Total Depravity, Part 2 --- Romans 3:10-18 September 3, 2017



Early in the book of Acts, the Jewish leaders accused Peter and John of filling all of Jerusalem with the teaching of Christ and of “bring[ing] this man's blood upon us.” Later in the book of Acts, Gentile leaders in Thessalonica will accuse Paul and his associates of “upsetting the whole world” with the message that they preached. What was the powerful message that the early church preached that could have such an impact? A close examination of the message of the early church in the book of Acts reveals that the beginning of their message was a focus on the sinfulness of man before they presented Christ as Savior.

The first message of the church was preached by Peter and is recorded in Acts 2:22-23 Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death [essentially, “You killed God”].

Acts 2:36-38 records the end of this message, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ— this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the of your ; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The second message is recorded in Acts 3:13-15 where Peter says, “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.”

He further says in Acts 3:19, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away.” Acts 3:26 “For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

In Acts 5:28-33, Peter and other apostles were brought before the Jewish religious leaders, and the leaders said, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” 33But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them.

By the way, there are two responses that you will get when you preach the Gospel beginning with . The people in chapter 2 were cut to the quick and said, “What must we do?” Here, the religious leaders were cut to the quick and wanted to kill.

Stephen preached the Gospel in Acts 7:51-54 “You men who are stiff- necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. 52Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.” 54Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.

We could spend all morning today just going through the book of Acts and finding this consistent practice of confronting the sinfulness of men before presenting Christ as Savior. I just want to mention two other examples.

First, in Acts 17:30-31, Paul was preaching to the philosophic elite on Mars Hill in Athens. Having presented a presuppositional apologetic, he concluded with, “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

Second, in Acts 24:24-25, Paul spoke the Gospel to Governor Felix and his wife who was a Jewess, “But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.” Didn't Paul know that message was not too seeker sensitive and user friendly? Didn't he know that would frighten Felix and possibly push him away?

I have told you repeatedly in our study of Romans--and by the way, it was encouraging to hear Mark reiterate it last week--that we cannot begin to understand or rightly appreciate Jesus and what He has done on our behalf until we understand the depths of our depravity and the depravity of mankind. Man is far from being basically good. The apostle Paul has taken extreme measures in the beginning of Romans to describe mankind in terms of total depravity.

Now listen, this is important to understand. This Gospel message that begins with the total depravity of man and the judgment of God and then leads to the good news of Christ's death, burial and resurrection, is the message that the Holy Spirit uses to draw His elect for .

The of election is taught throughout the Scriptures. We will have plenty of time to study election later in Romans. Suffice it to say that no one denies election and . No matter what your understanding may be, God the Holy Spirit uses the message of total depravity and judgment to draw the elect to salvation. In John 16:8, Jesus refers to sending the Holy Spirit, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”

The prevalent messages today of “Your best life now,” or the prosperity gospel, or “God has a great plan for your life”, or whatever modern message are received readily by people many of whom will eventually end up in eternal judgment. These messages are not the Gospel and cannot save. The message that we must preach is the message that begins with total depravity, the justice of God, and then the tremendous good news of grace in Christ Jesus. That is the message that the Holy Spirit uses to save.

At the core of God's nature is that He forgives sin. His very nature is that He pardons those guilty of sin. In Exodus 34:6-7, God described Himself to Moses saying, “, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.”

Christ came to die to forgive sin. So when we fail to preach sin and judgment, we are denying the very foundation and message of God to the world. We are failing in a primary purpose for which we exist as a church; namely, to make disciples.

We have spent a number of weeks and months in a careful study of the first chapters of Romans that focus on a true view of the heart of man. Paul has laid a foundation of the plight of man before he points to the incredible and marvelous good news that God has provided: A glorious avenue of salvation through Christ Jesus from the consequence of eternal judgement of sin. So this morning, we conclude our study of the first section in Romans concerning the depths of sinfulness in which all of mankind find themselves.


In our last study, we saw that Paul sums up his argument concerning the total depravity of man in Romans 3:9-ff. Paul uses a well established rabbinic method of arguing his point by stacking verse after verse of Old Testament proof text to prove his point. He begins by writing in Romans 3:9-12 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; 12ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” We considered these verses under three labels: 1) Man is Morally Bankrupt; 2) Man's Mind is Bankrupt; 3) Man is Spiritually Bankrupt.

First, we saw that mankind is morally void: There is none righteous, not even one. In fact, the Bible states that our attempts at morality in comparison to God's glory are actually counterproductive. Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

What hinders our ability to rightly evaluate our condition before God is that we compare ourselves to ourselves and not to God's perfect standard. We see that some people are better than others in our horizontal existence, but we fail to evaluate ourselves by the standard of God Himself. We think that our righteousness is of the same nature as God's righteousness, which is not true. God's righteousness is categorically otherworldly than ours.

Second, we saw that “no one understands.” Man's Mind is Morally Bankrupt. Sin took a devastating toll on the mind of man. This refers to an absence of spiritual receptors, not just a lack of human knowledge. Obviously man has gained knowledge and understanding in many things pertaining to our existence. But when it comes to the truths about God and spiritual truths that are in keeping with seeking God, man is totally in the dark.

For example, 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.” 20Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. God's wisdom is foolishness to man and he cannot understand eternal truths from God.

I mentioned to you by way of example that there are all kinds of sound waves in this room that our ears do not pick up. But if you turn on a radio, you will hear music, news, sports, and all kinds of entertainment. They are there; you just do not have the receptors. So it is with the truth of God. Natural man does not have the spiritual receptors and he cannot understand spiritual matters on his own.

Lastly, we saw that no one seeks after God. Man Is Spiritually Bankrupt. I told you that the temples and idols that are so prolific in India, China, and other nations are not indications of man searching for God. Instead, they are monuments of man's rejection of God and of his attempts to erect his own religion. In many of these religions you find perversion and a reflection of the depraved, twisted minds of man. In ancient civilizations, there were temple prostitutes, male and female, who were supposedly part of worship to the gods.

We have to remove from our thinking the idea that, when mankind speaks about God apart from Christ, they are really seeking after God. They are not seeking for God; none seek for God. When sinned, he ran away from God, not towards God for reconciliation; and mankind continues to run away.

Total Depravity, part 2

I must say that as I delve deeper into God's concerning the heart of man, I am made aware how deficient my understanding of the depravity of man has been. I know that I am , and I know that mankind is wicked, but I have been taken down to new degrees of understanding. What we have here in Paul's conclusion is God's view of man. Paul lines up verse after verse of Old Testament revelation in order to show us what God thinks about man. I want to add a final thought to man's spiritual bankruptcy before we move on to verse 13. Paul writes in verse12 “together they have become useless.”

This term “useless” is okay as far as it goes, but it does not effectively convey the full meaning of what is being said about mankind. Man is useless in regard to his created purpose of being God's representative on earth. God made man in His own image to reflect Himself and have authority on earth. But man has utterly perverted and twisted the . Man now suppresses God and desires to exalt himself. Man does not rule as God's representative. He rules for his own selfish ends.

This description of “useless” is a crushing blow to many in the church today who would argue that mankind is of such great worth to God that He sent His own Son to die for man. In other words, there is a teaching that states that Christ's death on the cross is an indication of how valuable man is to God. But in reality, what we see put on display in the death of Christ is the infinite love, grace, and mercy of God who would send His Son to die for useless man, mankind who is utterly and totally depraved, who is fiercely and intensely a rebel and enemy toward God.

The only value and worth that is put on display in the Gospel is God's love and grace, and the person of Christ and His sacrifice, not man's value. They have all become useless. Christ, not man, is the pearl of great price found in the parables of Jesus. The picture is that of a person who learns of Christ and, at the point of conversion, sells all that he has in order to purchase the pearl of great price, which is Jesus.

Man can add nothing of worth by way of man-made religions, or man-made philosophy, or worldly wisdom. All of man's efforts toward contributing anything of eternal value are utterly void. Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

Any blessing that can benefit you must come from the grace of God by way of the person of Jesus Christ, through His Word and through the Holy Spirit. So the word “useless” is okay in describing mankind, but it does not go far enough. When we go to the Greek word translated “useless,” there are the added meanings of “perverse,” “damaged,” “corrupted,” “depraved,” and “spoiled.”

Now we are getting more of a sense of what Paul was conveying concerning the condition of man. However, we gain a further sense of God's full intent as we go back to the Old Testament to see the verse quoted here in Romans 3, which is Psalm 14:3: They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt [corrupt in the sense of being putrid, rotten]; there is no one who does good, not even one.

So when we put it all together, we get a further understanding than just “useless”. Man is perverse, morally and spiritually damaged, corrupt, depraved, spoiled, and rotten. The Hebrew Word here is not a pretty adjective and yet God applies it to every member of the human race. The word carries the meaning of “stinking” and “putrid,” like maggot-infested meat. Man is dead and he stinks. He is rotten. Man is not good for anything but to be thrown on the rubbish heap.

We learn here that there is no use for unsaved mankind in the universe except for destruction. He is, in the full sense of the word, useless. As we go deeper into the depravity of man, we begin to understand the sense of Jesus' use of the term “Gehenna” in describing hell. The picture of Gehenna which Christ used in order to point to hell is the burning of trash on the fire heap. Gehenna was a deep, narrow valley to the south of Jerusalem, where the idolatrous Jews offered their children in sacrifice to Molech in the Old Testament.

Speaking of the evil King Manasseh, 2 Chronicles 33:6 says, “He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger.”

This valley of Gehenna was where all the refuse of the city was burned. The bodies of dead animals and of criminals, and all kinds of filth, were thrown out and consumed by fire which was always kept burning. Over time, it became the picture of everlasting destruction. Jesus refers to Gehenna as the just, eternal place of unsaved mankind.

Matthew 5:22 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good- for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell [Gehenna]”.

Matthew 5:29-30 “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell [Gehenna]. 30If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.”

Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna].”

The shocking picture is this: Because man is useless, because he is rotten and putrid, his only worth is to be thrown onto the trash heap of eternal hell.

There is a saying prevalent today that is contradicted by this biblical view of the depravity of man. This view deals a deathblow to the saying that “God loves the sinner but hates the sin,” which is not a biblical teaching. God does not throw sin into Gehenna. He throws useless, putrid mankind onto the eternal fire heap. There is no sin apart from sinners.

Barnhouse wrote, “To be unfit for the use for which we were designed shows what sin did for the race, and how far man is estranged from God. Apart from the grace of God and the that was provided in Christ Jesus there can be no use for man in this universe. The rot of idolatry has corrupted the race, and the initial object of that idolatry is self. It is the exaltation of self which has brought all these other ills in its train.”

I remind you that as we study the doctrine of the total depravity of man, be slow to think only in terms of the world at large or other people. Total depravity refers to you and to me first and foremost. We must understand the depths of our own sin before we will know the greatness of Christ as Savior. One writer put it this way, “If only that which is in you were allowed to be manifested, and if the opportunities were available for all that is in you to be spread across the world, it would still be in the same condition that it is in today.”

So we come to the end of Paul's description of sinful man in verses 9-18. He has taken great pains to leave no room for any objections. Paul has said repeatedly, “There is no excuse.”

Paul adds a number of other descriptions of man's total depravity that we must consider before we come to the good news of Christ. In the next verses, it is as if Paul had in mind a medical examination of man's physical body. Paul mentions the throat, tongue, lips, mouth, feet and eyes. We will sum up our study of Paul's conclusion as we look at Three Parts of Man's Body that picture his depravity: 1) Speech (all that is involved for us to speak)--points to what is in our hearts; 2) Feet--point to the swiftness to kill, murder, and hate; 3) Eyes--point to a blindness concerning the fear of God


We could certainly view this section as the speech of men devouring each other with cutting words. We could view this as mankind devouring one another, not bite by bite, but with one great gulp, as if the throat is like an open grave and is able to swallow a person whole.

There are many passages of Scripture that point to the speech of men as devouring one another ---

Psalm 52:2-4 Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, O worker of deceit. 3You love evil more than good, falsehood more than speaking what is right. 4You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Proverbs 12:18 There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

So we might consider the destructive nature of man's speech here, but Paul is actually viewing the throat as an avenue or portal through which we see the heart of man. He is giving us a perspective of how God views man. As an open grave reveals the death that is inside, so also the human mouth and throat reveal the death that is in the heart.

Matthew 12:34, 36-37 “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. . . . 36But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

In Mark 7:20-23 Jesus said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

So our speech is a portal into our souls that reveals our true nature. Paul goes on to give some examples of how man's speech puts on display and gives insight into the heart of man. He says . . .

WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING Romans 3:13b It is the nature of man to lie. You know this from your own experience. It begins at an early age. We do not need to teach a child to lie; he does it naturally. We have to work hard at teaching him to speak truth. All of us have lied through our youth and as adults. Even as believers, if we are honest, we must still combat temptations to lie in order to get out of difficult situations or in order to exalt self or cover up wrongdoing.

I have mentioned before how clever one of our children was after she bit a cousin on the back. When she was confronted with her carnivorous ways, she said, “He bit himself on his own back.” We have come to simply accept that politicians will lie and twist the truth in order to get elected. We do not trust them.

I can remember how, as a young married couple buying our first car, a used car salesman saw us coming a mile away. He deceived us so that, the long and short is, we were lied to and ended up having to keep a car that we did not want.

In many advertisements, they start out with a partial truth and then they tell you the full story in fine print at the bottom. It is deceptive. We have come to the point where we do not trust the media. We do not know what is true and what is fake news.

There is deception even in the church. We are told that has his men who follow Satan's lead and dress up as angels of light. In this way, they infiltrate and introduce deception.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end will be according to their deeds.

There are examples of deception throughout the Word of God. Abel tried to lie to God about killing Cain. Jacob deceived his father by pretending to be Esau. Leah deceived Jacob by pretending to be Rachel. Delilah lied to Samson. David attempted to cover up his adultery by getting Uriah drunk. Judas betrayed Jesus. Ananias and Sapphira lied about their giving, and the list goes on.

Psalm 10:7 [Man's] mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.

2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.

There are those in the church who do not want to be told the truth; they just want to hear what they want to hear. And there are those who are more than willing to give it to them.

Man is by nature a liar. Next, it says . . .


This is a disturbing and sad illustration of how mankind manifests depravity by wounding others with words. Paul warns about devouring each other. We can wound others with our speech as with a sword; and here the picture is a deadly venomous snake. Man is born with a poisonous tendency to use words to strike and inflict deadly poison into others.

One pastor wrote this, “The fangs of a deadly snake ordinarily lie folded back in the upper jaw. But when it raises its head to strike, those hollow fangs drop down, and when the serpent bites, the fangs press a sack of deadly poison hidden under the lips and inject venom into the wound.”

There are numerous motives for injecting venom into others. Envy and jealousy motivate us to communicate destructive gossip about others. We tear down others in order to build ourselves up. In reality, we have not changed the circumstances at all.

When a fellow believer may have a better rapport with others than we do, or maybe he or she is gifted in a greater manner that we would desire, then the fangs come out to inject venom. Maybe someone occupies a higher standard in life or has more friends or possibly they have injured us in some way, then the fangs drop down. The effects of gossip are to the soul what those of snake poison are to the body.

How we speak can be divisive and destructive --- Psalm 12:2 They speak falsehood to one another; with flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.

Referring to women who gossip, Paul writes in 1 Timothy 5:13, “At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.”

Proverbs 11:13 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.

Proverbs 26:20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.

There are so many ways and motives concerning how we inflict pain with our words. It is in the nature of mankind to verbally abuse and destroy others. So man is deceitful and is a liar; he wounds others with his words. Next. . .


This has to do with pronouncing curses against another person plus foul, raunchy speech. If you can listen to anyone's conversation in a public area, you will hear this nonstop. I worked construction for over ten years of my life, and the foul language on a job site is just continuous and uninterrupted. When I was unsaved, I joined in. One man could not finish a sentence without using God's name as a curse word. Sexually explicit talk, hateful words, and bitterness just spew out. In locker rooms, bars, even in the church there can be harsh bitterness expressed toward other people.

So the first body part that Paul uses to illustrate man's depravity is the mouth and speech. The throat is an open portal that reveals the heart of man. The next part is the feet.


You may not have considered the fact that man is basically a murderous being. Man kills man at a greater rate than any animal on the planet kills its own species. We kill our own constantly. You can go to the Pacific islands where cannibalism was rampant at one time, or you can to the gas chambers of Germany where millions were murdered and killed under Hitler. Or consider the modern terrorist activity that killed over 3,000 people in the Twin Towers on 9/11. Men massacre each other.

For example, in the United States since 1901 we have killed twice as many people in private acts of taking a life as those who have died in all the wars in which we have fought in our entire history. We kill unborn babies by the millions. Even religious groups have been guilty of murder. I am old enough to remember Jim Jones and the poisoned Kool-Aid that killed all of his followers. Then there are the Jews who died in the Holocaust, a staggering six million. That would be like wiping out the Dallas/Fort Worth area or Houston with all of its suburbs.

One basic method of documenting world history is to simply follow the wars and battles of different nations. Billions have died over the centuries. Now we could wipe out whole cities with the push of a button. Yes, man is a killing being.

You may say that you have never killed anyone, but you must understand that all the ingredients are there within you, even though you do not act on them. We all are guilty of shedding innocent blood one way or another. Jesus said when you are angry at another person, you have murdered him in your heart. All of the ingredients are there for a serial killer too; we just do not let the beast out.


This refers to the devastation of cruelty. Men are cruel. Many times, he does not just kill. He kills with a sense of cruelty. This would include the whole area of child and wife abuse. Man leaves a swathe of devastation, destruction, massacre, and misery in his world. Violence and bloodshed mark all of human history. Even as I speak, there is growing unrest in Myanmar where there is widespread senseless killing.

Animosities, crimes, revolutions, wars. . . . One commentator wrote this, "The most savage animals do not destroy so many of their own species to appease their hunger as man destroys his fellows to satisfy his ambition, his revenge or his greed."

So man's speech manifests the depravity in his heart. His feet are swift to shed blood. Lastly, Paul mentions . . .

Eyes--There Is A Blindness Concerning the Fear of God; Man Is Headed for Destruction and He Does Not Care. THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES Romans 3:18

A little over a year ago, I did a miniseries on the Fear of the Lord. I would like to return to that series one day and give it the time that it deserves. We learned that there are three parts to the Fear of the Lord: 1) Fear of the Judgment of God; 2) Fear of the Paternity of God; 3) Fear of the Person of God.

I believe verse 18 here has reference to the Fear of the Judgment of God. Mankind does not rightly fear God as he ought. Unbelievers, those who are not saved, do not fear God when in reality they should have a great terror of Him. The reasonable and right response to how God has manifested His presence through creation should be a fear of the God who has such power. It is not courageous to ignore fear when the threat to life is overwhelming and when a positive alternative is available.

For example, it is not considered brave and courageous to stand on train tracks when a charging locomotive is coming straight for you. It is considered foolish. It is not brave to lay prostrate in front of a herd of stampeding buffalo. It is foolish to not run to get out of the way. In an infinitely greater fashion, man fails to fear the God whom he knows is there and whom he knows is a just and righteous God.

We have already considered this in our study of Romans 1:32. Although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death [death and eternal separation from God in hell is something that one should rightly fear], they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. This reality of the fear of God is reiterated in Hebrews 10:31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Our warning mankind of this eternal danger is part of our message of the Gospel. We warn men and women of the danger that their next breath could be in the very presence of God. Man's sin and God's judgment are the backdrops on which we speak the good news of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection.

So there is a legitimate place for the abject fear and terror of God. Jesus taught that man should fear God who has power to punish sin and send men to utter destruction. In Luke 12:4-5, Jesus said, “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

Revelation 14:7 Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the and the earth and sea and springs of waters.

Mankind treats God as optional. There is coming a day when God will intervene either by way of death or by Christ's return, and God will not be optional on that day. On that day, no man can ignore God. All will fear Him, but the greater fear on that day will be that there is no hope of escaping judgment. There is hope today, but when death comes or when the Lord returns, there will only be fear without any hope.


We have been through weeks of studying the depravity of man. We do not need to be afraid of this doctrine of total depravity. The total sinfulness of man is one of the foundational in all of Scripture. Those who truly are mature in the Christian faith are those who have a growing knowledge of their sinfulness which leads to a growing understanding of the eternal value of Christ. I have told you before that Paul viewed himself as the chief of sinners towards the end of his life.

The recognition and acceptance of your own sinfulness is the prerequisite for your acceptance of the perfect salvation found in and through Christ. If you do not accept the charge that God levels against you, you will not feel the need of having Christ as Savior.

Luke 5:31-32 And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

Since Jesus came to save only sinners, you cannot be saved unless you take the place of the totally depraved sinner. We will find next week that Paul has given us this thorough description of mankind so that we will understand that every person who ever lived is accountable to God.

Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.