Video Transcript: Devastating Diagnosis

Today we read God's word from the book of Romans chapter 3, we're going to focus especially on verses 9-20. And today we're going to be focusing on what the Bible says, and summarizes about human sin. Someone has said that the doctrine of depravity is the only Christian  doctrine that requires no revelation. It should be obvious, just by looking. I'll begin with a few  words from the Minnesota Crime Commission that were written a number of years ago. Every  baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self centered. He wants what  he wants when he wants it. His bottle, his mother's attention, his playmates toy his uncle's  watch, deny him these ones and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be  murderous, were he not so helpless. He is in fact dirty. He has no morals, no knowledge, no  skills. This means that all children not just certain children are born delinquent, if permitted to continue in the self centered world of his infancy, given free reign to his impulsive actions to  satisfy his wants. Every child would grow up a criminal, a thief, a killer or a rapist. Well. that  was inspiring. And so we turn to what the book of Romans has to say about these things.  What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all. We've already made the charge  that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin, as it is written, There is no one righteous, not  even one. There is no one who understands no one who seeks God. All have turned away,  They have together become worthless. There is no one who does good not even one. Their  throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit, the poison of vipers is on their lips.  Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and  misery mark their ways and the way of peace. They do not know there is no fear of God  before their eyes. So the apostle quotes from various Old Testament scriptures which describe the human condition, and in those quotations, he shows that this problem doesn't just affect  kind of a bad person here or there, but corrupts the entire human race, every last one of us. If you are a Jew, it affects you, if you are a Gentile, a non Jew, it affects you Jews and Gentiles  alike, are all under sin. So when we talk about total depravity, it means that the whole race is  affected nobody, righteous? Not even one all have turned away, all worthless, no one who  does good, not even one. We don't need real detailed, careful study of the deeper meaning of  those verses. It says exactly what it means that no matter what nationality you come from, no matter what age you are, no matter whether you're male or female, no matter who you are,  all alike are under sin, the entire human race. And not just the entire human race, but the  entire human personality is under sin. There is no one who understands the mind is infected,  and corrupted and blinded. When people look around, they don't see the world in light of the  the maker who brought it about. And we don't see ourselves in light of that we don't think like people who know God, unless you were redeemed by God, and even then it's a kind of a  struggle for us sometimes. But apart from God, we do not understand God. We do not  understand ourselves and our purpose in the world we were made to be the image and glory  of God in the world. We were made to operate in this world by God's guidance, and to help  the world to flourish. Because we were meant to take care of it on God's behalf. And we've  done the opposite. We've brought on a great deal of Ruin on the world and on ourselves. And,  and right at the core of that is that our minds do not understand. When we look back to the  origins of the world. We don't want to believe what God says about it. So we cook up our own  ideas about where the world came from, and where humanity comes from. When we look at  how we ought to behave. Our minds don't want to hear what God says we want to do it our  way and think our way. So the mind is infected by sin so that we don't understand the will,  what we want, not just how we think. But what we want, is infected by saying no one who  seeks God, the seeking that cry of the psalmist, who has the Spirit of God working in him, Oh  God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you. But apart from God's work, nobody even seeks  Him. Nobody wants him. I remember a conversation that I had with a young man in a church  that I was formerly serving. And during the course of our conversation, I asked him, Well, tell  me a little bit about your relationship to God. And he said, I don't really have one. I don't have a relationship to God. And he said, I don't really think anybody knows for sure whether God is  real, or if they do, they don't know what he's like. And I said to him, Well, you know, what are  you doing to find out? Oh, nothing. And I said, Doesn't that bother you? He said, No, not really. There is no one who understands no one who seeks God. And it didn't bother him or or scare  him that he just didn't know God. He wasn't curious. He was going to live his life without God. 

He grew up in church, but he just had zero interest in God. And that's the core of human sin.  Really, it's not just when you go out and be an Axe Murderer. The core of human sin is God's  not a factor. He might be there, he might not be who cares? The Bible says, The fool says in  

his heart, there is no God. And there, it's not even talking about your hardcore intellectual  atheist. It's just the fool says, Hey, God's not a factor. I live my life without him. I do what I  want no one who understands no one who seeks God. So the mind and the will ignore God  and the emotions. God doesn't scare me. God doesn't trouble me. God, just what about him?  

And and some people will say, Well, you can certainly be good without God. You know, what's  the big deal? I know a lot of good people who are good people without God. Well, let me just  change the subject for a moment. Let's say I know a person. And he's really quite nice to his  pets. He never kicks the dog. He feeds the cat. He goes to work and is fairly nice to people.  And there's just one little itty bitty problem in his life. He is an absolute jerk to his wife. When  he walks in the house, he acts like she's not even there. He lives his life and just ignores  anything she wants. And, you know, he just ignores or mistreats her or despises her. But he's  nice to the pets. He's a person who can be good, without loving his wife. And say, well, that's  kind of stupid. You know, that loving your wife matters more than not kicking the dog. Well,  My point exactly. If you say you can be good without God, without the most important  relationship in your life, the one who gave you being and gives you everything you are in and  calls you to love you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. You say, Well, I  don't even care about him. He wants to me to love him with heart, soul, mind and strength.  And I want to give two hoots about him but I can be a good person anyway. Well, that all  depends what you mean by being good, because you've just violated the greatest  commandment and the central reason for your existence. Other than that, you're a really  good person. So the the core of it all is that the that the human personality fallen in sin wants  to be its own god, you remember the story of the Garden of Eden. The great temptation was if you ignore God's command, and do what I the serpent am telling you, you'll be like gods,  you'll be able to decide good and evil for yourself. And that's the core of sin in our mind, our  will our emotions, once that choice was made by humanity, we want to be top dog, we want  to replace God, we want him out of the picture. So it infects the entire human race, the entire  human personality, the entire human body. Just look at some of the words that are used here.  Their throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit, the poison of vipers is on their  lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood. There is no fear of God before their eyes. So throats tongues lips, mouths, feet, eyes, the body, and  the instruments of communication are deeply corrupted. And here the scriptures are trying to  give us a sense of how just how it's just sin has poisoned everything about us. And that  doesn't mean we're all as bad as we could be all Over time, it does mean that only God's  restraining power in our life does keep us from being as bad as we could be all the time. And  depravity affects every part of ourselves. And you hear some of you might not even like what  I have to say in the sermon, the Bible is trying to also give us a sense here of the disgust that  the Bible that God has towards sin. How what how do you guys feel about, let's say, a snake  come slithering out of the eye socket of a skull, or an open grave with bodies lying there, and  maggots crawling all over them, or a mouth with puke oozing out of it. That's the kind of  picture that we're getting here of what humanity falling into sin is like, and the Bible wants us  to feel that kind of disgust for what sin does to us. And this is the the doctrine of total  depravity. It means that the human race in its totality, the entire human race has fallen into  sin, it means that there's not one part of your personality that fell, but another part of it,  that's still good. It's not that your mind is thinking good thoughts, but you're just seeking the  wrong things. The personality as a whole has been corrupted, and your body has been  corrupted. Sometimes, again, let me to remind you total depravity doesn't necessarily mean  that everybody does all the wrong actions they possibly could to take another picture totally  proudly means you're totaled. When a car is totaled, that doesn't mean necessarily that the  distributor cap didn't get broken in the accident, or that the rear left fender also got smashed. There may be parts of the car that didn't get dented or dinged up quite as bad as the rest of  it. But to be totaled means that thing doesn't work anymore. And it costs more to fix it than  the thing is worth. total depravity means we have maybe we once were created to be great, 

but it means that something horrible happened that has totaled humanity, and has ruined us  in every respect. And so we need to hear what God's Word says about that. Now, having  listened all that, you say, Man, I that is not fun to listen to. And preachers, especially Christian preachers are about the gloomiest most pessimistic people in the world. Yeah. Christians are  the gloomiest people about fallen human nature, that there is if you want a religion that tells  you humanity is basically good, I can offer you several options. Islam says humanity is  basically good. All you need is Sharia law to tell you how to behave and to express your  goodness that is a fundamental doctrine of Islam. If you want to follow Confucianism, which is one of the major Eastern religions, mainly in China, Confucius' first doctrine is humanity is  basically good. And you can go down to one list after another of religions that teach you that  humanity is basically good. Even atheistic communism teaches you that humanity is basically  good. There are just a few problems society got messed up and society may corrupt and there are a few bad people who mess up the worker's paradise. But if you just killed those few bad  people, then all the rest of us good people would be living in a worker's paradise. There are  many religion's ideologies that tell you how good man is. And then they tell you and here's  the few that are messing it up for the rest of us. Let us wipe them out. And we will the rest of  us will be living in joy and happiness and cheer. And you can see that there someone has  said, there is no doctrine that has done more devastating damage to the human race than the idea that man is basically good. Because those good people are all ready to gun down and  wipe out the bad ones, those few bad ones that are wrecking things. If instead we say we let's not be shocked, we're all a mess. And we need saving very badly. Then we can at last be  honest about who we are and why the human condition is what it is why feet are swift to shed innocent blood why people lie and gossip and do the things they do. Instead of saying we're  basically good people who have a little glitch now and then we say God created humanity  noble and good. And it could be that again by His redeeming grace, but right now, apart from  that we're totalled Christianity is the gloomiest of religions, but it's the only one that can  afford to be. We're the only ones that can afford to be honest about how bad it's gotten.  Because we're the only one with a redemption of the kind that Christianity brings. If you have  a message that Christianity is based that humans are basically good. And here's a couple of  pointers on how to make nice people even nicer. Well, that just falls disastrously short when  you realize how bad our problem really is. So Christianity comes with this devastating  diagnosis. Here are the concluding verses of Paul's charge that's been going on for about  three chapters. Now. He says, Now we know that whatever the law says, it says, to those who  are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world held  accountable to God, therefore, no one will be declared righteous in His sight. By observing the law rather, through the law, we become conscious of sin. That is the devastating diagnosis.  This is what God's law says. And to understand that diagnosis, we need to understand the  fallenness of our condition, and also what the law of God is meant to do and what it's not  meant to do. The Law of God is meant to deliver the diagnosis not to provide the cure. When  our Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, he spent a lot of time with people who were very  obviously bad. Everybody knew they were bad, they were stinkers. And the people who  considered themselves quite good, were kind of scandalized at some of the company Jesus  hung out with. So finally, Jesus said to them well, it's not the healthy who need a doctor. But  the sick, I didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners. And so, in those brief sentences,  Jesus gave the same devastating diagnosis. As Paul, he says, We're sick, we're sinners. And  that's why he came in the first place. Now, when you have a disease, how do you know it,  some of you have had the flu lately, or you've had that bug that's going around, and you  know, you're kind of sick, because you just feel kind of lousy, it can hardly get out of bed you,  use the thermometer and it says you're spiking a fever. And if you get other kinds, you know,  of illnesses, you might be throwing up, or you might have severe pain somewhere. And that's  one way you know, you're sick, and you've got a problem is just symptoms, you've got pain,  you got trouble, you've got distress. But that's not always a reliable indicator of your  condition. You can't always go by how you feel. Sometimes there's something seriously wrong  with you. That doesn't cause you to feel bad at all. But a test finds it even though you didn't  know you had it. That's the way it is in this matter of detecting human sin. Sometimes, we 

know there's something wrong because hey, we feel it. Our lives are getting messed up bad  things are happening to us as a result of choices we've made. And so we say man, I think I've  been blowing it, I've been getting myself into a mess, or we've got something going on the  inside our conscience is hurting. We know that we've messed up because something inside us hurts and our conscience is causing us pain. A way of knowing that you're going off the tracks is if you are feeling that conscious. Paul talks about that in Romans 2. He says sometimes our  consciences excuse us sometimes they accuse us and we feel it. So sometimes, you know  you're doing wrong because conscience or the fact that you have a headache and a terrible  hangover after you went out and got drunk, or you've contracted a disease through bad  behavior, or you find that your relationships or your marriage is falling apart because of  actions that you've chosen. Or you find yourself in prison or your whatever. There are a lot of  bad things that can happen that can tell us our choices aren't too good. And there are pains  on the inside that trouble us that tell us our choices aren't too good. But sometimes,  sometimes life goes pretty well. And sometimes you feel pretty good on the inside. Does that  mean all as well? Not necessarily. My father a number of years ago, as I told you before I went to the doctor, he had a routine examination. He was feeling fine, but it's just one of those  exams that you have. And during the course of that exam, they detected that he had a high  PSA count a very high PSA count and further examination found that he had prostate cancer.  Now, he felt perfectly fine. He had no symptoms nothing bothering him at all, what would be  the wise course for a man like that? He felt fine. It would be stupid to go and submit to a  painful surgery, when all is well, and when you feel fine. But he believed his doctor. He  believed what his doctor said about his condition, even though he didn't feel any different.  And sometimes that's the way it's going to be for, for people who have fallen into sin, you  might not feel that rotten or that guilty. But when God speaks from his law, and says, they  have all together become worthless, There is none righteous, not even one. You say, Well, I  have to be honest, I don't feel that rotten. But if the doctor says so? Well, I guess it is so and  I'm going to seek his cure. So as I'm speaking to you today, some of you may feel the pinch in the pain of sin, and feel disgusted and revolted by it. Others of you may not feel that bad  about it. I don't really care how you feel about it to tell the truth. If you believe what God says  about it, and accept his diagnosis, to whatever degree you happen to feel it, then you can  come to the Lord and find help and healing from him. Sometimes people will say, Well, I, I  can't be that bad. That stuff in Romans sounds like it got way out of hand and carried away  Paul was waxing pretty eloquent when he was talking about, you know, an open grave with  maggots crawling all over the body or poison on your lips and all that doesn't that sound a  little extreme? Well, I'll take another example. If you meet someone, and they've received the  diagnosis of cancer, they might say to you, I don't believe it. I've seen cancer victims. And  they look tough. Man, you know, cancer really, is bad. And it just makes people feel bad. It  makes them look bad. They waste away. I know what a cancer victim looks like. And I've  looked in the mirror, I don't look like that. The short answer is not yet. There is no such thing  as a mild case of cancer. If you have cancer and do nothing about it, it will kill you. It's that  simple. In the early stages, it may not look that serious, but it is deadly. And so it is with sin,  just a little tiny bit in the system is fatal. If it's not dealt with. The Bible says if you break the  law, at one point, you've broken the whole law. And after that, it's just a matter of sin running  its course and destroying you. And so we need to accept the doctor's diagnosis, whether we  feel it or not, whether it looks all that serious or not. Whether we deteriorated to the point  that some of the so called worst sinners have gotten to that's beside the point. If it's in your  system, it's fatal. And it's got to be dealt with. And how's it gonna be dealt with? Well, the tool of diagnosis is not the tool of cure the law diagnoses sin. And some religions say that law will  cure it. We give you a law, here's what you got to do, and make yourself right with God.  Christianity does not do that the Bible does not say the law will cure you. It says the law says  that nobody is righteous in God's sight. That's what the law says. If you go for a medical test,  those tests are very helpful. If you have the kind of tests that can identify whether you have  prostate cancer, or whether you take a test that identifies whether you have HIV in your  system, or, and shows you that you're going to get AIDS, those tests are helpful. But they're  helpful only for a certain thing. They're helpful for finding out whether you have the problem. 

They don't cure it. They don't cure it. And God's law will tell you whether you've got the  problem. It can't cure it. And that's not a defect in the law. It's not a fault in God. It's just the  fact that that's never what the law was designed to do in the first place. It was designed by  the great physician to tell you what's wrong to tell you, you need a cure. And once you're  convinced by the law that you need a cure, you need to turn somewhere else besides the law  in order to know what the cure is. And then come the two great words in the Book of Romans.  But now, you're listening to the chapter after chapter there's none righteous, no, not one.  Here's the mess. Here's the disaster. But now, but now a righteousness from God apart from  law has been made known to which the law and the prophets testify This righteousness from  God comes through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe there's no difference for all have  sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely through the redemption that  came by Christ Jesus, God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his  blood. So the Bible tells us, this is the calamity that's fallen upon the human race. Here's how  we know it, we know it through the law of God. But now God has done something different,  not just given us a law, but given us a savior, not just given us a diagnosis, but given us the  cure, the cure that works every time, the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, that wipes  away all guilt, all sin, the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, that's credited to you, and gives you a holy standing, the Holy Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, who's put within you, to transform you to give you a new immune system, so that even when sometimes you get  infected, you've got something in you that fights back, that is stronger than the disease  greater is He that is in us than he that's in the world. These are the things that God has done  in Jesus Christ. And you cannot appreciate this glorious good news, this tremendous but now,  unless you first admit that this is the seriousness of the problem. This is why the Son of God  had to come down from heaven, and become one of us, because nothing else would do. And  sometimes people do complain, that the Christian message that there is only one way of  salvation and one Savior is just so narrow. And my response is, suppose somebody said, I  have a cure for cancer, and it cures cancer of every kind. And yeah, sometimes when you first take it, it doesn't taste so hot, but it is guaranteed to cure every form of cancer. Do you think  people around the world would say, what a rotten deal, there's only one cure, and it doesn't  even taste that great? People around the world would be shrieking, in celebration, they would  say there's a cure, there's a cure, they wouldn't be complaining if there was not more than  one. They wouldn't be mighty happy if there was more than zero. And God gave one. And God gave His Only Son. And as I said, we were totaled. The fact is, there's a sense in which we  weren't worth what God paid. But God paid it anyway. And when God invested it, he invested  it in such a way that is a eventual purpose is to make us exactly like his son, so that we are  indeed going to turn out to be worth it after all, to be made perfect, perfectly restored. You  say that that car that's absolutely totaled, but somebody says that for whatever reason. It  may not make sense to you, but that is precious to me. And I am going to restore it no matter  what the cost, and I have the resources to do it. That's what God has said. He said, Yeah, you  people, you were totaled. But I am restoring you, and I don't care what the cost is. I am  paying it. I have paid it. Oh Lord, when we're discouraged when we realize the seriousness of  our sin, or when we find ourselves doing, or thinking what we shouldn't have, just lift us up  knowing that you knew the worst about us even before we realized it. We're, we're worse than we ever could have realized, and you knew it all along. And yet when we were your enemies,  You sent Your Son into the world that we might live through Him. So we thank you for this  mighty cure. This only cure for human sin. And we pray that we may live with peace and joy,  knowing that our sins are washed away by that precious blood, that we stand righteous in  Christ alone. And then Lord, help us to be eager to share that cure with many other people  not only to receive the gospel of Christ, but to spread it that others too desperately in need of  your salvation of your forgiveness of your transformation. They indeed come to know Christ  as savior and Lord, we pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

Last modified: Tuesday, December 28, 2021, 10:33 AM