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William

Five Points of Calvinism - Total Depravity

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What really stood out in this sermon was when he said that if after a discussion of Total Depravity we are left with mere theological ammunition against Arminians and more arguments in our arsenal, we missed the point. This doctrine rightly understood causes us to contemplate how deep and how wide the gap truly is that separates fallen humanity from a Holy God. It engenders a deep sense of indebtedness in our soul which causes us to worship God for his amazing grace. This is what the Bible calls, "so great a salvation" and "an indescribable gift". Another excellent point that is usually excluded in such discussions is that unregenerate men can and do indeed perform good works. However, good works according to man's standard pale in comparison to God's righteous standard and we all miss that mark (Romans 3:23). This is the missing link in the common misunderstanding of Calvinism: that what the Bible denies to man is the ability to any spiritual good apart from the grace of God. We are naturally endowed with an active hostility to the things of God (Romans 8:7). We cannot with a mere stroke of our will make our enemies our friends and mean it. This is because the condition of our heart controls our disposition and lies behind the will. We need the work of the Holy Spirit to take the stony heart away and give us one of flesh. And it is precisely this that makes the gospel of Christ so beautiful: that when we were his enemies and not because he foresaw that we would be his friends, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Grace by definition can only be grace when it is shown to the undeserving. In passing it is important to note that our starting point here determines where we end up theologically in other places. A misunderstanding of the degree of the infirmity will inevitably lead us to wrong ideas about the degree of the remedy. And the converse is also true: that the suffering and death of the Savior eminently show what it took to overcome sin and death. Thank you Father for your Son Jesus Christ.

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