Scripture: Ezekiel 36:25-27, John 3:16-21
Preacher: Rev. David Inks
I. What is Total Depravity?
II. Does a Totally Depraved Man have a Free Will?
III. The Significance of the Matter
Canons of Dort
Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine
Therefore all men are conceived in sin, and are by nature children of wrath, incapable of saving good,
prone to evil, dead in sin, and in bondage thereto; and without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit,
they are neither able nor willing to return to God, to reform the depravity of their nature, or to dispose
themselves to reformation.
But when God accomplishes His good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, He not only
causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illuminates their minds by His Holy
Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God; but by the efficacy of
the same regenerating Spirit He pervades the inmost recesses of the man; He opens the closed and
softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised: infuses new qualities into the
will, which, though heretofore dead, He quickens; from being evil, disobedient, and refractory, He renders
it good, obedient, and pliable; actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the
fruits of good actions.
Rejection of Errors
The true doctrine having been explained, the Synod rejects the errors of those:
Who teach: That in spiritual death the spiritual gifts are not separate from the will of man, since the will in itself has never been corrupted, but only hindered through the darkness of the understanding and the irregularity of the affections; and that, these hindrances having been removed, the will can then bring into operation its native powers, that is, that the will of itself is able to will and to choose, or not to will and not to choose, all manner of good which may be presented to it. This is an innovation and an error, and tends to elevate the powers of the free will, contrary to the declaration of the prophet: The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt (Jer. 17:9); and of the apostle: Among whom (sons of disobedience) we also all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind (Eph. 2:3).
Who teach: That grace and free will are partial causes, which together work the beginning of conversion, and that grace, in order of working, does not precede the working of the will; that is, that God does not efficiently help the will of man unto conversion until the will of man moves and determines to do this. For the ancient Church has long ago condemned this doctrine of the Pelagians according to the words of the apostle: So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy (Rom. 9:16). Likewise: For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? (1 Cor. 4:7). And: For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).
Ezekiel 36:25-27King James Version (KJV)
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
John 3:16-21King James Version (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
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