As I wrote yesterday, my plan for this week is to share with you some rich quotes from Joel Beeke’s new book, Living for God’s Glory. This work explores the history and impact of the system of theology commonly called “Calvinism” (or “Reformed Theology”). Beeke’s work is an attempt to explore more than the Five Points of Calvinism and he does a great job really addressing the fullness of the system. However, my desire for this week is to focus our attention on the wonder of our salvation, so the quotes I’m citing will come primarily from the section of Beeke’s book that deals with the famous Five Points.
To get us started, today I’m posting some quotes that show how Calvinist’s have understood the Biblical description of our sinful state and the reality of our tragic condition. Some may argue that the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity goes too far, but the more I read of the Scriptures the more I believe their explanation of the results of Adam’s fall are very much in line with what the Word teaches.
As you read these quotes today, I hope they further encourage us in our battle against sin and remind us of how thankful we should be for God’s amazing and overwhelmingly gracious work of saving sinners like us!
“In essence, sin is all that is in opposition to God. Sin defies God; it violates His character, His law, and His covenant. It fails, as Martin Luther put it, to ‘let God be God.’ Sin aims to dethrone God and strives to place someone or something else upon His rightful throne.” – Joel Beeke
“When I look into my heart, and take a view of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than hell.” – Jonathan Edwards
“Every person in the world is by nature a slave to sin. The world, by nature, is held in sin’s grip. What a shock to our complacency- that everything of us by nature belongs to sin. Our silences belong to sin, our omissions belong to sin, our talents belong to sin, our actions belong to sin. Every facet of our personalities belong to sin; it own us and dominates us. We are its servants.”
– Joel Beeke
“Original Sin is in us like our beard. We are shaved today and look clean; tomorrow our beard has grown again, nor does it cease growing while we remain on earth. In like manner, original sin cannot be extirpated from us, it springs up in us as long as we live.” – Martin Luther
“When a man truly sees himself, he knows that nobody can say anything about him that is too bad.” – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“Calvinism teaches the sinfulness of sin and depravity. But it declares that sin and depravity are anomalies. In the final analysis, they are beyond all reason. They cannot be depicted as too heinous and dastardly. They represent the height of spiritual stupidity and insanity. The magnitude of our sin and depravity exhibits the magnitude of our need for God’s gospel way of salvation.” – Joel Beeke
“Calvinism challenges the residual pride in human hearts… To be confronted by the truth of our total inability is deeply humbling, but it is the truth of God’s own word, not a notion that John Calvin concocted in Geneva. Becoming persuaded of this and casting ourselves alone on God’s mercy in Christ knocks (in large measure) the pride out of us and teaches us to live as men and women who glory in the God of grace.” – Ian Hamilton