March 30, 2009, 9:46 am
Filed under: Devotions


by Caleb Hancock

You guys know what I’m talking about. You pull off of the interstate, you’re about to get to the stop light at the end of the ramp before you make your turn, and you see him. A man stands in the median with a cardboard sign, “Will work for food.”

While we might not be advertising our desires on the back of old boxes, I have found that mine, and I believe, every human heart, has a default setting of trying to earn God’s forgiveness and favor. We recognize that something is wrong in the way we relate to God, and we take it upon ourselves to address the problem. But what does scripture say?

Is it really dependent on our performance how God relates to us? Can we, because of what we do, put God in a place where he is obligated to forgive us and bless us because we have obeyed him?

Many scriptures address this foundational issue, and one of my favorites is Titus 3.

God’s word assaults the notion of inherent human goodness in verse 3 where it describes the human condition as foolishness, marked by disobedience, slavery and hatred.

Do you see it that way? Do you recognize that you have no inherent goodness in you? You, like me and every other human, has disobeyed God and is subject to futility in our arrogant sin. It really is as bad as all this.

The doctrine of total depravity is a gift from God. And contrary to popular thought, it is not meant to be a source of condemnation for all (Romans 8:1). Rather, it is a kind warning from God in the words of scripture that we need help. We NEED a savior!

And praise the Lord that He has provided one. THE one, Jesus, His Son. Because Jesus was crushed on the cross, all those who recognize their need and humble themselves, asking for forgiveness in Jesus name because of His works, WILL RECEIVE GRACE!

We will look through Titus 3 over the next few weeks as I wrap up my tenure here on Manspeak. I pray that God will use this text to confront you with the biblical view of both our sinfulness, and His mercy as evidenced at Calvary.

Praise God for mercy shown to ill-deserving sinners like ourselves!


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I was sitting in astronomy today and my teacher was talking about a deep sky survey, where a telescope maps out the night sky in 2-D and 3-D images. He then played for the class an animation of the positions of the known galaxies in the Universe. By the time the animation was finished, the Milky Way had long gone.

God made all that and somehow He cared enough to save us. He is occupied with managing the periods of Cepheids and with making sure the Galaxy rotates in the right direction. Grace has to be all about receiving. There is nothing we can do to earn the blessings of a Creator who made everything and reigns supreme over it every second.

“Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed.” -Romans 4:4. I am not owed anything. I cannot be thankful for something I earned. That’s why I’m grateful for grace, because I have done nothing to earn it.

Comment by David Wells

Great post! You hit it right when you said we all feel like we need forgiveness, so we work to earn it.

The doctrine of total depravity is one I’m still not so sure about. Yes, I believe that man is inherently evil from birth. But I disagree with the doctrine in that…

1. Even non Christians are capable of doing selfless acts.

2. If our depravity were total, we would not know we were depraved.

3. Experience tells us humans are capable of much goodness.

Depraved? yes. But total depravity? I find that terribly hard to believe with what I witness from day to day.

Good post!

Comment by Jbaby

I forgot to mention I agree that we CAN’T work enough to earn salvation. It is a gift of grace. Didn’t want any confusion.

Comment by Jbaby

Thanks for commenting Guys!

James, as per your first post, I think there is a misunderstanding of terms. Utter depravity would mean that we do nothing but sin. Total depravity means that while all of our actions, thoughts and motives are tainted with sin, we are not as bad as we could be. There is restraining grace.
And totally, I believe that while non-Christians could be more moral than some Christians, the motivation is not for the glory of God. And as in the case of a Christian, anything “good” that the non-Christian does that benefits anyone is the grace of God using their actions for His good purposes.

Does that make sense?

Comment by Caleb H.

I suppose if you say God still offers grace to everyone to do good things, then the doctrine makes sense.

The word usage is terrible for the doctrine though. “Total” is very misleading.

Comment by James Baby

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: