By James Stanley
To all my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus our Lord, greetings, I pray that this article finds you well. I also want to thank you for taking the time to read this humble article on Radical Corruption or more commonly referred to as Total Depravity. Why write about this subject? To tell the truth, I can’t really write about this in its entirety in this article’s space. There are hundreds of books on the subject by men who have studied more and write far better than I do. However, I wish to write to the readers of Appalachia personally. Born and raised in Avery County’s mountains, I have a unique perspective on this and I wish to commend this doctrine to you personally. See if this anecdote rings a bell.
You’re a young man or woman who’s been raised in the Church all your life, you hear your preacher and your parents tell you over and over again that you must be saved! You listen to the sermons and then after a compelling alter call you go up and you say your prayer asking the Lord to come into your heart. Or you go up and are baptized and congratulations you’re saved. Then you carry a Bible with you that you’ve never (or barely) read so out of conviction you open it up and start reading Genesis. You read the familiar stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, and Noah. Then you put the Bible down because the language is hard to understand, you start doing exactly what you were doing before, you even live exactly like you did before, rebelling against your parents, lying, etc. Then after some time, you go with your youth group to a revival where your soul is set on fire and you start trying to read the Bible again and do the right things. You start climbing that mountain all over again. Then within a week, you slip back into your comfort zone and once again you realize there hasn’t been any change in you at all. Then you look around and realize that there hasn’t been a change in anyone because you’re living exactly the way they are and they call themselves Christians as well. Why is this? Is Christianity just a word only faith? Why did I do all of that and absolutely nothing changed?
Sound familiar? That was me. That is so many of us. We take on climbing God’s Holy Mountain only to realize it’s too steep. Why? Because, my friends, (and I pray God will open your hearts to hear what I am about to say) on your best day you will never even set foot on the base of God’s Mountain. Why? Because you put your faith in yourself, you put your faith not in God, but in that “prayer”, you prayed at the altar. You put your faith into your works. My friends, open the scriptures and let the Spirit open your eyes and see what God has to say:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Romans 3:10-20 KJV
So long as you depend on yourselves for salvation you will never succeed. “But I want to be saved,” says one. You can be saved but you cannot under any circumstances save yourself! “Well then why bother,” says another. Because there is a way to salvation through the Lord Jesus. “I really want to be saved but I’m tired,” says a third. Jesus’ load is light. Have you not read that? “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30KJV
With Christ, you don’t have to worry about getting there, because Jesus brings you there. There is no mountain to climb with Jesus because He has already brought you to the top! My friends, have you been striving? Have you been running to get to the top of the mountain? Have you thought that the only way to God was to work for His love? Come with me and hear of His Son Jesus. Not the one you only heard about on Easter and Christmas who died to give you the possibility of salvation so that you can struggle and earn your way to salvation, but the true Son of God who imputed His righteousness to you and took your sin to Himself so that there is no struggle, but only glorious salvation.
I would love to see you at Landis Orthodox Presbyterian Church so that we may grow in our faith and come to more and more love the Lord Jesus Christ who has delivered us from our radical corruption and saved us even as we stand at the bottom of the mountain. If you would like to know more about Landis OPC, you can see who we are in our welcome video found at vimeo.com/491464277. You can also contact Elder Mike Cloy at firstname.lastname@example.org
James “Blake” Stanley is a member of Landis Orthodox Presbyterian Church located at 4975 US-221, Marion, NC 28752.
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