Our House of Cards

I did not know the late Alan Medinger, but he is a legend. His insights from 2002 are very relevant today. The whole culture we live in has collapsed around us since 2002. In fact the past 60 years since the sexual revolution have been devastating for a Biblical world view and for godly families.

I recently updated an article by Alan. Reading this article again today it was evident to me how far downhill we’ve gone as a nation in the past two decades. The moral values of an entire nation have degraded enormously. Alan writes about SSA (same-sex attraction) but I see the same deep longing for real life in the “straight” world. Alan notes that most gay men he met back then, long to be married in a normal marriage. Today few gay men have that desire, but they do want love and affirmation. In my lifetime I have seen very few functional, godly, heterosexual marriages. It's the kids who pay the price when mom and dad are not living in harmony with Jesus Christ. Alan notes that everyone is lacking in love because we are estranged from God. The notion of man’s advancement, evolution, improvement over time is pure fiction. “Great Civilizations” of the past have crashed and disappeared like a proverbial House of Cards.

Mankind’s Downward Spiral | Fastnesses| Hiding In The Rock | Hide Yourself
Is God Angry? | The Hidden of the Lord | The Real Jesus | A Grain of Wheat

In The Cross | Relationships | Sexuality and Wholeness Papers | Families

Jesus is our Trailblazer


What or Who is a Reprobate? 

Judge not, that you be not judged.

“For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged;
and with the measure you use,
it will be measured back to you.  

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye,
but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

 “Or how can you say to your brother,
‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’;
and look, a plank is in your own eye?  

First remove the plank from your own eye,
and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.“

(Matthew 7:1-5)

A preacher communicating truth about the living God ought to be teaching what righteousness really is (and he needs to be a faithful role model in this). If he is always talking about adokimos and bashing one select group of sinners but saying nothing about other sins, or the rest of the sin package, he is a hypocrite. Kids with a Discernment Radar pick this up right away. They will say that preacher has “Bad Vibes” and that "man of God" behind the podium will have low credulity with them.  

Are we not all totally depraved to start with? How can we expect others to follow us on a path that we have not blazed already? These old school, old paradigm preachers are now not very credible.  Everyone we interact with deserves to meet and experience Christ in us. Yesterday’s platitudes don’t work no more! A huge generation disconnect exists today! Any objective observer sees right away that neither side is in tune with the real God! It's not about right and wrong, life styles, or identity per se. It's all about, "Do you know Jesus personally?" "If not, why not?" Do you know about Body Life?

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves...” (Matthew 23:13-15)

The Greek word usually translated “reprobate” is adokimos which really means: not standing the test, not approved, properly used of metals and coins, that which does not prove itself such as it ought, unfit for, unproved, spurious, reprobate. Reformed theologians often say that a “reprobate“ person, an outcast, the scum of the earth--is the last step in downward decline for many. They miss, apparently, the meaning of the Greek adokimos which means not passing the test. Fake, phony, counterfeit. A fake coin. Heat it up and see if it stands the heat. The test, the final exam will be a thorough review by Jesus.

“Without dikaios” applies to all of us. We all must pass the Final Exam before Judge Jesus not Judge Judy! I believe we are all totally depraved from the start, so that “moral” “god-fearing” church goers are also totally depraved (self righteous). Perhaps 10-20% of church goers these days know Jesus and obey Him. Romans Chapter 1 shows how God releases restraints on a nation to make publicly open to all the motives of the heart that were there all along. “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” God hates hypocrisy. See The Last One Percent. “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” applies to everyone. 

When I hear a preacher talking down to LGBT people as an entire counter-culture group, CSL comes to mind:

“The pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. This is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But of course, it is better to be neither." --C.S. Lewis

Kids pick up bad vibes from us and if we are not yielded to Jesus we radiate that. The kids don’t see they need Jesus either which is actually a bigger issue than hypocritical elders. BTW, the root issue is not about "sound doctrine" it's about knowing Jesus and obeying Him daily. Of course knowing the real God is in harmony with correct interpretation. Bryce Self wrote: It’s helpful to look at the positive side — to consider those who ARE “approved.”

For the record note that the Apostle Paul addressed his remarks in his letter to the Romans to everyone young and old, male and female, to that entire generation. He knew well how sinful all men are. His entire letter to the Romans confirms this! We are about 50 generations later in history now, but we haven't learned much about God, for sure.

God's Wrath is Upon All Forms of Unrighteousness

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:16-32)


Total Depravity

By James M. Boice

Romans 3:9-11
The condition of every human being apart from the grace of God in Jesus Christ is described in Romans 3 beginning in verse 9. It is not a good picture. Verses 10 and 11 substantially summarize it all:  
There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God.
This is a serious, indeed a devastating, picture of the race, because it portrays human beings as unable to do even one single thing either to please, understand or find God. It is an expression of what theologians rightly call man's "total depravity." The doctrine of total depravity is hard for the human race to accept, for one of the results of our being sinners is that we tend to treat sin lightly. We are willing to admit that we are not perfect. Indeed, it would take an extraordinary supply of arrogance for any mere human being to pretend that he is perfect. We do not do that. But this is a far different thing from admitting that we are utterly depraved in our ability to please God and that we are devoid of any true spiritual understanding. We are willing to admit that we wander off the path of moral virtue at times, but we won't admit that we are not even on the right path. Instead, we pretend that we are seeking Him. We therefore desperately need to come to terms with this bad tendency. Without a true and humbling knowledge of our sin, we will never come to know the meaning of God's grace. Without an awareness of our pride we will never appreciate God's greatness. Nor will we come to God for the healing that we need so crucially. The situation is a bit like our being sick and needing a doctor. As long as we think we are well (or at least almost well), we will not seek medical care. But if we know we are sick, then we will turn to the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is able to heal us.

How bad is it? Having used the analogy of being sick, let me hasten to add that our situation is even worse than being sick. When a person is merely sick, the situation is not hopeless. He may get better and survive. But these verses say that apart from the grace of God a person is not only spiritually sick, but dead. The uniqueness of the Bible's teaching can be seen by noting that in the long history of the human race, the world has typically viewed that man is either well or sick. There are minor variations, but there are only two principal views. That man is well is the view of optimists and, for that matter, that of most persons today. If they admit that anything at all is wrong with man, it is only because he is not as spiritually healthy as he could perhaps be. All he needs is a little moral guidance, spiritual vitamins, and perhaps an occasional psychological checkup. The second view that man is sick is the view of pessimists. They are convinced that to be healed, man must significantly improve themselves, work hard, tackle their ills, upgrade their morals, revise their wicked thinking and so on. Our text in Romans 3 declares, however, that man is decidedly not well, nor is he just sick; he is dead. We are as God declared we would be when He warned Adam and Eve, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17). Our first parents did eat of it, and they did die. So it is true of us. As Ephesians 2:1 puts it, we are "dead in (our) trespasses and sins." We are no more able to respond to God by ourselves than any corpse could when it is called to do anything.

The moral nature: none righteous That "there is none righteous, no, not one" does not mean merely that man is somehow less righteous than he needs to be to please God. Rather, it declares without reservation that from God's point of view, human beings have no righteousness at all. I cannot overemphasize the phrase "from God's point of view" because I want to make clear that it is from this viewpoint that we need to assess the situation. If we view the human condition from man's perspective, we will always conclude that at least some people are quite good simply because they are better than what we think we observe in others. Our problem is that we think of the good we can do. We consider our righteousness as being the same as God's righteousness, when it is actually quite different. We assume that by accumulating human goodness we can please God. That is the way the Israelites of old had thought. In Romans 10 Paul attributes their failure to find God for this very same reason. We read in verse 3, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." To underscore our void of righteousness, God goes on in Romans 3:12, "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

The sinful mind: none understands
The second pronouncement our text makes about human beings in their sinful condition is, "There is none that understandeth." No one understands the things of and about God. Again, we need to understand this as a lack of spiritual perception and not merely a lack of human knowledge. For if we think on the human level, comparing human understanding with human understanding, we will observe quite rightly that some people obviously understand a great deal. The best commentary upon this phrase is found in the first two chapters of I Corinthians. The Corinthians were mostly Greeks. So they prized the wisdom of the Greek philosophers, as all Greeks did. But Paul writes that when he was with them he did not attempt to impress them with such wisdom, but rather that he determined to know nothing among them "save (or except) Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (2:2). Why? He explains his decision in two ways: First, human wisdom has shown itself to be bankrupt so far as coming to understand God is concerned. He writes in I Corinthians 1:18-21:  
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
In making this indictment upon man's failure to find God by human wisdom, Paul was echoing what the best of the Greeks had concluded. The philosophers knew that they had been unable to discover God by philosophy.

Spiritually discerned. Second, spiritual things can only be known by God's Spirit. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (2:14). This does not mean that a person cannot have a rational understanding of Christianity or what the Bible teaches apart from the illumination of his mind by the Holy Spirit. In one sense, a scholar can understand and even explain theology just as well as any other area of human knowledge. An unbelieving philosopher can lecture accurately on the Christian idea of God. But if they had been asked their opinion of what they were so accurately presenting, they would have said that it was all utter nonsense. It is in that sense that they, not being spiritual, were unable to understand Christianity. If we return to Romans Chapter 1, we are reminded of the cause of this ignorance. It is not that the doctrine of God, or any other doctrine of the Christian faith, is difficult to comprehend. It is rather that we do not want to move in the direction these doctrines are leading us. So we suppress the truth about God, refusing to glorify or give thanks to Him, and as a result our thinking becomes "vain" and our foolish hearts are "darkened" (v. 21).

The Captive Will: None Seeks God Having spoken of our moral and intellectual failures, verse 11 moves to the area of the corrupt human will and concludes rightly: "There is none that seeketh after God" Here again, we must not think in merely human terms. If we do, we will conclude that "seeking after God" has actually been the history of our race. A study of primitive peoples by Robert Brow suggests that the human race has been consistently running away from ideas of a high and holy God. He argues that primitive peoples generally have a truer picture of God than we do, though they did not worship Him. They believe in a great and true God who stands behind their pantheon of animistic deities or lesser gods, but they do not worship this God because they do not fear Him as much as they do the immediate and hostile powers. Frederick Godet saw this and he concluded, "At the root of all pagan religions and mythologies, there lies an original Monotheism, which is the historical starting-point in religion for all mankind."--do not worship this God because they do not fear Him as much as they do the immediate and hostile powers. Frederick Godet saw this and he concluded, "At the root of all pagan religions and mythologies, there lies an original Monotheism, which is the historical starting-point in religion for all mankind."

Spurious argument.
 Let me focus on the way this principle works in our lives and society. Let's take a man who believes himself to be the perfect refutation of Romans 3:11. "But I do seek God," this man argues, "I have been seeking Him all my life. I was born into a Baptist home; but I could not find God in my home or church. When I grew old enough to select a church on my own, I joined the Presbyterian Church. I couldn't find God there. So I joined an Episcopal church. Over the years I have attended almost every kind of church there is. Still, I haven't found him." The answer to this man's argument is that he has not been seeking God at all. He has been running after some kind of religion with which he could feel at home. When he could not find that in one church, he went to another. If anything, he has been running away from God and has merely been using his religion to disguise his intentions.

Sought and taught by God Coming back to where I was at the beginning, I say that according to the Bible no one unaided by the Spirit of God: (1) has any righteousness by which to lay a claim upon God; (2) has any true understanding of God; or (3) truthfully seeks God. But what we do not have, what we cannot do and what we have not done God has done for those who are being saved. What has God done? First, God sought us. Like "The Hound of Heaven," God pursued us relentlessly. Some of us ran from God for a long time and can recall the days of our waywardness well. If God had not pursued us, we would have been lost eternally. We were so dead that we would never have come to God by ourselves.

No one ever becomes saved who has not been pursued and found by God. Second, God gave us true understanding. He did it by making us alive in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, as a result of which our eyes have been opened to see things spiritually, and we have found ourselves looking not only at God but at all life in an entirely new way. This does not mean that we understand all things perfectly. But what we understand concerning God and His ways now we do truly understand in the sense that we believe these things and respond accordingly. Last of all, God gave us a righteousness that we did not have in ourselves and, in fact, could never have His righteousness. It is the ground of our salvation. Having been sought and taught by God, and having been given the righteousness of our Lord Jesus, we have moved from our original state of total depravity to our eternal state of absolute blessedness in Christ. Dr. James Montgomery Boice was the speaker of the Bible Study Hour broadcast, 1716 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, and pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.

More Homework

Arrested Emotional Development | Stillborn | No Dads These Days | God our Father | The First Begotten
The Central Glory | A Father's Joy (RCS) | The Wasted Years | Gordon Dalbey: Abbafather.com  | Gender Confusion
Jesus, Plain and Simple
| Jesus is a Single Man | Jesus Plain and Simple | Jesus is a Single Man

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June 7, 2021. October 1. 2022