Total Depravity

Rebecca, at Rebecca Writes, has a posting on “Why I Love the Doctrine of Total Depravity“. She says that this much maligned doctrine is “the great equalizer.” I agree. I commented:

I have to remind myself (frequently it seems) that when God looks at sin (I have this image of God’s holiness versus our sin) the distance between a ” naughty five-year-old” and a “teenaged prostitute drug-dealing felon” is almost immeasurable compared to the distance between both of them and God.

Total depravity sorta makes me remember that God seems to ask me, the one who believes myself to be so much less a sinner than most, this most humbling question, “And the difference is?”

When God looks at the eye of sinful man, whom Reginald Heber (writer of the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy) says cannot see God’s glory and as such the vast gulf between his purity and our sinfulness, God sees little, if indeed any, distinction between sinners. Many verses speak to this view such as:

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. Deuteronomy 10:17

… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

So, the next time you are tempted to respond to a sinner with condescension, just remember that when push comes to shove it is Christ not your insipid purity that makes the distinction between you and them. Instead try and not just to receive but also to give “mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16