Sunday, October 31, 2010
The T Fom TULIP Is a Strange Brew.
The acrostic TULIP is an easy remember way to summarize Calvinistic doctrine and view of the Christian religion. The T stands for Total Depravity as you will see in this definition describes some of the natural estate of man:
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).*
As far as this definition goes no problem whatsoever. That man is fully incapable of doing good and measuring up to the glory of Jesus is needful so that we have Jesus being 100% to credit for our salvation. However, this teaching does not go far enough, as the more ancient teaching of original sin, which shows us as being much worse throughout our person. We do not even want to measure up to what Jesus does or has done. What we do should be enough in our expectation. We have no desire to love God fully nor our neighbour as ourselves. We have been, will be and must be self seeking because of our weak and fallen condition. Due to our being subjected to sin, death, disease, futility and decay to totally ignore our needs we would be unable to fully serve our neighbour and seek his good. To do that would be sin as well for it would not be good stewards of what gifts the Lord has given us.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. ESV
So strenuous and high is out Lord’s commands Jesus came to fulfill this requirement. Being God who became flesh he was fully able to empty himself and spend himself for us. He had no need to seek his own good but was not subjected to the futility and decay with which we are subjected due to sin. And because of his grace this fully spent character is granted to us through faith and has totally finished from the greatest to the smallest requirement our need in the sight of God.
Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ESV
May the name of Jesus evermore be praised for his gracious provision of not only what we lace in righteousness but also paying for our sinfulness on the cross.
Jesus, your blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Mid flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.**
**Jesus, Your Blood and Righteousness
By: Nicolaus L. von Zinzendorf
In the name of Jesus. Amen. †