Christians Are Not Totally Depraved

We have a new federal head, the bringer of everlasting pardon and life, the Lord Jesus. Through faith, we are united to Christ. And this union is not weak. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” In 2 Corinthians 4:16, we’re reminded that while “our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

The phrase “total depravity” refers to a person’s sinful condition outside of the mercy of Christ. So, after conversion, is a sinner still totally depraved?

“Total depravity” summarizes the effects of sin upon an image bearer. Sin has affected every faculty of our being—and thus is “total.” Body and soul, we are corrupted. We are “in Adam,” the federal head of humanity who defied and disobeyed the Lord. There is no spiritual life for us “in Adam.”

Total depravity means we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). We are in the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13). We stand condemned under the wrath of God (John 3:36). The desires of our mind and body are not honorable to God but, rather, are bent toward rebellion, in the direction of “the course of this world” (Eph. 2:2–3). Our will is hostile to God and refuses to submit to him (Rom. 8:7). Our thinking is futile, and our understanding is darkened (Rom. 1:21). We are spiritually blind in our unbelief (2 Cor. 4:4).

That’s total depravity, and it is the miserable condition of unsaved image-bearers in this fallen world.

Now consider what the salvation of Christ accomplishes in the life of the sinner. We are made alive by mercy and are no longer dead in our trespasses.

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