Romans 12:10—10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Total depravity is the teaching of how the Bible describes the nature of mankind. It is depraved. It is morally corrupt and wicked. Total depravity doesn’t mean that we are as morally corrupt and as wicked as we could be but that this corruption and wickedness has touched every aspect of our world, mind, heart, and soul. Our actions are not spurred on by love of God and love of neighbor but by love of self. Without God’s intervention, we are totally depraved.
This is a key doctrinal lesson to learn in order to know the tendencies of our flesh and our desperate need for God’s intervention. We need His intervention in both coming to saving faith, working out our salvation, and staying in the faith. This teaching also magnifies God’s glorious work within us and within the world to rescue and redeem us from our depravity. Sometimes though, we take total depravity too far—if that were even possible.
With the teaching of depravity in our worldview, we can start to treat the world, other human beings, and ourselves as if there were no good at all. Is that what the Bible teaches? It most certainly does not. By the power and strength that God provides, people do wonderful things in this world. By God’s grace they love each other and do kind, selfless, and generous works in each other’s lives. Abiding in Jesus, a life once characterized by total depravity can now be seen as a life that should be honored, revered, praised. In doing so—understanding depravity rightly—you are not falsely flattering the person, but praising the God who has done the good work in that person. To outdo one another in showing honor involves actively seeking to find how God is at work in the lives of others and in this world and praising God by honoring the vessels through which He is working. Something to think about…
How would God have me affirm His work in my life and in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ?