Matt Chandler: Total Depravity of…the Saints?

According to many Christians these days, Christians are wicked. Now, it is one thing to describe the Christian as being able to fall into sin, but according to Scripture, the wicked live there, they are enemies of God and they will not be in heaven.

Matt Chandler in the video below declares himself as wicked. Such words seem to contradict Biblical teaching.

“In this moment, I am a wicked sinner, redeemed by the blood of Christ.”

Other well known conference speakers and preachers also teach the same in what can easily be labeled the doctrine of the total depravity of the saints. It is a doctrine not found in Scripture. It certainly is not the position of historical Christianity:

Jonathan Edwards on the wicked:

The design of heaven is unsuitable to them. The design of God in making heaven was, that it might be a place of holy habitation, for the reward of the righteous, and not an habitation for wicked men. It would greatly reflect on the wisdom of God to dispose of wicked men there; for it would be the greatest confusion. But God is not the author of confusion, I Corinthians xiv. 33. It would be contrary to the holiness of God, to take wicked men so near to himself into his glorious presence, to dwell forever in that part of the creation which is, as it were, his own palace, and to sit at his table. We read in Psalm v. 4. “Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee.” Therefore it would doubtless be impossible that the end of the existence of wicked men should be in any wise answered by the placing of them in heaven.

It may be objected that in Romans 7:24, the Apostle Paul calls himself ‘wretched’ and indeed he does – Wretched man that I am!

However, ‘wretched’ is not ‘wicked’. The word for wretched in Romans 7:24 is talaipōros, which is one who is enduring trials, afflicted. It comes from two base words meaning enduring or under weight, bearing a test. Apostle Paul in that passage, is not a ‘wicked’ man, he is a mature believer in Christ persevering! The inescapable point is that the wicked, if they perish in their sins, will not dwell in heaven.

William Hendriksen says it well in his NTC commentary on Romans 7:24: The writer genuinely deplores the fact that due to the law of sin still operating in him, he is unable to serve God as completely and whole-heartedly as he desires. The poignant grief here expressed is definitely that of a believer. No unbeliever would ever be able to be so filled with sorrow because of his sins! The author of the outcry is Paul, speaking for every child of God. The cry he utters is one of distress, but not of despair, as verse Rom_7:25 proves. Paul suffers agony, to be sure, the wretchedness brought about by strenuous exertion; that is, by trying hard, but never satisfactorily succeeding, to live in complete harmony with God’s will but failing again and again. He is looking forward eagerly to the time when this struggle will have ended.

On the other hand, ‘wicked’ in the New Testament is an entirely different matter altogether. Take John 3:20 for example:

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

Here, the word is phaulos, “foul”, evil, ethically bad. In Scripture, the saint is never described as wicked, for the wicked are dead in their sins and they hate the light.

It’s an important distinction, and with many young Christians these days, often boasting in their ‘vileness’ and ‘wickedness’, a distinction that needs clarifying.

In Scripture, the wicked are not the children of God. They are not the saints. In fact, they are compared to:

Abominable branches
Isa_14:19;

Ashes under the feet
Mal_4:3;

Bad fishes
Mat_13:48;

Beasts
Psa_49:12; 2Pe_2:12;

Blind, The
Zep_1:17; Mat_15:14;

Brass and iron
Jer_6:28; Eze_22:18;

Briars and thorns
Isa_55:13; Eze_2:6;

Bulls of Bashan
Psa_22:12;

Carcasses trodden under feet
Isa_14:19;

Chaff
Job_21:18; Psa_1:4; Mat_3:12;

Clouds without water
Jud_1:12;

Corn blasted
2Ki_19:26;

Corrupt trees
Luk_6:43;

Deaf adders
Psa_58:4;

Dogs
Pro_26:11; Mat_7:6; 2Pe_2:22;

Dross
Psa_119:119; Eze_22:18; Eze_22:19;

Early dew that passes away
Hos_13:3;

Evil figs
Jer_24:8;

Fading oaks
Isa_1:30;

Fiery oven
Psa_21:9; Hos_7:4;

Fire of thorns
Psa_118:12;

Fools building upon sand
Mat_7:26;

Fuel of fire
Isa_9:19;

Garden without water
Isa_1:30;

Goats
Mat_25:32;

Grass
Psa_37:2; Psa_92:7;

Grass on the housetop
2Ki_19:26;

Green bay-trees
Psa_37:35;

Green herbs
Psa_37:2;

Heath in the desert
Jer_17:6;

Horses rushing into the battle
Jer_8:6;

Idols
Psa_115:8;

Lions greedy of prey
Psa_17:12;

Melting wax
Psa_68:2;

Morning-clouds
Hos_13:3;

Moth-eaten garments
Isa_50:9; Isa_51:8;

Passing whirlwinds
Pro_10:25;

Potsherds
Pro_26:23;

Raging waves of the sea
Jud_1:13;

Reprobate silver
Jer_6:30;

Scorpions
Eze_2:6;

Serpents
Psa_58:4; Mat_23:33;

Smoke
Hos_13:3;

Stony ground
Mat_13:5;

Stubble
Job_21:18; Mal_4:1;

Swine
Mat_7:6; 2Pe_2:22;

Tares
Mat_13:38;

Troubled sea
Isa_57:20;

Visions of the night
Job_20:8;

Wandering stars
Jud_1:13;

Wayward children
Mat_11:16;

Wells without water
2Pe_2:17;

Wheels
Psa_83:13;

Whited sepulchres
Mat_23:27;

Wild ass’s colt
Job_11:12

[Torey]

Does that describe you, reader? Bottom line is clear in Scripture; either we are a new creation in Christ, or we are not. If we are, our lives will evidence good fruit, not wickedness as a way of life. Words mean things. If ‘wicked’ does describe you, repent and believe in the Gospel and be saved.