The FACTS of Salvation
T: Total Depravity

, posted by Martin Glynn

This week we are devoting each day to presenting one of the 5 points of Arminainism as represented by the acronym FACTS. These points are loosely derived from the Articles of Remonstrance, but also have in mind the full Arminian tradition since the Remonstrance. Each of these posts will be a section of Brian Abasciano’s full write-up for FACTS, which can be seen here: http://evangelicalarminians.org/the-facts-of-salvation-a-summary-of-arminian-theologythe-biblical-doctrines-of-grace/

The purpose of this write-up is two fold: to create an accessible, understandable, and comprehensive statement of what Arminianism truly is and to clearly establish the biblical foundation of the Arminian faith. Indeed, we see this second reason as absolutely essential and therefore this write-up is replete with biblical references so Arminians can have a good understanding of how their faith interacts with the Bible and so our opponents recognize that we take the Bible seriously and the foundation of our exegesis.

Each of the five points will be presented in their logical order, rather than in the order of the acronym. Therefore the order will be as follows: Total Depravity, Atonement for All, Freed to Believe by God’s Grace, Conditional Election, and Security in Christ. 

Total Depravity (the T in FACTS) [Cf. Article 3 of the 5 Articles of the Remonstrance]

Humanity was created in the image of God, good and upright, but fell from its original sinless state through willful disobedience, leaving humanity in the state of total depravity, sinful, separated from God, and under the sentence of divine condemnation (Rom 3:23; 6:23; Eph 2:1-3). Total depravity does not mean that human beings are as bad as they could be, but that sin impacts every part of a person’s being and that people now have a sinful nature with a natural inclination toward sin. Human beings are fundamentally corrupt at heart. As Scripture tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jer 17:9; cf. Gen 6:5; Matt 19:17; Luke 11:13). Indeed, human beings are spiritually dead in sins (Eph 2:1-3; Col 2:13) and are slaves to sin (Rom 6:17-20). The Apostle Paul even says, “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” (Rom 7:18). Elsewhere he testifies, “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one’ ” (Rom 3:10-12; cf. Rom 1:18-32; Eph 4:17-22). In their natural state, human beings are hostile toward God and cannot submit to his Law nor please him (Rom 8:7-8). Thus, human beings are not able to think, will, nor do anything good in and of themselves. We are unable do anything that merits favor from God and we cannot do anything to save ourselves from the judgment and condemnation of God that we deserve for our sin. We cannot even believe the gospel on our own (John 6:44). If anyone is to be saved, God must take the initiative.