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Sermon: Tarentum, by Robert Johnson

Is Man Totally Depraved or Created In The Image of God?

I. In The Image Of God Created He Him.
II. Man Is Capable of Choosing Faith Over Disobedience:
III. Forgiveness Provided Through Christ; A Choice Is Necessary!
Conclusion: The Ability To Choose Does Not Imply Inherent Good or Evil

A. As long as God has been revealing truth through His Word, there have been false ideas about God and man throughout the world.
1. Recently, I have had opportunity to discuss the Bible with some Calvinist missionaries: (Total depravity (original sin), predestination and irresistible grace).
2. This very common view of man says that since the fall of Adam, no person has the capability to choose to follow God of his own free will (without a miraculous regeneration of the sin nature).
B. I think it is important that we understand what the Bible says about man and his relationship to God since the fall of Adam.
1. What we will discover is that Man was created in the image of God and is still created in God’s image today: the freedom to choose good.
2. The ability to choose does not give us the ability to redeem ourselves from sin without the Grace of God.

I. In The Image Of God Created He Him.
A. God created man to be like Him in some way!

Gen 1:26-28: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
1. Is the image of God appearance? No, God is a Spirit.
2. Does it mean sinless? Yes, but not in the same sense as God who is perfect with no potential for sin.
3. Man is like God in that he too is created a spiritual being: Flesh and Spirit.
Prov 16:2: "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.”
1 Cor 2:10-11: "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."
Heb 12:9: "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?"

4. Man is like God in that he is endowed with the power to choose good or evil (Free will).
B. The Consequences of Adam’s Sin Affect All People:
1. Because of this sin, all mankind was removed from physical presence of God in the garden.
2. Because of this sin, death passed to all men for they could no longer have access to the tree of life.
Gen 3:22-23: "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." (Note Rom. 5).
C. Outside the garden and presence of God, it was even easier for mankind to rebel against the Word of God.
Rom 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
D. The question is this: Was man still created in the image of God after the fall or did he somehow change and lose his capacity to choose good or evil??
1. Seth was in the likeness and image of Adam:
Gen 5:3: "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:"
2. We are taught after the fall not to murder for man is created in the image of God:
Gen 9:6: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man."
3. Man is not to cover his head in prayer because he is created in the image of God.
1 Cor 11:7: "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man."
4. We ought to have respect for other men for we are created in the likeness of God.
James 3:9: "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God."

II. Man Is Capable of Choosing Faith Over Disobedience:
A. It should be noted that many people after Adam made the choice to put their faith in God and obey His Word (Note Heb. 11):
1. Unless they were miraculously regenerated, Calvin says this is not possible.
2. This freedom to choose comes when one is mature enough in their understanding to know right or wrong.
Isa 7:14-16: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings."
B. God constantly appeals throughout the scriptures to man’s mind persuading him to choose obedience.
1. Many choose not to fear and obey:
Prov 1:29: "For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:"
Isa 65:12: "Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not."
Prov 3:31: "Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways."

2. Others exercised their power to choose to obey:
Isa 56:4-5: "For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off."
3. God gives all the opportunity to obey:
Gen 4:6-7: "And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."
Deu 30:11-16: "For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. 15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it."
Josh 24:15-16: "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. 16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;"

C. The Bible assumes man’s ability to hear, reason and choose to put faith in God.
Rom 10:17: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Isa 1:18-19: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:"
Mat 28:19-20: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

D. Each must give an account of their choices in the judgment:
Gal 6:7-8: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
2 Cor 5:10: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
Ezek 18:20-23: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. 21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?"

III. Forgiveness Provided Through Christ; A Choice Is Necessary!
A. We must not confuse the power to choose with the ability to save ourselves from sin.
1. Even those who faithfully follow God have sin and the need for forgiveness.
2. Sin separates us from God spiritually creating in us the need for redemption:
Isa 59:1-2: "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."
B. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s Power to save those who choose to believe.
Rom 1:16-17: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."
1 Cor 1:21-24: "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. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."
John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Rom 5:8-9: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."

Heb 5:8-9: "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;"

Conclusion:The Ability To Choose Does Not Imply Inherent Good or Evil
A. Since the beginning all men have had the capability or capacity to choose good or evil.
1. Out of God’s presence and in a sinful world, no one perfectly keeps God’s law.
B. By choosing to put our faith in Christ, we receive the promise of being restored to our original place in the presence of God where we may again have access to the tree of life.
Rev 22:14-17: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

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