Herman Bavinck on Total Depravity…But God

For the next time you think you aren’t that bad:

It is the human heart that is corrupt (Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Ps. 14:1; Jer. 17:9; Ezek. 36:26; Matt. 15:19); from it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23). It is from the human heart that all iniquities and all sorts of incomprehension flow (Mark 7:21).

The mind of humans is darkened (Job. 21:14; Isa. 1:3; Jer. 4:22; John 1:5; Rom. 1:21-22; 1 Cor. 1:18-23; 2:14; Eph. 4:18; 5:8).

The human soul is guilty and impure and needs atonement and repentance (Lev. 17:11; Ps/ 19:7; 41:4; Prov. 19:3, 16; Matt. 16:26; 1 Pet. 1:22).

The human spirit is proud, errant, and polluted and therefore has to be broken, illumined, and cleansed (Ps. 51:19; Prov. 16:18, 32; Eccles. 7:9; Isa. 57:15; 66:2; 1 Cor. 7:34; 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Thess. 5:23).

The human conscience is stained and needs cleansing (Titus 1:5; Heb. 9:9, 14; 10:22).

The human desire, inclination, and will reach out to what is forbidden and is powerless to do good (Jer. 13:23; John 8:34, 36; Rom. 6:17; 8:7; 2 Cor. 3:5).

And the body, with all its members—the eyes (Deut. 29:4; Ps. 18:27; Isa. 35:5; 42:7; 2 Pet. 2:14; 1 John 2:16), the ears (Deut. 29:4; Ps. 115:6; 135:17; Isa. 6:10; Jer. 5:21; Zech. 7:11), the feet (Ps. 38:16; Prov. 1:16; 4:27; 6:18; Isa. 59:7; Rom. 3:15), the mouth and the tongue (Job. 27:4; Ps. 12:3-4; 15:3; 17:10; Jer. 9:3, 5; Rom. 3:14; James 3:5-8)— is in the service of unrighteousness. In a word: sin is not located on and around humans but within them and extends to the whole person and the whole of humankind. (Reformed Dogmatics, III p. 80-81)

And for the next time you think you are without hope:

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1Cor. 1:27-31)

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:6-8)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:4-7)

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” (2Tim. 2:19)

God does not offer band-aid salvation. The depths of God’s mercy are only plumbed when the depths of your depravity are realized.

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