Social Media is dominated right now by the upcoming Presidential election. In the last couple of days a meme has repeatedly popped up picturing Hillary Clinton speaking at a podium, and reads “Listen. It’s simple. We’ve got to ban guns to save the toddlers and we’ve got to have late term abortions to kill the babies.” Mrs. Clinton did not say those exact words, but it sums up the contradiction of the platform she runs on. Gun control because kids keep getting killed, all the while protecting the “right” to kill an unborn child, even up to the due date for delivery. You can see the absurd dichotomy. I thought it was a perfect demonstration of the reprobate mind and tangible evidence of the doctrine of total (utter) depravity. Both tragic consequences of the fall, yet strangely encouraging nonetheless for believers because they point to the veracity of God’s Word. Today I would like to examine these concepts of the reprobate mind and total depravity, and how they work together to create a culture of iniquity.
There is quite a bit of confusion in the church about what the doctrine of total depravity means. Total depravity does not mean that every person ever born will be as bad and sinful as they can possibly be. Not everyone is a serial killer, obviously. Total depravity, better understood as utter depravity, simply means that there is nothing in creation that has not been effected, to varying degrees, by the fall. We see the effects of the fall in the natural world around us, and we see it in effects on the human body: disease, disabilities, death. But it also effects things like our thinking, attitudes, and desires; our minds.
Every person ever born receives God’s self-revelation through general revelation, which is the gift of their internal conscience and the external creation around them (Romans 1:18-20; 2:14-15). When they refuse to believe, God gives them over to their sin “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper” (Romans 1:28). At this point, the unbelieving person is consumed by their sinfulness. They cannot think clearly (reprobate mind). This is how you end up with people sincerely believing there is no contradiction between being for the control of guns so as to diminish accidental loss of life among young children, and at the same time affirming the practice of killing infants in their mother’s wombs.
The effects of sin are terrible. And the souls who have been given over to their sin, evidenced by their reprobate minds, are tragic. My heart is heavy when I observe these things, because if not for God’s gracious and unmerited gift of repentance and salvation, I would be one of these. We mourn for lost and rebellious people. But at the same time, we can rejoice all the more that God has saved us! What grace! We can also glorify God that His Word is true and sure. Pray for those lost ones around you. Take advantage of every opportunity to proclaim the Gospel, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15). Time is short and the workers are few. Stand firm, fellow workers. Keep your eyes on the One who is mighty to save!
Soli Deo Gloria!