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Deprived or depraved

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The words deprived and depraved sound much the same but their meaning is far different.

Both words are used theologically to describe man’s spiritual condition.

Depending on which one you believe is the accurate de scri ption of man’s spiritual condition determines what will be the appropriate remedy.

Those who hold to the view that men are deprived rather than depraved believe when Adam sinned, he and all his posterity forfeited certain privileges and benefits.

In other words, nothing really serious happened to alter man’s spiritual nature.

If men have been deprived of certain spiritual privileges and benefits, then the obvious remedy is they need help in regaining them.

This view would go along with the idea that man is basically good and that all human beings possess at least a "spark of divinity."

That spark needs to be encouraged and helped.

There are all sorts of organizations including not a few churches which are dedicated to the goal of seeing to it that men are no longer deprived intellectually, materially or spiritually. The sad reality is this; if men are in fact depraved rather than deprived, men can be helped in regaining certain forfeited privileges and benefits and yet continue to remain in a depraved condition.

Those who hold the view that man is depraved believe when Adam sinned he and all his posterity not only forfeited certain spiritual privileges and benefits, but that man lost all ability to remedy his condition.

The words of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith states it in these words: "Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God and we in them whereby death came upon all; all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.

"From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good and wholly inclined to all evil; do proceed all actual transgressions."

This means there is no "spark of divinity" in man and he needs more than mere help and encouragement to do better.

Depravity means more than a few spiritual privileges and benefits were forfeited.

It means that spiritual life was forfeited.

The only remedy is that spiritual life be restored.

That requires a sovereign act of God.

The two words which we have been considering reflect two diverse views of man’s spiritual condition and thus two different views concerning the remedy.

Does it really make any difference which view one holds? It makes a great deal of difference.

The difference has to do with the eternal welfare of the soul.

One view holds that men can make it to heaven with a little help.

The other view holds that men must be saved by the sovereign grace of God.

Both views cannot be true.


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