Day 642

September 5, 2020
Saturday, Day 642

I’m being blessed by reading Randy Alcorn’s monumental book, If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. In it he explains why the extra-biblical term, total depravity, is not the best description of man’s spiritual condition before God.

Yes, we are all sinners, that much is true. But the fact of the matter is there is nothing we can do to earn God‘s merit or favor (see Isaiah 64: 6; Romans 7:15; 8:8; Hebrews 11:6 ).

Alcorn says, “total depravity seems to imply that without Christ, no one can ever do anything remotely good. It even appears to suggest that we always do as much evil as possible. If that were true, why would Scriptures say of King Jehoshaphat, who had just sinned against God, ‘there is, however, some good in you’ (2 Chronicles 19:3).

“We can successfully complete any number of physical and mental tasks, even some good ones. But we remain helpless sinners with nothing to offer God that could gain a right standing with him. Therefore, I believe Wayne Gruden‘s term, total inability, is more accurate and helpful. I’ll add one word, calling it total spiritual inability. To emphasize that we have no ability to save ourselves may avoid the
misinterpretation some have of the term total depravity.“

I remember this was the topic of much discussion when Will first became a believer — whether a non-Christian has any good within themselves apart from God. Obviously the answer is yes, even for purely altruistic reasons. But, as Isaiah says our righteousness is as filthy rags; even Jesus in Matthew 7:9–11 seems to acknowledge this. For we have all sinned and come short of God‘s expectation; also see 1 John 1: 8-10.

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