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Frank Frazetta Painting – Pretty good depiction of what it means to be enslaved to sin and unable to do anything about it.
Total depravity is a divisive doctrine within the Christian Church. This doctrine teaches that since the Fall of Man, all of mankind is in a state of complete corruption by sin. Our minds, bodies, spirit, emotions, desires, will, relationships – OUR EVERYTHING – is ruined by sin. The wreckage is so great that we can do nothing whatsoever to please God, draw near to him, or to please him. We are truly dead in our sin.
If we can do nothing to accept God, then that must mean our salvation is purely a gift. Scripture teaches that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ. (Ephesians 2:8) Most Christians recognize that grace is pure gift, but total depravity necessitates that the faith of believers must also be solely a gift, the work of God alone.
If faith is a gift of God, then why are some saved and the multitudes damned? Did God not love them? Did Christ not die for them? Did God not choose to save them?
These questions and many more rightly flow from a proper understanding of the doctrine of total depravity. Before addressing these questions, we must ask, “Does the Bible teach total depravity?” If this teaching can’t be found in Scripture alone, we should reject the doctrine. But if total depravity is in Scripture, we must address the questions of predestination, and we must do so from Scripture alone.
Travis Carden’s “Total Depravity Verse List”
Got Questions’ “Total Depravity – Is it Biblical?”
Theopedia’s Total Depravity Entry