Are Christians Depraved?

Over the years I’ve noticed some reformed Christians fail to distinguish between the nature of the unbeliever and that of the saint. I thought they were focused too much on the old man. Recently I’ve heard and have been told directly that Christians are still depraved, even though they be in Christ. Is this what the Bible teaches?

A depraved man is corrupt in each and all of his faculties, a man of the flesh, unable to love God or even want to do so. His best thoughts are only evil continually. A Christian is identified as a spiritual man who can discern the truth of God’s Word – something a natural man cannot. A Christian can be transformed by the renewing of his mind on the Word of God, he can grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, he can cast off the sin that so easily entangles us, he can love the Lord and his brothers and sisters in Christ, and he can put on the whole armor of God, put on kindness, humility, compassion, gentleness, patience. The Christian can worship God. The natural man, trapped in his sin and depraved throughout, can do NONE OF THESE!

To say Christian are depraved is to deny the truth of Scripture. Being in Christ begins with the legal justification that translates us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His glorious light. Christians will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit of God, depraved people will not – they CAN NOT.

Christians have faith in God (Col 1:4), we can grow in wisdom and spiritual understanding (Col 1:9), we can walk worthy of the calling of Christ Jesus (Col 1:10), bearing fruit and growing in knowledge of God (Col 1:10). We are strengthened with all power according to His glorious might that we would have patience and joyful thanksgiving to God (Col 1:11-12), we have been rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus (Col 1:13), in Whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. We could go on, but the point is made explicitly clear from Scripture. Christians are not of the same category of persons as are depraved persons.

Because we are in Christ Jesus, in the New Covenant, we have benefits – some now, all in the age to come. Read how Benjamin Keach described these benefits and see if any of them can be claimed by the unbelieving depraved person.

It is a Full Covenant; because in it there is the Mediators Fulness Communicated to all such that are united to him as the effects thereof, ’tis not a Creature-Fullness that is in Christ; no, but the Fullness of God: For it pleased the Father that in him all Fulness should dwell; – in him dwelleth the Fulness of the God-head Bodily: The Fulness of the God-head dwells as truly in the Son, as in the Father; and of his Fulness do all Believers partake, Of his Fulness all we receive, and Grace for Grace.

 

  1. Therefore in this Covenant, we do not only receive Light, but the Fulness of Light.

  2. Not only Life, but the Fulness of Life, because Christ is our Life whom we receive in this Covenant.

  3. Not only Strength, but the Fulness of Strength; The Lord is the Strength of my heart, and my Portion forever.

  4. Not only Pardon of Sin, but Fulness of Pardon; or, the Fullest pardon, complete Pardon.

  5. Not only Righteousness, but the Fulness of Righteousness; perfect and complete Righteousness, and you are complete in him

  6. Not only Peace, but the Fulness of Peace; Peace that passes all understanding.

  7. Not only Beauty, but the Fulness of Beauty; for it was perfect, thro’ my Comliness which I put upon thee saith the Lord God.

  8. Not only Knowledge, but the Fulness of Knowledge; And ye also are Full of all goodness, filled with all knowledge, etc. The parts may be weak, yet where Christ dwells or hath taken possession of the heart, there the Soul hath a Fulness of Spiritual knowledge: Our Vessels may be full though’ but small.

  9. Not only Joy, but the Fulness of Joy.”

We will struggle against sin until we die or the Lord returns, knowing this is pleasing to our King and being empowered by His Spirit. The depraved man doesn’t struggle against sin, he tries to manage it so his life will be pleasing to himself, he has not the Spirit of God nor the love of or for Him.

Redemptive Historical Perspective

From Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow by Grover Gunn Scripture_cross

In Reformed interpretation, the unifying theme that is the key to understanding the development of redemptive history is the saving work of Jesus Christ. God created Adam and gave him the earth to rule and to subdue. Because of Adam’s fall into sin, the earth was cursed and man became a servant of sin and Satan. God immediately promised a coming Seed of woman who would overcome Satan and reverse the effects of the fall. The rest of redemptive history is the developing story of the restoration of fallen man’s earthly inheritance and authority through the work of the Seed Redeemer on behalf of His people. The theocracy of Old Testament Israel fits into this redemptive drama as a localized pledge and prefiguration of the coming perfect kingdom rule and everlasting earthly inheritance that the Christ will establish for His people and as the national means through which the Christ was brought into the world. Through the historical work of Jesus Christ, Satan was defeated and Jesus of Nazareth, who is fully man as well as fully God, was exalted to the place of all authority in heaven and on earth. In this age, Christ is exercising His authority, the nations are being discipled, and Christ’s universal rule over men is being extended to the uttermost parts of the earth. The drama of redemption will find its ultimate and final fulfillment in the glorified new earth of Revelation 21 after Christ returns.

Comparison Between Particular and General Baptists

I recently read this book which documents how Baptists throughout the past few centuries have been known as men of the 41HUukthTrL._SY300_book. Whether a man was a general or particular Baptist, a common thread through them was a high and proper regard for the Word of God. This is, one hand, a most encouraging book, as it shows how Baptists have been faithful to the Word of God in face of opposition from within and without the camp of Christ. On the other hand, it is a reminder that sin yet inhabits the saints of God and some will be led astray – and worse: there are false brothers within the camp and some will be shown by their works and doctrine to be no child of God. Heart-breaking as it is, such false ones must be treated as such and not as brothers. Perhaps God will yet bring them to repentance and faith. Our call is to be faithful to the message He has given us and not curry favor with men.

It is a very good book – I was surprised by it. One excellent tool in this book is the chart below, documenting the differences between these two main groups of Baptists: those who hold to the particular redemption that Christ applies only to the elect and those who hold to a general redemption in which Christ died for all men.

Comparison Between Particular and Genera – L. Russ Bush