The Total Depravity of Man Part 3

The goal of this series is to magnify God’s grace and to humble man’s pride.

While we are not as bad as we could be, we are depraved in every part of our being. We learned that because man is totally depraved, he is morally incapable of recovering himself. Man will never seek the mercy and grace of God in Christ until he is convinced of his sin, convinced that he is without excuse, and convinced that he is personally guilty before the Holy LORD and God.

Now, how can we apply this truth in our lives? Today, we will learn some of the Practical Applications of Total Depravity. We will apply this in the area of persecution and parenting.


If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
(Joh 15:18-20 KJV)

The passage above is clear that believers will be persecuted. But before we discuss our responses in times of persecution in light of man’s total depravity, let’s have some important reminders.

Important reminders:

#1 By nature, depraved man hates God

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
(Rom 8:7 KJV)

Enmity is hostility caused by hatred. The native man hates God. The carnal mind is at war with God. We can also see man’s moral inability because he is neither willing nor able to submit to God. Depraved man refuses to submit to God. Depraved men cannot because they will not.

#2 By nature, depraved man hates those who bear God’s image and love His Word.

Unbelieving man not only hates God but also hates the people of God. The way in which the world treats God and His word is also the way in which the world treats God’s people.

What is the proper response of God’s people in times of persecution?

1. Thank God because we have fellowship with Christ

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Mat 5:11-12 KJV)
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
(1Jn 3:11-13 KJV)

2. Thank God for His restraining grace
God did not leave men without restraining grace. All men can be as evil as they can be but God restrains them by His grace. God tames and prevents wicked men to do the worst evil that they can do in their depraved state. God is also providing a way that they may live a productive life. Even atheists are able to contribute for the good of this world.

3. Thank God for the reminder
God is permitting persecution to remind us that this present world is not our home. We are pilgrims and we are passing through this dark world. This world is not our eternal home. Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20).


Important Reminders:

#1 All children are born sinners.

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
(Psa 14:1-3 KJV)
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
(Gen 6:5 KJV)
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. (Gen 8:21 KJV)
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psa 51:5 KJV)

This is without exception. No children are born innocent. Those who refuse that children are sinners have a great problem of defending God’s justice because children are also subject to death. The death of children due to their sin in Adam. This is what we call infant depravity (Rom 5:18).

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Eph 2:3)

In accordance with these verses, we find that even infants, who have no personal sin, nevertheless suffer pain and death. Now the Scriptures uniformly represent suffering and death as the wages of sin. God would be unjust if He executed the penalty of death, on those who are not gulity. Since the penalty falls on infants, they must be guilty; and since they have not personally committed sin, they must, as the Scripture says, be guilty of Adam’s sin.

Lorraine Boettner

#2 Our children are born with great privilege.
This refers to the children of Christian parents. They are born depraved but born with privilege. Though they are born equally depraved, they have the privilege to be taught early with the word of God. They are born restrained and constrained by God’s common grace in a Christian home. Parents must consistently discipline and evangelize them in light of their depravity.

How should parents deal with children in light of their depravity?

1. We must discipline them.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Pro 22:15)

Foolishness refers to their wilful stubbornness or native depravity. Their heart is full of foolishness from the beginning. The rod of correction is used by God to change our children.

In our families, it is the doctrine of total depravity that motivates faithful discipline of our children. When we constantly cover-up and overlook the sins of our children, make excuses for them, and do not discipline our children as we should, it is because we do not take their sin seriously; and if we do not take their sin seriously, it can be only because we fail to see that they are totally depraved.

Ronald Cammenga

2. We must evangelize them
We must teach the truths of the Scripture, especially, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are born spiritually dead, they hate God and they are under God’s wrath. We must preach them teh gospel as the only solution to their sinful soul and the only way of escape from the wrath to come. The pastor is not the primary responsible to preach the gospel to the children but the parents.

Parents can easily be sidetracked by the busyness of this world from disciplining their children

3. We must sympathize with them.
Two mistakes:
a. To view our children as always Christian – children of Christian parents are not automatically Christians. They need to be converted to Christ.
b. To think our children are never Christian – we must always be sensitive to the work of grace in the hearts of our children.
We need to deal with our children especially to those with credible profession with sympathy.


The doctrine of Total Depravity is foundational to other doctrines of grace. Since this is true, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, & perseverance of the saints become necessary.

The doctrine of Total Depravity allows God’s grace to shine all the more. The darkness of man’s total depravity is the black backdrop that lets the brightness of God’s grace to shine more beautifully. If we lose this doctrine, we won’t appreciate the glory of Christ’s gospel in saving rebellious and sinful humanity. We cannot truly appreciate the grace of God in Christ if we do not know that we are totally depraved.


For Further Reading:

This is blog post is based on Covenant Reformed Seminary of Asia’s session on The Sovereignty of God and the Doctrines of Grace 1: Total Depravity 3: Practical Application

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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