniquity of us ALL.”
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