Spiritually Disabled

August 16, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Traditionally it has come to be known as the doctrine of “total depravity.” Stated simply, it is the idea that, because of the sinful condition into which all human beings are born, our moral default mode is that we are depraved, and lack the ability to love, trust, and worship God of our own volition. However, some theologians, fearing that the words “total” and “depravity” will be interpreted to mean that every human being, unless He is supernaturally changed by God, always does the absolute worst thing he can do in every conceivable situation, would prefer to use different terminology. Because it can often be demonstrated that even the worst sinners could sin more frequently, and in worse ways, than they are presently sinning or have sinned in the past, the term “radical depravity” is offered as a substitute for “total depravity.”

However, this might also require some explaining. We tend to think of the word “radical” as an adjective which refers to something “extreme.” A kid who backflips off his speeding skateboard into the back of moving truck has done something “radical.”

radical skateboard

A political group that wants the government pay for birth control may be called “liberal,” but a group that wants the government to pay for genital mutilation surgery is “radically” liberal. This is not the sense that theologians want to convey when speaking of “radical depravity.” What they are getting at is the sense of the Latin word for “root:” radix. A person who is “radically” depraved is a person who is depraved down to the “root:” the most basic foundational level of his ontology. There is within him, preventing him from making God-honoring moral choices, a core of depravity which skews or perverts his thinking, his emotions, and his very will, toward evil rather than good.

One of the most marvelous things about God’s redeeming grace is that when He enables a person to trust Jesus Christ unto salvation, the Holy Spirit regenerates that person – completely changing his ontology, and giving him a new ability that he did not before possess: the ability to truly love and serve God.

The label “disabled,” when applied to someone who has a physical or mental infirmity, has become controversial and has the potential to offend, so I’m not trying to disparage anyone’s physical condition, but the fact is, apart from the miraculous work of God, our “natural” minds and natures are truly disabled by the consequences of sin.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:7

We get frustrated at people who disobey the law of God, including (far more frequently than we like to admit) ourselves. But we have to remember, people operating in their “carnality” – in their “flesh” – do not obey God because they CAN NOT obey God. They are totally disabled. Some physical and mental disabilities can be treated and even cured. However, our spiritual disability can ONLY be overcome by the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2

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Destined for Victory

February 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Romans | 13 Comments
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For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Romans 7:14

The Law can not change us. Nobody can deny that the Law is holy and good and just, because it came from the holy God. The Law is good because it reveals God’s holiness and our unholiness – our sinfulness. But the Law cannot cure us – it makes the diagnosis.

According to Romans 7:15-21, our “members” – our arms, legs, and whole body – can be controlled by our flesh (carnal nature; old nature), or by the Spirit (new nature). It is okay for the believer to have a goal of not breaking God’s laws, but the believer has to realize that, like the Apostle Paul, we can not obey the laws in our own power. Nor does the Law itself provide the power for us to do good.

According to Romans 7:21-24, believers have been “redeemed.” We have been “set free” or “bought out of slavery.” But the Law can not set us free. The Law is like gravity. The more we struggle to jump up in the air, the more keenly we feel its weight drawing us down. The Law – when viewed as a burden of weight to carry – draws us down into sin. When the Apostle Paul calls himself a “wretched” man, he means “wretched” in the sense of someone who has been in a battle and is worn out and worn down. No matter how hard we struggle in the battle, we will wind up wretched unless we are delivered – delivered by the Lord Jesus.

According to Romans 8:1-4, as believers, we are not condemned by the Law. There is now (present tense eternal) no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (those who are saved). We owed a debt for our sins, but Christ paid it for us. Now, it has been paid in full – the Law can not claim that it is still owed.

According to Romans 8:5-17, as believers, we are destined for four specific victories:

1. God’s Spirit, which lives inside us, is stronger than our flesh. Therefore, we are destined for victory over the flesh.

2. We had physical life before we were saved, but were dead spiritually. Now, we have the victory of spiritual life, too.

3. Before, we were at war with God. Now, we have peace with God. The victory is chiefly His, but, in a sense, it is ours, too.

4. Before, we wanted to please ourselves. Now, we want to please God. We are destined for victory over self.

According to Romans 8:18-30, as believers, we do not have to feel frustrated. The suffering in the world was not “created” by God. It was created by Adam’s sin. The suffering of the believer is temporary. We long for the fulfillment of our hope, but, because we know it is coming, we shouldn’t be discouraged. Jesus feels our pain, and intercedes for us in prayer. We know that God’s plans are perfect.

According to Romans 8:31-39, as believers, we do not have to worry about God disowning us. We need to be focused on serving God as our King and Lord, but there is also a sense in which God is “on our side.” He proved it when Christ died for us. If He died for us while we were sinning against Him, how much more will He bless us, now that we are His children? God is not a double-minded hypocrite. Having justified us, He will not now accuse us. Not only does the Holy Spirit pray for us, but Christ does, too. Even when we fail God, He still loves us. It is not a conditional love. A child who disobeys his father is still that father’s child. No child, once born, can change the fact of who his father is. Nobody can go back and be “unborn.” NOTHING can separate the born-again believer from the love of God.


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