Our series 50 Shades of Grace had us looking at the fundamental reason why we need grace… total depravity. I would say quite possibly many of us in the Church have no clue what I am talking about when I say total depravity.
In a nut shell when someone speaks of the topic of total depravity they are speaking of man’s fallen nature.
At Rest our motto is to “keep the main thing the main thing” and this topic is one of our main things or core beliefs here at rest Church. If you would like to know more about our core beliefs check out our beliefs page: httpssss://restchurch.net/what-we-believe/
In opening, I would like to create an outline so you have a clear understanding of where we are heading.
- We are fallen, how did we get this way?
- What did Adam’s sin mean for each of us personally?
- How did Jesus escape sin if we all are born sinners?
- How do we escape the grips of sin and death?
#1 – We are fallen, how did we get this way?
In hopes of understanding the theology of original sin or total depravity the best place to start is Romans. Throughout the book of Romans Paul builds the bedrock for how we teach grace within the Church even today. Paul was a pioneer on understanding the depth of our sin and God’s grace; in fact he understood his sin so well that Paul once referred to himself as the “chief of sinners.”
In Romans 3 he teaches us no one is righteous or better and said that no one is without sin.
 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,  as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
 in their paths are ruin and misery,
 and the way of peace they have not known.”
 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—
 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:9-23 ESV
It does not take a seminary degree in theology to understand the point Paul is making, we are all sinners. Part of this passage is taken from Psalms 14. He clearly wants his readers to understand man has a problem; the problem is our self-loving narcissistic consumption, “their throat is an open grave.” Simply put, we love our self’s above all things. But the question still remains, how did we get this way?
Adam…..no not pastor Adam; but Adam our father, the father of all humanity. In Genesis chapter 2 God creates Adam and Eve. They are perfect without blemish created in the likeness of God himself. Upon their creation God places them in a utopian place called the Garden of Eden and gives them two rules.
Rule 1: Do not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of both good and evil
Rule 2: Be fruitful and multiply.
One day while chillin’ in the garden, the devil came as a serpent to Eve; the serpent is much like a telemarketer trying to con Eve into buying something she did not need. Eve bought the lie, the serpent told her if she ate of the tree she would be like God knowing both good and evil. Eve not only ate but she also gave some to her husband Adam to eat as well.
Early in the morning God came walking through the garden and could not find Adam and Eve because they were hiding due to their nakedness. God inquired of the both for their location; they both replied they were hiding because they had no clothes. God knowing of their breaking of his rules asked a rhetorical question, “Who told you were naked?”
Rather than admitting their fault, they each pointed the finger at someone else and because of the rebellion against God’s wishes they were expelled from the utopian Garden of Eden. Not only were they expelled, but God cursed both man and woman for all generations. God cursed the Woman giving her great labor pains. God cursed the man by cursing the ground forcing him to work the soil for food.
#2 – What does Adams sin mean for us personally?
In Romans chapter 5 Paul explains to his readers the implications of Adam’s sin on all humanity.
Let’s read them:
“Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin” (v. 12).
“By the one man’s offense many died” (v. 15).
“Through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation” (v. 18).
“By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (v. 19).
Adam acted on behalf of all humanity (Federal Head – Much like our elected officials who vote on behalf of everyone) in the garden. When Adam sinned all of humanity sinned.
While people are not completely and utterly depraved and as evil as they could be, all people are totally depraved in that their every motive, word, deed, and thought is affected, stained, and marred by sin.
This includes the mind, will, emotions, heart, conscience, and physical body. The totality of a person is pervasively affected by sin, and there is no aspect of their being not negatively impacted by sin.
In the very simplest of terms, when Adam sinned, he sinned for everyone. As we exit our mother’s womb we are a sinner. Our likeness to sin has nothing due to our environment, though our environment can make our likeness worse – rather it is a bloodline issue. Each and every one of us are born into the bloodline of Adam; the bloodline of sin.
I have preached/ taught on the topic in the past and had parents come up to me and say, “my baby is not a sinner, they are an angel.” If that is you as you read this, I challenge you to volunteer in the nursery or toddler room at any local church on a Sunday morning. You will hear such words as “MINE!, NOT YOURS, GIVE THAT BACK,” you will quickly find your angle is no angle at all.
In fact psychological pioneer Sigmund Freud said this about humans,
“Men are not gentle, friendly creatures wishing for love, who simply defend themselves if they are attacked, but that a powerful measure of desire for aggression has to be reckoned as part of their instinctual endowment. The result is that their neighbor is to them not only a possible helper or sexual object, but also a temptation to them to gratify their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without recompense, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo Homini lupus (man is a wolf); who has the courage to dispute it in the face of all the evidence in his own life and in history?”
Adams sin has/is/will affect everyone thought out all creation and there is no escaping it. Each and every one of us have been predisposed or preprogramed to sin. Sin is hardwired into our blood.
#3 – How did Jesus escape sin if we all are born sinners?
Have you ever thought about Jesus’ birth from this perspective? There is more significance to Jesus’ being born to a virgin mother than we give credit. Jesus had to be born of a virgin; “Why,” you might ask…. to start a new bloodline. Jesus started a bloodline free of sin and death. Had Joseph been Jesus’ father then Jesus would have sinned, Jesus would have been born just like you with a sin filled bloodline.
Jesus could not have been the seed of an earthly man because earthly men pass the curse of sin and death. Jesus had to begin a new blood line; in fact that is why Paul refers to Jesus as the “second Adam” in 1 Cor. 15. Just like the first Adam Jesus faced trials and temptations but unlike the first Adam he held true. Jesus was perfect.
I want to pause here for just one moment and point out a place in scripture where we see things being passed down from generation to generation. Both sin and blessings are passed down for generations.
[7:1] For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,  and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.  He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.  See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils!  And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham.  But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.  It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.  In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives.  One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham,
Hebrews 7:19 ESV
The theological term for the passing of sin and blessings is, imputation.
Melchizedek ß Abraham-> Isaac-> Jacob-> Levi
When Abraham blessed God through giving, Levi also blessed God; that is a four generation span! Though this is a blessing we too pass down curses per say. Many times you will find very close similarities between parents and their children in regards to the things they struggle with.
This brings us to our fourth and final point.
#4 – How do we escape the grips of sin and death?
Now that we understand we are in a fallen helpless state due to Adam’s sin in the Garden, how do we escape our situation? Jesus. Jesus, the second Adam created our path for rescue. Paul brings this to light in Romans 5:6-17. Let’s read:
 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.  Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.  Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.  But the free gift (GRACE) is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.  And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin (ADAM). For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.  For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:6-17 ESV
Because God is perfect and cannot have any dealings with sin and we all stand condemned before him. Just like Adam and Eve in the garden, God had expelled us from his presence.
Upon the cross of Calvary Christ took our sins upon his shoulders, the sins from Adam throughout all time. Even before we were born again, even when our very nature was reprehensible to God Jesus died for us.
As scripture points out in (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10) Christ became our propitiation. Propitiation means to satisfy. On the cross Jesus satisfied the wrath of God the Father on our behalf. He took our penalty for sin that we might not have to.
I want to show you a powerful video that will help demonstrate this: httpssss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGlx11BxF24
I want to wrap this up by extending an invitation for anyone reading this today to come to Jesus for the first time. Jesus has died to take your deepest and darkest sin. No sin, no mistake is too big for God to forgive. You may say, you have no idea what I have done. God called Moses a murder and used him to gain the freedom of Israel from Egypt. Come…as you have heard above, you are sick with sin and need a Savior and Christ Jesus is that Savior. Will you come, will you accept him? Possibly you feel hopeless with life, Jesus says come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I’ll give you rest.