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Total Depravity: Is it biblical?

Discussion in 'Christian Theology Forum' started by OzSpen, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

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    This is a continuation of Stan's topic of T.U.L.I.P.

    What do Calvinists believe about Total Depravity? The Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics, in its explanation of TULIP, stated:

    Total Depravity (Total Inability)

    Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of Calvinism. When Calvinists speak of humans as "totally depraved," they are making an extensive, rather than an intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality -- his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.

    The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability." The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).


    Charles Spurgeon in his sermon, ‘Free will – a slave’ (preached in December 1855), was opposing Arminian theology when he stated,

    ‘It has already been proved beyond all controversy that free-will is nonsense. Freedom cannot belong to will any more than ponderability can belong to electricity. They are altogether different things. Free agency we may believe in, but free-will is simply ridiculous. The will is well known by all to be directed by the understanding, to be moved by motives, to be guided by other parts of the soul, and to be a secondary thing (Sermon No. 52).

    What do Arminians believe about total depravity? Why don't you read this article from the Society of Evangelical Arminians: ‘The FACTS of Salvation,T: Total Depravity‘?


    Article 3 of the Five Articles of Remonstrance states:

    Article 3
    That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do any thing that is truly good (such as saving Faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the Word of Christ, John 15:5, “Without me ye can do nothing.


    These 5 articles of Remonstrance were in a document composed in 1610 by the followers of Arminius (1560-1609). A 'remonstrance' is 'an expression of opposition or protest'. It was a protest against the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination contained in the Belgic Confession. This is what led to the followers of Arminius being called Remonstrants.

    What did Jacobus Arminius believe about Total Depravity? In one of his disputations, he wrote:


    V. In the state of Primitive Innocence, man had a mind endued with a clear understanding of heavenly light and truth concerning God, and his works and will, as far as was sufficient for the salvation of man and the glory of God; he had a heart imbued with “righteousness and true holiness,” and with a true and saving love of good; and powers abundantly qualified or furnished perfectly to fulfill the law which God had imposed on him. This admits easily of proof, from the description of the image of God, after which man is said to have been created, (Gen. i. 26, 27,) from the law divinely imposed on him, which had a promise and a threat appended to it, (ii, 17,) and lastly from the analogous restoration of the same image in Christ Jesus. (Ephes. iv. 24, Col. iii. 10.)

    VI. But man was not so confirmed in this state of innocence, as to be incapable of being moved, by the representation presented to him of some good, (whether it was of an inferior kind and relating to this animal life, or of a superior-kind and relating to spiritual life,) inordinately and unlawfully to look upon it and to desire it, and of his own spontaneous as well as free motion, and through a preposterous desire for that good, to decline from the obedience which had been prescribed to him. Nay, having turned away from the light of his own mind and his chief good, which is God, or, at least, having turned towards that chief good not in the manner in which he ought to have done, and besides having turned in mind and heart towards an inferior good, he transgressed the command given to him for life. By this foul deed, he precipitated himself from that noble and elevated condition into a state of the deepest infelicity, which is Under The Dominion of Sin. For “to whom any one yields himself a servant to obey,” (Rom. vi. 16,) and “of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage,” and is his regularly assigned slave. (2 Pet. ii. 19.)

    VII. In this state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace. For Christ has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” St. Augustine, after having diligently meditated upon each word in this passage, speaks thus: “Christ does not say, without me ye can do but Little; neither does He say, without me ye can do any Arduous Thing, nor without me ye can do it with difficulty. But he says, without me ye can do Nothing! Nor does he say, without me ye cannot complete any thing; but without me ye can do Nothing.” That this may be made more manifestly to appear, we will separately consider the mind, the affections or will, and the capability, as contra-distinguished from them, as well as the life itself of an unregenerate man (Arminius 1977:525-526).


    Jacobus (James) Arminius and Reformed/Classical Arminians both believe in Total Depravity.
    Therefore, both Calvinists and Classical Arminians affirm the total depravity of every human being. This follows Luther's understanding of the Psalms, Romans and Galatians. Total depravity or total inability means that every part of the human being - the will, intellect, affections and human actions - is corrupted with sin.

    The challenge to us biblically is: Does Scripture support this view? Let's pursue that in this thread.

    Works consulted

    Arminius, J. 1977 The writings of James Arminius, vol. 1, Public disputations of Arminius, Disputation 11 (On the free will of man and its powers), 523-531. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House. Available at: Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1 – Christian Classics Ethereal Library (Accessed 8 January 2017).
     
  2. Wormwood

    Wormwood Chaps Staff Member

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    Oz,

    What you have said is true. Yet there are various stripes of Arminianism. One of the differences is concerning HOW that grace is received. The traditional view of Total Depravity espoused by most Calvinists argue that all people are totally depraved and are only saved as a result of God's predetermined election. Many "Arminians," differentiate from that stance in the sense of how Christ's grace works for humanity. Some argue that although all humans are totally depraved, God's prevenienng grace was made available to all humanity at the cross. Thus, just as Adam's sin caused the world to be plunged into darkness, Christ's resurrection brought an initial work of grace to all human kind by which they have the power to see and accept the grace of God in Christ if they so choose. So, while in a sense, these Arminians believe in the concept of Total Depravity, they reject that human beings today are totally depraved.

    Other Arminians, such as John Wesley, while believing Total Depravity applies to all humans today, believe that every time the Gospel is preached, the Spirit provides previenient grace so that the person has the power to accept or reject of their own free will.

    Finally, some just reject the concept altogether.

    In any event, I agree that many Arminians do not reject the doctrine of Total Depravity, however, they DO reject it completely in the manner that Calvinists apply the doctrine (namely that all humans are incapable of responding to the Gospel of their own free will and can only do so if God has predetermined their election.

    Im sure you are aware of this, but I wanted to clarify for the readers because the issue isn't so much the doctrine, as such, but how it is applied and to whom it relates.
     
  3. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

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    Wormwood,

    You are not dealing with the issue I raised. Arminius, Calvinists and the Remonstrants, i.e. Classical/Reformed Arminianism, all agreed with the doctrine of total depravity. I made it clear that I was referring to Classical Arminianism.

    You have moved to another topic of how people are saved when they are totally depraved. That's the topic of the next Calvinistic point, Unconditional Election. That's not the topic I'm raising.

    My question remains: What is the biblical evidence for the doctrine of total depravity as defined by both Calvinists and Classical Arminians?

    Oz
     
  4. FHII

    FHII Well-Known Member

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    To repeat the question:

    Does the Bible support the notion that every part of the human being - the will, intellect, affections and human actions - is corrupted with sin?

    There are many verses that come to mind that support the affirmative. That is, IF we are talking about the flesh and not the spiritual man (which would not be human).

    Romans 3:23 KJV
    For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;


    Romans 3:10 KJV
    As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

    Psalm 14:3 KJV
    They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    Mark 10:18 KJV
    And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is , God.

    Romans 5:12-13 KJV
    Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: [13] (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

    I espescially like these last two verses from Rom 5. Many say sin is transgression of the law, but these verses show it was in the world before the law and attributes it to Adam.

    You can also see evidence in Rom 8:22, 1 Cor 15:42-50, Mat 19:25-26.... And many other places. Galatians, Ephesians, Romans 7... The very fact that the law of grace through faith was instituted bears witness. Unless there is a human being who doesn't need grace.
     
  5. Wormwood

    Wormwood Chaps Staff Member

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    Personally I do not hold to the doctrine of total depravity. I believe in partial depravity. So I would say it is not biblical. However, my point is that even though many Arminians agree with the doctrine as it relates to humanity after the fall, most do not believe it applies today, post resurrrection. That was all I was trying to say.

    I think the reason why many Arminians defend the doctrine in principle is because they are concerned about the slope toward Pelagianism that suggests the possibility of a person being capable of living a sin free life. To me, I believe in partial depravity. I believe all are partially depraved in that they have an unconquerable bent toward sin, but they still maintain the power to recognize and accept the truth. I think the Bible teaches this clearly. So I agree with you that the Bible does not teach this doctrine.
     
  6. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

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    Those are excellent verses to demonstrate that all human beings are sinful but they don't demonstrate that all human beings are totally depraved as in the sense defined in the OP.
     
  7. FHII

    FHII Well-Known Member

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    I quote the OP:

    "Total depravity or total inability means that every part of the human being - the will, intellect, affections and human actions - is corrupted with sin."

    I tend to read sentances and essays word by word. I tend to consider each individual word as important. Thus, I sense you are noting the terms "all" and "every".

    You agree that all humans are sinful. I disagee but that brings us to a discussion of grace. But for the moment I will agree.

    All humans are depraved. Are all humans totally.... I say TOTALLY depraved?

    Yes.

    In the eyes of God if you are guilty of one sin you are guilty of all sin.

    James 2:10 KJV
    For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point , he is guilty of all.

    Paul and Jesus made similar statements. Jesus raised the bar in fact, that if you so much think to sin, you are guilty of doing it.

    So if your arguement is that you aren't totally depraved because you haven't committed murder, but you wear polyester.... Doesn't matter. You are still guilty of all.

    What does a little leaven do to the whole lump?
     
  8. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

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    Since you believe in 'partial depravity', why don't you defend it biblically? I saw not one Scripture in this post to support your position.

    A Pelagian is a follower of Pelagius (ca. AD 260-340) who was a British monk and theologian, described by Jerome as ‘weighed down with the porridge of the Scots’ (in Cairns 1981:137). He went to Rome about 400 and joined with Celestius to help formulate a view on how human beings can be saved. St Augustine of Hippo (ca. AD 354-430) would not participate. Pelagius reached the conclusion that he
    Pelagians do not believe in original sin (and some other unorthodox beliefs).

    As I examine the Scriptures, I find that all human beings sinned in Adam our representative head of the human race and are guilty (Rom 5:12 ESV), even before they commit acts of personal sin. All human beings have a sinful nature (Rom 7:21-25 ESV) and are condemned because of this sin that we inherited from Adam. Adam's offence made human beings sinners (see Rom 5:19). According to Rom 7:18 (ESV), nothing good dwells in the human flesh.

    Ephesians 4:17-18 (ESV) puts the human condition starkly, 'Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart'.

    Oz

    Works consulted

    Cairns, E E 1981. Christianity through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church, rev & enl ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.
     
  9. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

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    In the OP, I provided you with 2 prominent explanations in support of total depravity of all human beings - the Calvinistic and Arminian theologies.

    I did not give my biblical explanation.

    If your view is correct, then what's the point of the parable of the good Samaritan?
     
  10. FHII

    FHII Well-Known Member

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    You are correct. You orovided me with two prominent explanations and your summary of them. All of which I found pretty boring. But i labored through them. You did not give a Biblical explanation but I did..

    So what? Are you somehow saying I said you did? I don't respond to innuendos. Not kindly, anyway.

    You asked a question and I responded with full Biblical support.

    If you are going to ask about the good samaritan, then explain what you think it means. Otherwise i will ask how it relates to sameul hacking his generals to pieces.

    In other words, you are asking a question without context. I know the proper context, and I know the false.


    Read in context.
     
  11. justaname

    justaname Disciple of Jesus Christ Staff Member

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    I do understand both Arminius and Calvin agreed concerning total depravity, yet is there any slight difference of opinion or nuance concerning this doctrine that you are aware of?

    This may not be the direction you want to proceed and maybe I am incorrect in my interpretation yet I see this article as making inferences into the Biblical narrative that I am uncertain how clear conclusions are drawn from the evidence given in the text. The term "Primitive Innocence" likely refers to the condition of man before the fall. From this state of innocence Arminius describes, "a clear understanding of heavenly light and truth concerning God." This statement is supported with the "imago dei" that I affirm. I also affirm the creation was declared "very good" in the Scripture (Genesis 1:31), and man as being apportioned to that declaration, yet how far are we to speculate concerning the depth of man's knowledge and understanding in regards to the heavenly light and of God's work and will? I think we would both agree man is not omniscient in this innocent state. Without question we can declare this understanding is clear of darkness being man is yet to be stained with sin, but how far does this understanding reach? Where I disagree is how Arminius ascribes this same clear understanding to being "sufficient for the salvation of man". If this "clear understanding" is pre-fall, what is man in need of salvation from and how is Adam in possession of this knowledge? Then Adam surely was unaware of the shape of God's glory as it applies to each of us in this day and age. This understanding could only come post-fall and could only be deduced vaguely from the protoevangelium.

    The remainder I tend to agree with and affirm this doctrine.

    Romans 8:7
    The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.

    What man outside the salvific grace of God is not in bondage, indeed slaves to sin, and dead in their transgressions? Is there an unregenerate whose mind is not set on the flesh? What man outside the power and influence of the Holy Spirit is able to proclaim Jesus as Lord? (1 Corinthians 12:3) When it is stated in Scripture, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away,they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” are we to deduce some are righteous or some are good; do we interpret this to mean some men seek God?

    No, I see this as emphatic by the apostle: all are shut up in bondage to sin and in open rebellion to God. The depths of sin are felt in the intellect (Romans 1:28, Ephesians 4:18), the will (Jeremiah 17:9), the desires (Proverbs 21:10, Ephesians 4:22, Romans 7:5), and actions (Romans 3:23).

    A recent search produced:

    http://traviscarden.com/total-depravity-verse-list
     
  12. Jun2u

    Jun2u Member

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    I believe in the total depravity of man as concerning the things of God.

    What about “human kindness?”

    For example, the work of Mother Theresa and those in relief organizations worldwide who do good work? They must have worked with joy in their hearts.


    Can we say they are partially depraved?

    Just a thought.
     
  13. FHII

    FHII Well-Known Member

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    That is an interesting thought and I would never take away from human acts of kindness. I applaud all acts of kindness. They aren't proof of faith nor are they righteous.

    Isaiah 64:6 KJV
    But we are all as an unclean thing , and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
     
  14. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

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    Those nuances, as I understand them, tend to be related more to the application, i.e. penetrating total depravity with the Gospel and the human being's ability or inability to respond to the Gospel when preached or shared.

    The problem of inferences could be related to the fact I've only given this one snippet from the 3 published volumes of the Works of Arminius. I've read a lot of his material and I do wish he would have provided more biblical references to support his points than he does. However, that was a feature of some writings of his era.

    I agree with you that Arminius could be reading between the lines of the implications of the innocence of Adam before the Fall.

    This is what Arminius meant by 'primitive innocence’:

    I do wish he had have referenced his various statements here. We can fill in some of the blanks biblically, but I struggle to find biblical material to support this statement: 'Man was endowed with such a portion of knowledge, holiness and power, as enabled him to understand, esteem, consider, will, and to perform the true good, according to the commandment delivered to him'. Perhaps you and others can assist me with biblical support. An understanding of being made in the image of God (Gen 1:27 NLT) could lead to a view parallel with Arminius's.

    Like you, I also struggle with an understanding of the depth or comprehensive knowledge and wisdom given to Adam before the Fall. We could spend a lot of time examining the biblical material and theological understanding of the image of God. There have been some provocative articles written against the 'god' of Arminianism like, 'The "god" of Arminianism is not worshippable'. I have read some provocative articles against Calvinism, like: 'The monster God of Calvinism'.

    I'm not convinced Rom 8:7 describes total depravity. It does describe the resistance of the natural person to God but it doesn't deal with the comprehensiveness or partial reality of depravity.

    The issue still gets down to how that salvific grace is effected. Is it irresistible grace (Calvinism) or prevenient grace (Arminianism)? That debate is for another thread.

    You mentioned 'dead in their transgressions'. This is from Eph 2:1-2 (NLT), where it tells us how that came to be: 'Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God'.

    This deadness to Gospel things in caused by:
    • Disobedience;
    • Many sins [of thought and action, I presume];
    • Living in sin, like the world does;
    • Obeying the devil;
    • The devil works in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God;
    • So, there is a choice - they refuse.
    I think I've given enough response for you, me and others to chew on.

    Regards,
    Oz

    Works consulted
    Arminius, J., 1977. Complete Works of Arminius, vol 1, Declaration of Sentiments, 5.3. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House.
     
  15. justaname

    justaname Disciple of Jesus Christ Staff Member

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    See also:

    Colossians 2:13 - And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses

    I want to note God is the active party in the "made alive" portion of the statement.

    And I think it prudent to complete the apostle's thought starting at Ephesians 2:3:

    Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

    Again God makes the dead come to life with Christ! This is attributed to His mercy and grace.

    But speaking to the depth of depravity note the apostle says we were "by nature children of wrath". This is a telling statement concerning the human condition in that it is human nature to be a child of wrath outside of God's grace.

    Descriptive terms:
    children of wrath
    sons of disobedience
    all formerly lived
    following the course of this world
    following the prince of the power of the air
    even as the rest (meaning the rest of mankind, Non-Christians)
     
  16. Jun2u

    Jun2u Member

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    Isaiah 64:6 is dealing with the fundamental principle that we are all sinners. It does not speak of good works.

    How can we reconcile Isaiah 64:6 or any other scriptures that deals with sin with Mark 14:6 and 1Timothy 3:1 which reads:

    Mark 14:6
    And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

    1 Timothy 3:1
    This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.


    To God Be The Glory
     
  17. Wormwood

    Wormwood Chaps Staff Member

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    Here is my support for partial depravity and biblical argument against total depravity:

    PARTIAL DEPRAVITY
    Adam's sin had physical effects on all his progeny (arduous labor, pain in childbirth, physical death) - Genesis 3:16-19
    We are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3) (note: this verse does NOT speak of divine appointment as the cause for this label. Rather, Eph. 2:1 refers to the person's sins they have committed, not Adam's sin and guilt passed down to that person).
    The work of Christ was MORE significant than Adam's sin. The idea that the grace of Christ only reaches to a small group of pre-elect individuals goes against the clear teaching of Romans 5:12-19. These verses make it very clear that as bad as the evil that Adam committed and its subsequent consequences, the grace Christ bestowed to humanity is even more. This would be hard to accept if that grace did not reach all humanity. Since I am not a universalist (clearly the rest of Scripture makes very plain that many humans are condemned), the only clear answer is that Christ's grace reaches all humanity and the sin and guilt that were ours as a result of Adam's sin and the evil of this world have been overcome by Christ.
    More significantly, partial depravity is made clear by the bulk of the evangelistic teaching of the NT. Rather than list all the verses, let me just say that it is clear that the NT implies that ALL humanity have the capability to understand and respond to the Gospel. Indeed, they are held accountable if they do not! How can such an accounting take place if someone truly does not have the capability of responding due to their "dead" spiritual state? That would be like me getting angry because a corpse does not respond when I call his/her name. The very fact that the Bible expects sinners to hear and repent implies they have the capability to do so.

    TOTAL DEPRAVITY
    I am out of time, but I will try to address some key verses for this doctrine in the future and why I think they are misunderstood. As for now, let me just say that its hard to give rationale as to why someone does not accept a doctrine. The fact that I think the NT doesn't teach it is sufficient in itself. It should be up to the TD proponents to justify their position. Nevertheless, I will address their key verses perhaps later on tonight if time permits.
     
  18. justaname

    justaname Disciple of Jesus Christ Staff Member

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    Romans 5:16-17 contextually satisfies what the apostle is conveying concerning Christ's work being more significant than Adam's sin. One sin brought about judgment in which God is glorified, but the work of Jesus produced a free gift that abounds in glory. The gift, that arose from many transgressions, is righteousness resulting in justification. How much more glorious is this work of Christ! The reconciliation Christ achieved is available to all men (John 3:17).

    Concerning the gospel response it is clear the NT implies all humanity are responsible for their choice concerning the Gospel (John 3:18). The capacity or ability for men to accept the Gospel is there, evidenced that some do believe, but the natural desire of man is to reject the God (John 3:20, Matthew 23:37) because man is evil even from his youth (Genesis 8:21, Psalm 58:3, Matthew 7:11).

    1 Corinthians 12:3b
    and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

    Here is a cut and paste from:
    http://traviscarden.com/total-depravity-verse-list

    Can the natural man comprehend the gospel or come to saving knowledge of God on his own?
    • 1 Corinthians 2:14 - The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
    • 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 - our gospel is veiled… to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
    • 1 Corinthians 1:18,21-24 - For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles
    • Deuteronomy 29:2-4 - And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.”
    • Matthew 11:27 - “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
    c.f. Psalm 119:18; Proverbs 4:19; Isaiah 42:6-7; Hosea 14:9; Matthew 16:17; John 8:43; Acts 22:14, 26:18; Ephesians 4:17-19; 2 Corinthians 2:15-16; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 John 5:20;


    Can men of themselves accept God’s gift of salvation? Do men choose God or come to Him on their own?
    • John 3:27 - John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.”
    • John 14:16-17 - “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.”
    • John 1:12-13 - But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
    • John 6:44,65 - “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
    • Romans 9:16 - So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
    • Romans 11:35-36 - “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things.
    • 1 Corinthians 1:30 - And because of him you are in Christ Jesus
    • Philippians 2:13 - for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
    c.f. Jonah 2:9; Zephaniah 3:9; John 15:16; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 1:6; James 1:18
     
  19. brokentuningfork

    brokentuningfork New Member

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    Based on my testimony of how I came to salvation it is true. Short version:

    Born Catholic, became athiest in high school because of bad job by parents teaching me about God and catholic church too. Hated God, was living in total sin. I never even once ever thought of coming to God, not even once and when people mentioned God or Jesus I would get angry and want to drop kick them. But when I became 19 it seems that God took inrerest in me because there was a "cloud of many witnesses" all coming to me and sharing the gospel with me, it's like God was coming after me and hunting me down, I was very stubborn though. I had to reach rock bottom and have a nervous breakdown before I finally gave in and repented and gave my life completly to Him.

    There is a balance here. God won't take us by force, he patiently waits for us to come to Him but it is def' true that He is the One who does the initiating work and He does not give up until He gets His prize. If it wasn't for Him initiating and coming after me, and then not giving up even when I was stubborn then I'd still be lost for sure. Thank God for His grace.
     
  20. FHII

    FHII Well-Known Member

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    All OUR righteousness is as filthy rags. Good Works are God's. If you look at when God uses the term "Good works" it 11 out of 12 time it's speaking of things either God does or we do in service of God (as prescribed by him).
     
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