I’m reading a sermon series by John Piper on the 5 points of Calvinism. I know I’ve written on this topic before, but I had to share a further revelation. I was trying to explain recently to a friend why I was so excited about understanding this idea of my complete, utter sinfulness. As I talked, I realized that it is really hard to put into words how exciting it is to realize you are a complete sinner! Let me borrow something from Piper to try to explain why this is so exciting, and why it is so awe-inspiring. He says, in concluding his discussion on total depravity:
“In summary, total depravity means that apart from any enabling grace from God, our hardness and rebellion against God is total, everything we do in this rebellion is sin, our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.
It is hard to exaggerate the importance of admitting our condition to be this bad. If we think of ourselves as basically good or even less than totally at odds with God, our grasp of the work of God in redemption will be defective. But if we humble ourselves under this terrible truth of our total depravity, we will be in a position to see and appreciate the glory and wonder of the work of God . . . “
It has really hit me recently that God is a God of absolutes. You are either for Him, or you are against Him. You are either a sinner, or you are saved by grace. There is no quantification in His book. I am not a better person than anyone else – I am a sinner of the worst kind (because there is no other kind!). The awesome part of that understanding is that, despite my complete “wrongness,” God reached in and He decided to make me “right.” It isn’t because He looked into the future and saw I was going to be a good person anyway so He might as well save me . . . I am full of sin, but God, in His infinite mercy and grace, decided to save me. That just brings me to my knees . . .