Tag Archives: total depravity

My Workshop “Five Certainties in the Light of Tragic Events” (for “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference) Part 4

In a few days I’ll be presenting several workshops at Emmaus Bible College’s leadership conference “Iron Sharpens Iron.” Registration (it’s not too late!) for the conference can be found here. We’ve been thinking about my first workshop entitled —

“Five Certainties in the Light of Tragic Events”

The first certainty we’ve noticed is: Man is fallen and capable of great evil. We’ve also seen the second certainty which is: God is holy and will judge rightly.  In our last post we focused on the fact that we must preach and teach that this life is brief– one must be ready to meet God!

The fourth certainty we must keep a grip on is that man is still made in the image of God and is capable of incredible acts of kindness and heroism. In several of the school shootings teachers lost their lives by standing between their students and the shooter.

Biblically, we would say that, although sin has infected man’s being made in the image of God, it has not obliterated it. Man is still able to do good things, but none of those good deeds can bring him salvation.

Sometimes Christians confuse the concepts of total depravity and utter depravity. Total depravity means that every aspect of the human being has been affected by sin. However, the human person is still made in the image of God and can do good, even heroic, things. Utter depravity is the concept that man can only sin, that the image has somehow been completely lost, that unsaved people are incapable of doing anything good.

But the Bible doesn’t teach that unsaved people are incapable of doing anything good. Jesus says, for example, in Luke 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

We can (and should) compliment our unsaved friends when they are good parents, good neighbors, good friends.  But salvation is not a matter of our goodness, is it?  And that’s why they need Jesus.  As we did.


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Posted by on May 24, 2018 in image of God


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