The Reformed doctrine of Total Depravity is a dark glory. It’s a midnight blackness on the canvas, which gives a stunning relief to the brilliant white of redeeming grace. The doctrine is that every corner of fallen human existence is tainted by sin. It isn’t that we have a scale where the good is piled on one side, while the bad is on the other. The truth about you and me is that without a work of grace, even your good is bad, your best is foul, your light is unlit. If God measured our good and bad on the scales, there’d be no good to put on the scales. For even our righteousness is filthy rags.
Wherever sin goes, it uglifies. You sin by defiantly breaking God’s law, and you sin by thinking you can impress God by keeping His law. You sin by doing what He told you not to, and you sin by not doing what He told to do. Sin makes your beauty ugly, your glory into shame, your morals into manure.
Now take all that ugliness of sin, and show it to God. Take your best works, and see if you can’t find in them some foul pride. Look at your good deeds and see if there isn’t the rust of self-glorification growing in every crevice. Show all that ugliness to God. Will He be impressed? Will He beam over how much better you are than all those other humans? There’s nothing in you deserving His eye of favor.
But here on this table, we taste light after darkness, beauty after ugliness, glory after shame. This table shouts that all the midnight-dark wickedness of your sin––all your envy, lust, arrogance, hatred, laziness, & rage––was laid on Christ so that all His righteousness can be laid on you.
So come in faith and welcome to Jesus…