In light of Reformation Day on October 31st, we will be partaking in a five-part series on the Doctrines of Grace. This short series is intended to introduce the doctrine and give a few historical quotes from those who preached such doctrines. It is vital to both know the Doctrines of Grace and seek to live out the grace of such doctrines with the help of the Holy Spirit. As John Benton so wonderfully put it:

The doctrines of grace are in fact five beautiful diamonds from which the glories of Jesus wonderfully shine to attract those who are lost in sin. they address the sinner’s deepest fears in the most heart-warming way imaginable. rather than being truths of which we are to be wary, they are in fact an integral part of the gospel to be proclaimed.”[i]

Sin and the Grace of God

To understand the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must first understand the doctrine of total depravity. If we are to understand the riches of God’s free and sovereign grace in our Lord Jesus Christ, then we must understand the bad news of the fall of man. Due to original sin and the fall of humanity’s federal head (Gen. 3), every aspect of our humanity has been affected by Adam’s fall into sin. Adam’s sin against God has not only provoked God’s anger and wrath, but it has also enslaved the whole of humanity.

Due to the Fall, every aspect of our humanity is tainted and affected by sin. You were born in this world, Adam, with a fallen, sinful nature. Also, since you have been made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), you are morally accountable to God for your own personal sin. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Considering the doctrine of total depravity, pastor Bill Payne once wrote the following: “Due to original sin, our minds are ensnared, our affections are corrupted, and our will is enthralled with the ways of the world.” Left to himself, man is utterly helpless. Man is spiritually dead in sin and under God’s righteous and holy wrath (Eph. 2:1). Sinful man is enslaved to sin and cannot come to Jesus Christ on his own. Genesis 6:5 writes: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was continually only evil.”

In John’s Gospel, we see that “this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19). In John 3:3, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Your first birth was not enough. You were born as a spiritually dead man. You were dry bones in the valley of death. You loved darkness. Your works were evil. God must come and give you new life! The life of God must come into the soul of man. Jesus said in John 6:44: “no one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

The Sovereign Grace of God

How can a dead man come to life? It takes the sovereign, monergistic action of God. My friend, this is the miracle of regeneration! Wayne Grudem defines regeneration as the following: “It is a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us… In the work of regeneration, we play no active role at all. It is instead totally a work of God.”[ii] Charles Spurgeon writes:

“apart from the [life-giving] influence of the spirit of God, men’s souls must lie in the valley of dry bones, dead, and dead forever… it is necessary that the spirit of God should operate to change the will, to correct the bias of the heart, to set man in a right track, and then give him strength to run in it.”[iii][iv]

Last Thoughts

Beloved, remember this: It is not a “mere coincidence” that you now love the Savior and treasure God’s Word. It is not a mere coincidence that now your affections are changed. You no longer love sin. You hate it. It grieves you. You long to know God and walk with Him in fellowship. Your salvation has nothing to do with yourself or any man. Your salvation is exclusively a monergistic work of God! This means that you had nothing to do with your salvation. You add nothing to it, only your own sin that made it necessary! Isn’t that freeing, Christian?

Since this great salvation you have freely received is from God, you will be eternally secure in the hands of God. No one can snatch you out of his hand. From start to finish, your salvation is all of God’s sovereign grace. The doctrine of total depravity sets the backdrop for seeing and savoring God’s love in Christ Jesus.

I conclude with the words of Charles Wesley:

I my master have denied, I afresh have crucified 

And profaned his hallowed name,
put him to an open shame.

Jesus speaks and pleads his blood!

He disarms the wrath of God:

Now my father’s mercies move:

He receives me with his love.”

References

[i] Benton, Evangelistic Calvinism, 5.

[ii] Regeneration – What does it mean to be born again? by Wayne … – Monergism. https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/regeneration_grudem.html

[iii] Spurgeon and Calvinism: Recovering Our Evangelistic Fervor. https://servantsofgrace.org/spurgeon-and-calvinism-recovering-our-evangelistic-fervor/

[iv] The Spurgeon Library | The Necessity of the Spirit’s Work. https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/the-necessity-of-the-spirits-work/

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