Conclusion of last week’s blog post:
It may be difficult to find an age in which the denial of total depravity and the exaltation of man’s self-worth has been more openly propagated than today. These are extremely dangerous tools of Satan that feed the appetite of fallen man’s pride. Over and over we are told that Jesus died for us because ‘we were worth it.’ However, to deny man’s total sinful nature as stated in such passages of Scripture as Romans 3:10-19, 23, is also to deny that man’s salvation is totally of grace. God saves us by grace and not because of any inherent good or worthiness in man (see Romans 5:6-8 and Eph. 2:8,9).
The unbeliever is attracted to a message that actually says that the subject of sin should be avoided since it is harmful for a person’s self-image. It depresses and alienates people. It is too hostile toward our fellow man. Man is basically good — he just needs some guidance and encouragement. All that Christianity should do is bring him to this realization of the basic high value of the “self.”
At the foundation of a host of ideas which repudiate the teaching of the total sinful nature of man is denial. It is not just his sin that he is denying, but God Himself. Remember what Romans 1:20 and 21 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (emphasis mine).
Given the totality of man’s depraved nature, we can easily understand how and why he denies the extent of that sin. Therefore, all these errors are to be understood as a part of man’s depravity. It is only a true understanding of the depth of man’s sin which enables us to comprehend the sinful actions of men today — especially their rejection of the gospel. We hear the “New Age” theologians speak about the love and truth that is within all people. The ugly fact is that because of the fallen nature of man there is a great deal of hatred within us. By nature, man hates God and his neighbor (see Matt. 10:22; Jn. 15:18,19; 17:14; Rom. 3:10-12; 8:7; I Jn. 3:13,14; Heidelberg Catechism Q. 5).
It is sometimes said that “God hates sin, but He loves the sinner.” If that were the case then He would send sin to hell and save the sinner. But he does not do this. Rather, the Scriptures warn us over and over that God will send judgment and cast all unbelievers into everlasting punishment. It is a vain and idealistic attempt by some to detach sin from the sinner — something only God can do.
Perhaps this is done to make God look better — more loving and compassionate. It actually makes Him look foolish, inconsistent, insincere, and unjust. II Peter 2:3-18 is a strong warning about the punishment that God will bring on unrepentant sinners. It is a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31), who is a “consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29).
The trouble with these approaches is that if you do not come face to face with the seriousness of man’s sin, how can you begin to speak of salvation? In proportion to the true and total depravity of sin will we see the true and total greatness of our salvation. The difference for man is like the difference of being healed from a bad disease and being brought back from the dead. To be consistent, the Arminian should also teach that Jesus did not actually have to die and rise again, but just get very, very sick, and be healed. They do not teach this, but the fact that Jesus had to actually die is due to the fact, and full proof, that His people were dead in their sins.
Blog post content is taken from Rev. Paul Treick’s book, Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism, available for purchase. We post it here with the gracious permission of the author.
If you’d like to read the blog series from the beginning, start here.