Lesson 4 of – PROOF (Total Depravity / Resurrecting Grace). In this lesson we learned that people were originally created “Imago Dei” – in the Image of God. As such, they possessed an unblemished moral and spiritual nature – resting perfectly in their dependence on the grace of Christ. Yet, when our first grandparents – Adam and Eve – rebelled against God, this act of war cast our human nature into perversion, so that in our graceless state we were repelled by God’s authority and God’s character. Our relationship with God died that day, and our moral and spiritual nature died as well, so that we were neither willing nor able to love and obey the true Triune God. Thereafter, all human beings were born with a morally and spiritually, “zombie-like” dead nature. Ephesians 2, describes us as “the Walking Dead” – a people who are enslaved, completely compelled by the sinful patterns of our world, compelled by the practice of our satanic slave owner, and compelled by the passions of our internal sinful desires. In this state, though gloriously made in the Image of God, we are ruined – possessing no eternal value, and we are completely unable to obey or even desire to love and obey God. We were children of wrath. But God, being rich in his mercy, wakes up those people who belong to him. He makes them alive, raises them to new life, seats them with him as a co-heir, and lavishly pours his love and grace into their lives. Though they did not seek him or desire him, Christ sought out those that he loves and calls his own. He gloriously wakes up the walking dead.
1) What We Were: A Ruined Image of God
Ephesians 2:1 – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.
The state of humanity in original creation is Imago Dei: created in the Image of God
After the fall of man, humanity retained the Imago Dei, but now that image is Ruined by sin so that nature of man is a Glorious Perversion that is repelled by God’s Authority and God’s Character
2) How We Lived: Enslaved Under Triple Compulsion
Ephesians 2:1-3a – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.
Before the Grace of Christ intervened in our lives, we were a people who lived as slaves who lived under constant sinful compulsion
Following the sinful Pattern of the prevailing culture.
Following the sinful Practice of the controlling satanic prince of this world.
Following the sinful Passion of our internal cravings.
3) What We Deserved: Wrath
Ephesians 2:3b – Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
Our nature was worth nothing: still glorious as the Image of God, but now dangerously broken and rebellious
Our nature was eternally useless, fit only for the garbage heap
4) What God Did and Does: Resurrecting Grace
Ephesians 2:4-8 – But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
In Union with Christ, and by Grace, God:
Made us Alive with Christ
Raised us with Christ
Seated us with Christ in the Heavenly Places in Christ
Gave us the Surpassing Wealth of His Grace in Christ
Gave us His Infinite Kindness in Christ
5) Further Thoughts
Canons of Dort (3/ 4: 1, 3) – Humans were originally created in the image of God and were furnished in mind with a true and sound knowledge of the Creator and things spiritual. . . . However, rebelling against God at the devil’s instigation and by their own free will, they deprived themselves of these outstanding gifts. . . . Therefore, all people are now conceived in sin and born children of wrath, unfit for any saving good, inclined toward evil, dead in their sins, and slaves to sin; without the grace of the regenerating Holy Spirit, they are neither willing nor able to return to God.
Total Depravity (Total Inability) – This is what Reformed Christians mean by the term Total Depravity:
that man, in his graceless state is neither Willing nor Able to recognize, desire, pursue, or obey God in any way. Man’s moral and spiritual nature is completely possessed of a Total Inability to recognized Christ or pursue salvation without the Spirit of Christ working in his life to “wake him up” with Resurrecting Grace.
Free Will – This is what Reformed Christians mean by the term Free Will:
that man, in his graceless state is free to desire and choose all things that are within his moral and spiritual power. However, like the child who is repulsed by spinach cannot change his desire to eat it, a graceless man cannot change his heart to desire Christ. And like the man without legs can never hope to slam a basketball, a graceless man can never hope to please God. Human beings have free will, but that will, left on it’s own, would never desire salvation, nor seek it, nor call out for it, nor be able even to recognize the need for it, nor turn to Christ to receive it.
Praise be to Christ, who is Willing and Able to Wake Up the Walking Dead!