Share This Episode
Renewing Your Mind R.C. Sproul Logo

Total Depravity

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

Total Depravity

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1582 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

September 8, 2022 12:01 am

Everyone can see that something is desperately wrong with the world. But to find the right solution, we must identify the source of our problems. Today, Steven Lawson teaches on the nature of sin and our ultimate need for God's saving grace.

Thank You For Supporting the Global Outreach of Renewing Your Mind and Ligonier Ministries:

Don't forget to make your home for daily in-depth Bible study and Christian resources.

Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Discerning The Times
Brian Thomas
The Masculine Journey
Sam Main
The Masculine Journey
Sam Main
Bodies in Christ
Micheal R James

When Adam sinned, consider for a moment the impact that single act of disobedience had on every one of us. Adam opened the floodgate of sin and death to every tribe, to every tongue, to every people, to every nation, to every continent. And you want to know what's wrong with the world? You want to know what's wrong with mankind? The answer is original sin. Welcome to Renewing Your Mind on this Thursday.

I'm Lee Webb. Turn on the news these days or read the headlines, and you wouldn't be wrong in concluding that at the core, the issues we face today are profoundly theological. One doctrine in particular jumps out as we observe the cultural chaos around us, and that's the focus of the message you're about to hear by Dr. Stephen Lawson. I want to preach to you tonight on total depravity, and it is critically important that we understand what this doctrine is because it affects every aspect of ethics and morality. So, go ahead and open your Bible to the book of Romans. And I want to begin by reading a couple of verses as a launching point for us tonight as we think about total depravity. In Romans chapter 5 and beginning in verse 12, as the Apostle Paul writes to the church at Rome, he writes this, beginning in verse 12, Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world.

Let me repeat that. Just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin. And so death spread to all men because all sinned. For until the law, sin was in the world, and sin is not imputed where there is no law.

Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of him who was to come. It's been well said that a right diagnosis is half the cure. And so we ask the question, what is wrong with the world? What is wrong with people? What is wrong with the human race? Because something is obviously desperately wrong as our world is unraveling like a cheap sweater.

We see all around us war, and strife, and envy, and conflict, and murder, and lying. And most people look in all the wrong places to try to diagnose the problem. They claim that the problem is on the outside of man, that the problem is the environment. The problem is the government. The problem is the economy. The problem is global warming. The problem is your upbringing, your disadvantages, etc., etc., etc. But you and I know that there is no cure for a spiritual problem to be found in politics or in finance. All of these explanations fall short of the fact that all of these explanations fall short of where the real problem lies.

And the fundamental problem of man and the world and the human race lies not outside of man, but on the inside of man. And in one word, it is sin. So what is sin? Well, sin is any lack of conformity to the holiness of God. And sin is any transgression of the law of God. Sin is falling short of the glory of God. Sin is going astray from the will of God.

And this is man's greatest problem. And in order to grasp the magnitude of what is wrong with everyone and everything, we need to understand the magnitude of sin. And so this necessitates that we are well taught in three major doctrines.

And these will be the three headings that I'll have for us tonight. Number one, the doctrine of original sin. Number two, the doctrine of total depravity. And number three, the doctrine of universal guilt.

These three are interrelated and interwoven. And these three doctrines are so well addressed in the book of Romans. So I want us to note, first of all, the doctrine of original sin. And I direct us back to Romans chapter 5 and verse 12 because original sin is that first sin of Adam and its effect upon the entire human race, bringing sin to the entire human race and death to the entire humanity. And so we read in verse 12, just as through one man.

We know who this one man is. His name is Adam. His name is mentioned twice in verse 14. And Adam will become the channel, the passageway by which sin will enter into the world. And therefore, just as through one man, sin entered into the world. Adam's one sin, his one transgression, sin entered the world like a floodgate had been opened up, and sin came pouring into the human race through the one act of disobedience by Adam. And please note it says sin in the singular, not sins in the plural, because the emphasis here is upon the presence of sin and the power of sin and the pollution of sin and the principle of sin.

This all came into the human race, and from it came the plurality of sins. And when he disobeyed, sin entered into the world and death through sin. And so with sin, there is always death.

And God had said in Genesis 2 verse 17, in the day that you eat of this fruit, you shall surely die. And the moment he disobeyed God, not only did sin enter the human race, but death entered as well. There was an immediate death for Adam, a spiritual death.

But with that spiritual death, there would eventually come physical death. And were it not for the grace of God, there would be eternal death. And so Adam opened the door to sin, and sin opened the door to death. And so we read in verse 12, so death spread to all men.

It spread like a malignant cancer, and it spread to every human being in the human race, beginning at the moment of conception. And then he adds, because all sinned. And at the moment that Adam sinned, his offense, his sin was imputed to every person that would ever be conceived in their mother's womb. And so when did you become a sinner? Over 6,000 years ago, Adam's sin was charged to your account.

And long before you were conceived and long before you entered into this world, you were already condemned, and you were already under the wrath of God, and you were already a sinner. This imputation of Adam's sin, it was immediate. It took place to the entire human race, once and for all at that point.

It was comprehensive. It went to every member of the human race. It was realistic in the sense that we were charged as though we ourselves had committed that sin. It was fatal in that it brought death, and it was representative in the sense that the one man acted on behalf of the many. And this is reinforced five more times here in Romans chapter 5 in the following verses, and I want to let your eye go down the page from verse 15 to verse 19, and I want you to see verse 15 where it says, by the transgression of the one, the many died. Adam's one transgression brought death to the entire human race. Verse 16, the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, the divine punishment and judgment of God on the entire human race. Verse 17, we read, by the transgression of the one, death reigned. And death reigned like a cruel tyrant and has ruled over the human race from the time of Adam's sin. It's appointed in a man once to die and after this the judgment. In verse 18, we read in Romans 5, through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men. And so, eternal condemnation and eternal punishment was declared by God against every member of the human race long before they were conceived or born. And then in verse 19, we read, through the one man's disobedience, referring to Adam's disobedience, the many were made sinners because his sin was imputed to every person and we were charged as guilty before God before we entered the human race. This is the doctrine of imputation, that the action of one man is regarded as the actions of the many others.

And it is based upon the principle of federal headship that the action of a representative head would affect all those whom he represents. And Adam was our representative head and his actions would be accredited to us and would be imputed to us. And so, his one act has condemned the entire human race to the end of the age till the last person is conceived in the womb. And this speaks volumes of the holiness of God, that just one sin would condemn the entire human race. Just one sin by one man and the entire future population of the world stood judged and condemned before God.

That's how holy God is. And that is how sinful one act of rebellion against this holy God is taken seriously by Almighty God. One sin by one man and the entire human race condemned. So, Adam opened the door so Adam opened the floodgate of sin and death around the world to every tribe, to every tongue, to every people, to every nation, to every continent. And you want to know what's wrong with the world?

You want to know what's wrong with mankind? The answer is original sin. But this leads us now to the second major doctrine and it is the doctrine of total depravity.

And so, I want you, while you're in Romans, turn back to chapter 3. Romans chapter 3 and verse 9, because not only was Adam's sin imputed, credited to every person of the human race, but the sin nature of Adam has been transmitted to us in the moment of conception. The sin nature of Adam has been passed down from parent to child, parent to child, and you inherited that sin nature. So, beginning in verse 9, Paul will give really what is the quintessential signature text on total depravity. And just by way of introduction, before we work our way through these verses, and total depravity means that the totality of human nature has been corrupted, poisoned, and polluted by sin. From the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, every inch and every ounce of every person born into this world has had sin like a fatal poison flooding through their soul. The mind of every person has been darkened so they cannot see or understand the truth. The heart of every person has been defiled so that they do not love the truth.

They love what they should hate and they hate what they should love. And the will of every person is dead and in bondage to sin and cannot believe the gospel in and of themselves. And so, beginning in verse 9, it's an incredible scene. And let me just set this up because the scene is a courtroom scene. And the entire human race is standing trial before God. And God is judge and jury and prosecutor. And Paul is like a courtroom reporter, and the defendants are the entire human race.

An unconverted mankind is without an advocate. And the evidence is submitted. And the evidence is found in God's scripture, the Old Testament. And the verdict is indisputable. It is the condemnation of the entire human race. And there will be no defense offered by mankind.

And there is no appeal to a higher court. So, beginning in verse 9, here is the charge. Paul begins in verse 9, what then?

In other words, he is saying, what more can I say? Because this section began in chapter 1, verse 18, when he writes, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth and unrighteousness. And throughout the rest of chapter 1, chapter 2, now coming into chapter 3, verse 9, he says, what more can I say? He has built an indisputable case of the condemnation of every man and every woman under the wrath of God.

So, he says, what then? Are we better than they? And the we refer to Paul and the believers who were in Rome.

And the they refer to those who are yet outside of Christ. Are we of better stock? Did we have a better nature? Were we more spiritual than they? And he says, not at all.

Unequivocally, no. For we have already charged, and that's a legal term of an indictment of a crime and to be found guilty. For we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks, that covers the entire human race, are under sin. All mankind is under the penalty of sin. All mankind is under the power of sin and the pollution of sin. All mankind is under sin.

All mankind is enslaved and dominated by sin. And so now beginning in verse 10 and extending through verse 18, Paul now presents a devastating indictment against the entire human race that is outside of Jesus Christ. And in reality, this is God's case.

This isn't Paul's case. This is God's case against humanity. So he says in verse 10, as it is written, and the word written there signals that he will be bringing Old Testament scripture to bear in building his case.

There will be eight Old Testament texts from Psalms, from Isaiah, and from Ecclesiastes. And he quotes from the Old Testament to show that what he is saying is nothing new. That this has been the condition of the human race since the dawn of human history, throughout all of the epics and eras of Old Testament times. Now coming into New Testament times, this has always been God's case against humanity. This is the devastating state of the human race and the condition of the fallen world in which we live. These are the only lenses that we can put before our eyes and have a Christian worldview and look around and see the state of humanity. And so the question is, is there any hope?

And of course, you know the answer is yes. That there would be one who would come who would be the second Adam. There would be one who would be the fulfillment of the type of Adam, who would come into this world and be born of a woman, to be born of a virgin.

He would be born under the law and where the first Adam disobeyed by eating of the forbidden fruit, the second Adam has obeyed God at every point. He has been tempted in all points such as we are, yet without sin. And He went to the cross and He bore our sins, the sins of His people. He shed His blood and He made the only propitiation there is for the fierce anger of God in the sinless life and substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. He satisfied the vengeance of God towards those for whom He died, His people.

And in His death, He bought us at the price of the gold and silver of His blood. And with that death, He set us free from our tyranny to sin. And He reconciled all those for whom He died to the Father and reconciled the Father to them.

He has established peace between God and those for whom He died, and He shed His blood to wash away all of their sins and to reverse the curse. And through the miracle of regeneration, He now gives a new mind that can understand it is the mind of Christ. He now gives a new heart, a heart of flesh that has a spiritual pulse for God, that loves God and desires the things of God. He is given a new will by which we now are released to obey God. We have new feet that run after God. We have new ears that now can hear the truth of God. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.

The old things passed away. Behold, new things have come, and it is through the work of Jesus Christ upon the cross. And in His sinless life and through the shedding of His blood, that He has washed away our sins, and He has cleansed us from all unrighteousness. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And He says, Come, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.

Though they be red like crimson, they shall be white as wool. And there upon the cross, Jesus Christ, in giving His life unto death, shedding His blood to make the only atonement for our sins, He has purged the guilt of sin from us, and He has clothed us with His perfect righteousness. And we now are presented before the throne of grace, and we are found in full and perfect acceptance with God. But there is no good news until you know what the bad news is.

And there is no amazing grace until you know the weighty condemnation that was once upon us. When I decided to ask my wife to marry me, I knew I needed to buy an engagement ring. And I went to a jeweler in downtown Dallas, and he brought me into the showroom, and he began to pull diamonds out. And I looked at those diamonds, and there was nothing that really captured my eye. There was nothing that really drew my gaze to the diamonds. They all looked just so mundane.

They looked so dull. And then he said, wait a minute, and he reached under the counter, and he put down a black velvet pad. And with those tweezers, he picked up a diamond and placed it on the black velvet pad, and every light in that entire showroom suddenly burst through that diamond. And that diamond literally exploded before my eyes as I could see the light refracting and shining through this diamond.

What made the difference? Same diamond. It was the black velvet backdrop that caused the diamond to shine so brightly. And if you take away the doctrine of total depravity in all of its fullness, you have diminished the glory of the cross. But when you see the blackness of sin and the death and the depravity of the human soul, and then you hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, then you rejoice that God would have grace and mercy on a hell-bound sinner like me. So may we give glory and praise to God. Amen.

That's Dr. Stephen Lawson, and you're listening to Renewing Your Mind. I love the beautiful picture he just painted there of the contrast between our sin, our wretchedness, and the grace and mercy of our God. All week we have been focusing our attention on upholding Christian ethics, which was the theme of this year's Ligonier National Conference here in Orlando back in March. We're reminded that the holy character of God is the absolute standard of right and wrong, and God has spoken. So when our culture rejects Him and abandons His word, the very foundation of morality is undermined.

That's why Dr. R.C. Sproul started this ministry more than 50 years ago to point people back to the holiness of God, to help us understand that submitting to God's Word is the only solution for everything that we face. And that teaching is having an impact on people like Eric. As I began to get interested in the ministry and interacting with it, one of the things I realized is that Dr. Sproul was a philosophy major in college, and that was my course of education as well. And so I was really impressed that Dr. Sproul knew so much about philosophy and could apply it to the life of the mind when it came to theology as well.

So over the years, I found that Ligonier has really, really shaped my theological thinking over the years, and it has caused me to really grow in my understanding of Reformed theology and also related topics. Would you join Eric and many others in this gospel partnership by committing to a monthly gift of $25 or more? This ministry is powered by people like you, and every partner makes a difference. To sign up and become a ministry partner or to give a one-time gift, you can call us at 800-435-4343.

You can also find us online at And on behalf of all of my colleagues here at Ligonier Ministries, let me thank you for your generous donation. Well, I think all of us are wondering how to live faithfully as we see our cultural and political foundations decay, but we need to remind ourselves of one important fact. Christians have lived under every form of government and served Jesus Christ in their hearts. The advancement of the kingdom of Christ cannot be stopped by the kingdoms of this world, whatever form they take. That's Dr. Robert Godfrey, and you'll want to hear what he has to say about the proper role of those in earthly authority over us. That's tomorrow here on Renewing Your Mind.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 12:11:40 / 2023-02-28 12:20:17 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime