Total Depravity and Thanksgiving
As a Christian lives more years and spiritually matures, two things become more evident: the wretched sinfulness of man and the glorious mercy of God, toward His chosen people. As the scales of Satan’s blinding deception are removed from the eyes of the soul, one’s agreement with God’s poor assessment of humanity crystallizes. More and more the Christian sees the world with the perspective of God in Christ. The view is not pretty.
God opens the believer’s blind mind to see spiritual realities, amidst the physical realities. Without a view to Christ, this illumination would result in spiritual depression. The contrast of light and darkness does not make one a Pollyanna positivist, nor does it permit the Christian to remain crestfallen.
Seeing truth is liberating (Jn 8:32). This is why the saint is encouraged to keep her eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of her faith (Heb 12:2). The believer in Jesus is aware that this world is not his home (Heb 11:16; 12:22), and his time here is very brief (Jas 4:14).
The desire to go to be with the Lord increases (Phil 1:23), as the realities of depravity never cease to manifest. The tragic news, from the fallen world, is a daily affair. Even the endless entropy and decay wears heavy. Death is everywhere around us, although most people are distracted from its certainty.
Light has come into the world, and for opened eyes given sight, there is much to be grateful for in the midst of the mire. Thank God for granting us eyes to see the reality of total depravity. Our seeing does not change the fact of total depravity, but then, the Christian puts no confidence in the flesh (Phil 3:3). The things of the world, and all its lust, is diminished. The saint is also grateful when God squelches her passions.
Total depravity includes every passion. Those positive productive passions can be distorted, as much as the dark destructive ones. Thank God for pure thoughts and holy affections, which are ever at war with the flesh. The internal war of flesh and Spirit is wearisome, but thank God, He renews us in the Spirit day by day (2 Cor 4:16).
Thanksgiving is itself a gift of God. Without God’s mercy and grace, the human heart is ungrateful because of one’s sin nature (Rom 1:21). The flesh curses God because life in the world is difficult. It is a suppressed truth that life is difficult because of sin and man’s total depravity. Man denies his own participation and guilt in the rebellion against God.
People dream dreams of a life of success and ease without cost. They hope for the death of a rich uncle, with the prospect of a windfall inheritance. They play the lottery in the meantime. Here is the twisted hope of carnal man (Eph 2:12). His focus is himself and his life in this material world. He is irritated by the reminder of his pending death, and the judgment of God to follow (Heb 9:27). In his total depravity, he opts to live in denial (Mt 15:14; Rom 1:18–32).
The pressure of man’s total depravity is never fully alleviated, by his merciful conversion, granted by Christ and to Christ. A Christian’s sanctification, by the Spirit of truth and the Word of truth (Jn 17:17; 1 Pet 1:2), is only complete in the coming glorified body and soul, at the resurrection, on the day of Christ’s glorious return (Mt 24:29–31; Jn 5:29).
Christian, hope rests in the second coming of our Deliverer and the promises of real, eternal changes. The perishable must put on the imperishable (1 Cor 15:50). We shall see Christ, our salvation, as He is, and in a twinkling of an eye, we shall be like Him in body and soul — without sin, in the glorious new creation (1 Cor 15:52; Rev 21–22).
Christian, the promises of God are for us, to give us hope and a future (Prv 23:18; 24:14; Jer 29:11; 31:17). Because God has already begun the good work in you (Phil 1:6), showing you His mercy (Rom 9:23), giving you His Spirit (Jn 14:26; 15:26), you have the blessed assurance of His full deliverance of your body and soul — just as He said (Jn 6:39, 40, 44, 54).
The heavy burden of total depravity will soon be lifted, forever. It is right to give God thanks and praise, in advance. His Word of promise is true, and we know this by the indwelling Spirit (Rom 8:9, 11), who comforts and assures us of the glory to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18). Therefore, let us give thanks in everything, at all times (1 Thess 5:17–18).
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 25, 2021