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Radical Depravity: Our Desperate Condition

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
August 8, 2022 12:01 am

Radical Depravity: Our Desperate Condition

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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August 8, 2022 12:01 am

Many people think we are generally good by nature, but God's Word paints a strikingly different picture. Today, Steven Lawson turns to the gospel of John to emphasize the depth of our sin and our desperate need for God's sovereign grace.

Get Steven Lawson's Teaching Series 'The Doctrines of Grace in John' DVD and Digital Study Guide for your Gift of Any Amount: https://gift.renewingyourmind.org/2300/doctrines-grace-john

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Today on Renewing Your Mind. No one was born in a state of spiritual neutrality that no one was straddling the fence 1 foot in the light 1 foot in the darkness and catering back and forth every one was born physically in a state of hating the light to use ministries to see who people believe about a wide range of theological topics.

We asked him to respond to a number of statements including this one. Everyone seems a little but most people are good by nature, 65% agreed with that statement more discouraging was the fact that almost half of the evangelical Christians were surveyed, 47% read the word of God.

Painting radically different human condition going to summer study is Dr. Steven Lawson, but we want to talk about is the first main heading of the doctrines of grace which is radical corruption or radical depravity, sometimes called total gravity. Now, the reason we need to focus here. First, is because before we talk about what the Lord has done for us by his sovereign grace. We need to understand where we once were, where the Lord found us the good news is never good news until we first know what the bad news is, and so we'll talk about the bad news today that a full understanding of the bad news takes the good news, phenomenal news, it makes it glorious and great news.

This will be like the black velvet backdrop upon which the diamond of God's sovereign grace will be placed.

When I became engaged to my wife many years ago I went into the jewelry store to purchase the engagement ring and to buy a diamond that would be set into the stem and the jeweler pulled out the diamond and it looked okay but then he pulled out the black velvet backdrop and he laid it on the counter and then with that dime and he placed it on the black velvet backdrop and it was like every light in that jewelry store was pulled through the diamond just instantly and that diamond began to radiate. It was like the diamond was on fire.

There was so much beautiful color that was being pulled through that dime and it was all because the black velvet backdrop was placed behind the diamond will and a little bit working, pulled the diamond itself out.

But before we do that we need to spend this session and the next session, putting the black velvet backdrop onto the counter and the darker we can make it the brighter will be the glow of the diamond that were not going to make the black velvet backdrop any darker than what the Scripture says that it is we want to hear from the word of God. What is the state of unconverted man and what we will discover is that man because of Adam's sin is in a dreadful place is called radical depravity and the word radical really conveys the idea of comprehensive that from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet.

The entirety of his person is suffering the plague and the death of sin.

When Adam sinned the whole human race fell into sin, and with each conception. Subsequently, generation by generation. There has been the transference of the Adamic sin nature to every person. And so we need to understand the pervasiveness of sin. He took a drop of Sinai and put it in a glass of water that droplets Sinai will permeate the whole, such that no matter what part of the glass. You might drink from the Sinai. The poison has found its way into the whole.

That's the picture with Adam's sin, it has permeated not only every person in the human race. But every part of every person mind, emotion, and yes even will are subject to the pervasive radical plague of sin. So what I want to do in this session is for us to walk through the gospel of John and we will walk our way maybe halfway through in the next session will go the other half of the way regarding this important doctrine of radical depravity. You tell me what you believe about radical depravity. You tell me your understanding of total depravity and I'll tell you everything else you believe about salvation as it relates to these doctrines of grace. Once this is set in place your begging for sovereign election you're begging for irresistible grace.

Once we understand how far man has fallen into sin. So I hope you got your Bibles in your lap and you're ready to walk through the gospel of John with me and again I want us to see this from this fourth gospel. So you some headaches all right.

Some headings to help us walk through. I have nine major passages. I want us to look at not only the session so rested 80s but first I want you to see in John 19 through 11 spiritual ignorance that there is a spiritual ignorance of who Christ is and the gospel that has darkened the minds of every person born into this world.

In John one verse nine we read, there was the true light. Now this is a reference to Jesus Christ, true meaning.

Real, genuine, authentic, and analyte.

Speaking of the holiness of God and the truth of God and the purity of God. There was the true light which coming into the world and lightens every man he was in the world and the world was made through him, no watch this next phrase at the end of verse 10 and the world did not know him. How blind can blind be Jesus Christ. This is who created the world and in his incarnation, he came into the very world that he created and when he stepped into this world and human flesh, and stood before people, and live the perfect and sinless life taught as no man has ever taught perform a miracle after miracle after miracle lived under the law and kept every point of the law no man ever lived with such holiness and perfection, as did the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet while in the world in bodily flesh, the world did not even recognize that he is the son of God.

He is the creator of heaven and earth. How blind can blind be how ignorant can ignorant be in verse 11 he came to his referring to the very world that Jesus created and those who were his own did not receive him as a blanket statement.

If Jesus Christ were to come back today and live among us.

People still would not recognize that he is the son of God, the Son of Man, the creator of heaven and earth.

Even though he were to live a sinless and perfect life before us and claim to be the son of God and perform the miracles again.

Mankind is not becoming smarter and smarter and smarter on a sense he is. But in a spiritual sense, he is just as plagued with spiritual ignorance is when Jesus first came. That's why verse 13 of John one it says those who were born, referring born of God. Note the threefold negative will look at this verse later in a future session, not of blood, meaning not of human lineage, not of the will of the flesh, meaning not by their human efforts and works, nor of the will of man, meaning man's will is even in bondage to sin. This is where the gospel of John begins. It is a startling statement that Jesus Christ when he came into this world in flesh and blood. The world did not recognize him and I want to submit to you today that the world still does not recognize the Lord Jesus Christ and the only way that any one of us in this room ever has come to recognize Christ is that the Lord has made it known to us flesh and blood is not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven.

Jesus said to the disciples, and so it is we have available over our eyes.

Second Corinthians 43 says our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. Second Corinthians 4 forces, the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving first Corinthians 214 says the natural man does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him that word foolishness is the same word from which we derive the English word moron. It's moronic.

They cannot comprehend and we could not comprehend who Christ is and the implications of the gospel in our desperate need to receive Christ until the Lord broke through in our lives, but a blanket statement of the entire human race in every generation in every place spiritual ignorance now. Second, it gets worse were in an elevator and is going down and you may ask yourself when do we hit bottom. Well, it gets worse.

Natalie spiritual ignorance but spiritual blindness. John chapter 3 and verse three I want you to note this verse, a very important verse. Jesus, a truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven that spiritual blindness, my friend.

You can even see with understanding the kingdom of heaven until one is born again, please note the word cannot, unless one is born again he cannot. You understand the difference between may and can I learned that at the dinner table very early. As a young man that there between may and can I would ask my parents can I go to little boys room or can I go to my bedroom and I learned very quickly. I was, not to say can. I was to say may now he is a word of permission can is a word of ability may not denies permission cannot is a word of inability everyone born into this world has permission to believe the gospel, but no one has the ability to believe the gospel because they are in spiritual darkness and is spiritual ignorance and you cannot believe in what you cannot see, and so there is this spiritual blindness, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven, and this word to see means to know with understanding to see with discernment.

In other words, we cannot grasp the magnitude of what is being offered to us in our desperate need for Christ and who he is and my need to believe upon him until as we will discover later the Holy Spirit breaks through this ignorance and darkness and makes this known to us, but it gets worse. In chapter 3 and verse 19 and 23rd. There is spiritual hatred spiritual entity within the heart of every unconverted person towards the gospel and towards Jesus Christ there all and this is true of us before we came to the Lord. We were all stiff arming the Lord not always an active rebellion sometimes just passive indifference, but this is true of the state of every unconverted person. John chapter 3 and verse 19 says this is the judgment, meaning this is the condemnation of the entire human race. This is the judgment that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their deeds were evil men loved the darkness because they don't want their sins exposed and they don't want to come to the light for the same reason a thief doesn't want to find a policeman because his deeds would be exposed and so it's true of the human nature of every person to love the darkness and hate the light. I was more absurd a child afraid of the dark are a grown man afraid of the light men are scared to come to the light its intrinsic within their nature. Look at verse 20 and John three.

The next verse. For everyone that the universal truth.

There are no exceptions to this. None of us was born in a separate category outside of this statement before we came to Christ, whether we were born in the church out of the church when or wherever, for everyone who does evil hates the light, while we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. David said and send in my mother conceive me. David said I came forth my mother's when speaking lies.

We were all practicing evil as soon as we came out of our mother's womb, everyone who does evil hates the light, no one was born in a state of spiritual neutrality. No one was straddling the fence 1 foot in the light 1 foot in the darkness and teetering back and forth.

No one was born in no man's land. Everyone was born physically in a state of hating the light and resisting the light and even running from the light and voiding the light for everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. That is the state of the human race. That's why on Sunday morning when you get your car, drive to church. There's not a traffic jam.

There is on Monday morning. There is on Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning Thursday morning Friday morning, but Sunday morning, you get the church in 10 minutes. Even if you live three states away and that's why only few were on the narrow road the many are on the broad path headed for destruction, but the reason more are not coming is because the light is in church and the light of the truth in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ is beaming and radiating from the preaching of the word of God and from the singing of the hymns and the fellowship of God's people and people are reluctant to come because they hate the light. They are adverse to the light. So Romans three verse 11 says there is none who seeks after God, no, not one. All have turned aside, together they have become useless. That's the state of the human race.

When the present, gives the state of the Union address, he gives where America is at this time. Will this is the state of the human race that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But there is none who seeks for God. No, not one we all, like sheep have gone astray, each one of us is turn to his own way is not the she could find a shepherdess. The shepherd who finds the shape that's because of the spiritual ignorance.

The spiritual entity and the spiritual blindness that is in every human heart. And I think it makes us compassionate towards unbelievers. To realize this is where I once lived. This was once my spiritual state which one of us were saved.

The first time we heard the gospel. The Lord was long-suffering until that day, he drew us to himself and how patient we should be with unbelievers because they are spiritually blind, deaf, I cannot say they cannot hear there's 1/4 spiritual state and once again he gets worse, not better.

Verse spiritual defiance. John three verse 36 at the end of this chapter we see that all her in a state of spiritual unbelief are people who disobey the son of God. John three verse 36 he who believes in the son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him DC that unbelief is disobeying the son of God when the gospel goes forward doesn't go forward as a suggestion, it doesn't go forward as a hint, it doesn't go forward as an option for you to consider when the gospel is made known. He goes forward as a command to commands all men everywhere to repent and to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ. That's why faith saving faith is an act of obedience.

But conversely, unbelief is a state of rebellion against God.

Unbelief is a state of defiance against God, who commands all men everywhere to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ unbelievers refuse to submit their life to the Lordship of Christ.

They want to go their own way they want to call their own shots they want to set the agenda for their own life.

There are control freaks. They want to maintain the control of their life and the longer they go in unbelief. The more the heart is hardened. In this defiance against God. They are disobedient to the Son of Man and defiant of his gospel. This is the sad state in which unbelievers find themselves give you one more spiritual death. John chapter 5 in verse 25. This is a critically important passage and is taught elsewhere in Ephesians 2, verse one and in Colossians 212, 13 in there that all who are outside of Christ are in a state of spiritual death before I read this passage to me just tell you down through church history.

This is been a massive debate is man and we have one of three options is man spiritually well is he sick or is he dead now an accurate diagnosis is have to cure. And so we need to understand what is the diagnosis of the state of the unconverted person is he spiritually neutral. He's well or is he just a little bad off. He's sick, and the antidote is put on the table next to him and it's up to him to take the antidote and apply it to himself or worse is he a corpse.

Is she a corpse. And even if the antidote is next to them. What can a dead man do I met when I was in seminary professor asking that question we are studying George Whitfield sermons and he asked the rhetorical question what can a dead man do not remember the voice from the back row signing stink.

That's about all the ability that a dead man possesses a corpse has is distinct you can put medicine in front of a corpse. It's not an associate not going to hear it. Not can respond to it. You can whistle just as I am you cannot come alongside, say, the buses will weight them in common. Take the antidote will be no response know the courts would have to first be made alive right in order to then take the antidote, we need to know where is man when man is found look at John 525 tons can read and will pick it up in our next session is will discuss this. But truly, truly, I say to you, this is Jesus talking whenever he says truly, truly, I say to you, he is saying you need to really understand this everything Jesus said was true, but some things are more important than others. You cannot miss this, Jesus assigned truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is when the dead will hear the voice of the son of God and those who hear will live. This is not referring to the future resurrection.

That's later verses 28 and 29 this is referring to the spiritual condition of every person outside of Christ dead spiritually dead now and our next session. I want to amplify that but for right now understand that man without Christ without the gospel received is in a state of spiritual death. What he needs is a resurrection what he needs his life given to him. He can respond to look at that in our next session together. God bless you is Dr. Steven Wilson one of her teaching fellows. Would you your ministries and a good friend to us. Renewing Your Mind's message today is from the teaching series. The doctrines of grace in job you know can be a shocking thing to hear this biblical truth for the first time many of us, even in the church have not heard what God says about the sinfulness of mankind. I know when I first encountered some of these doctrines for the first time I remember wrestling with them because it was so different from my upbringing to let me encourage you to contact us today and request this teaching series when you give a donation of any amount. Dr. Lawson carefully explains each of the doctrines of grace in this 12 part two DVD set will also add the digital study guide to your online learning library. You can call us to make the requested 800-435-4343 or if you prefer you can give your gift online at Renewing Your Mind.word you may want to consider using the series for a small group each messages less than 30 minutes so it allows plenty of time for discussion and that when you're finished with your 12 week study would be a great help to donate the DVDs to your church library.

So again, we invite you to request the series. The doctrines of grace in John by Dr. Steven Lawson, our online address is Renewing Your Mind.org enter phone number 800-435-4343 Renewing Your Mind is a listener supported outreach of what you your ministries when you partner with us financially, you support all of our outreaches around the world by committing to pray for us by giving a recurring monthly gift of $25 or more. If you are ministry partner listening today. Thank you from all of us here is what in your bed if you like to become a ministry partner. Please budget while you're on the phone with us and we will add you to this very special group of people tomorrow.

Dr. Lawson will have more to say about this doctrine of radical depravity. Everyone who is not of God does not hear the word never sinks in.

It never is heard with understanding and with a sense of urgency that I must respond.

I hope you'll join us again Tuesday as Dr. Lawson continues to series the doctrines of grace and joy on your mind


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