Friday, March 30, 2012

Calvin and Me - Part 3

Total Depravity

After what I have seen personally, and read in the Bible, it would be hard to convince me otherwise. The Pharisees, even after seeing the miracles of Jesus, only wanted to squash His ministry and eventually kill Him when things progressed. Does anyone else find it ironic that they wanted to kill a man who could raise people from the dead? They wanted to kill a man who knew what they were thinking? Talk about blind, these men were it.

I also think about my experiences at my previous church, University Christian Church of Muncie, Indiana. These men defended their pastor and their own line of thought without ever even listening to, let alone considering anything else. They violated Scriptural procedure, but certainly had their justifications for doing so. Now who does that sound like?

I see it in my classroom. One minute a student genuine repents of their behavior, promising to make a complete and total turn, only to quickly find themselves back in the same or worse behaviors than before.

Total depravity: The belief that there is nothing good in us, nothing that would cause us to turn to God without His divine intervention. For more on the subject, click here.

Try as I might, I cannot do anything good without God's help. It's not that I can't do things that might be considered good. But even in these things, without a cleansing and a turning brought about by the Spirit, I still am only seeking to fulfill my own sinful desires. Just like the elder son in the parable of the Prodigal, who stays and is obedient, but only because he values his inheritance, and not his father. This is evidenced by the response said son has when he finds out about his father's response to his brother's return.

Why does this appeal to me? Because it makes God's acceptance of me the basis of my salvation, and not my acceptance of Him! That is the ultimate beauty! God loves me, and sent His Son for me! Rather than a blanket, "Anyone who follows this formula" it becomes a loving act of a gracious God. I wish I could explain it better, and I will deal with this topic again under the P of Tulip, Predesination. But for know, since I am dealing with the idea of total depravity, I will stop there.

I know that Calvinists are not the only ones to believe in this doctrine. I think that is great. But for me, it just fits in with the puzzle of God and His grace as an intrical piece of their theology. Knowing that I have nothing good in me humbles me. It makes me bow down and beat my breast, just like the tax-collector did while the Pharisee stood near-by extolling his virtues to God in his prayer. It reveals to me a wonderful aspect of God's grace that I need to always keep before me. If Paul is the worst of sinners, I need to see myself as the second worst.

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