The Depraved State of the Heart, and Man’s Natural Inability to Choose God for Salvation

Taken and adapted from, “Representation of the Heart of Man
in its Depraved State by Nature.”

Written by, Paul D. Meyers.
Edited for thought and sense.

By the fall of man all the powers of nature were depraved, polluted, and corrupted.

First. The understanding was darkened. Eph. 4:18.
Second. The conscience was defiled. Heb. 10: 22.
Third. The will obstinate and rebellious. Is. 28:14; Rom. 8:7.
Fourth. The affections carnal and sensual. Eph. 2:3.
Fifth. All the thoughts uninterruptedly evil. Gen. 6:5.
Sixth. And the whole mind, or heart, a nest of abominations. Jer, 27:9; Matt. 15:19.

Original or birth sin is the corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually. Deformed as the picture is that is here drawn, it does not exceed in the darkness of its shades the original portrait, as delineated by the inspired writers in general. Moses, who informs that God created man in his own image, and after his likeness, soon casts a shade on his original dignity by giving us a sad account of his fall.

He represents him, after his defection from God, as a criminal under sentence of death,— a wretch filled with guilt and shame, and dreading the presence of his Creator,— and turned out of Paradise into a wilderness which bears the marks of desolation for his sake; and in consequence of this apostasy, he died, and all his posterity died in him.

The natural consequence of this is, that everyone descended from him, comes into the world spiritually dead, dead to God, wholly dead in sin: entirely void of the life of God, void of the image of God, of all that righteousness and holiness, wherein Adam was accredited. Instead of this,every man born into the world, now bears the image of the devil, in pride and self-will; the image of the beast, in sensual appetites and desires. While a man is in a mere natural state, before he is born of God, he has, in a spiritual sense, eyes and sees not: a thick veil lies upon them. He has ears, but hears not; he is utterly deaf to what he is most of all concerned to hear. His other spiritual senses are all locked up; he is in the same condition as if he had them not. Hence he has no knowledge of God, no intercourse with him; he is not at all acquainted with him. He has no true knowledge of the things of God, either spiritual or eternal. He says unto God, depart from us we desire not the knowledge of thy ways; we do not want to know much of God, nor what is our duty to him.

The state of nature is a state of utter darkness; a state wherein “darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people.” The poor unawakened sinner, how much knowledge soever he may have as to other things, has no knowledge of himself; in this respect” he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” He knows not that he is a fallen spirit, whose only business in the present world, is to recover from ms fall, to regain that image of God wherein he was created.

He sees no necessity for the one thing needful even that inward universal change, that “birth from above,” which is the beginning of that total renovation; that sanctification of spirit, soul, and body “without which no man shall see the Lord.” Full of all disease as he is, he fancies himself in perfect health: fast bound in misery and iron, he dreams that he is happy, and at liberty. He says “Peace! Peace!” while the devil, “as a strong man armed,” is in all possession of his soul. He sleeps on still, and takes his rest, though hell is moved from beneath to meet him; though the pit, from whence there is no return, hath opened its mouth to swallow him up; a fire is kindled around him, yet he knoweth it not; yea, it bums him, yet he lays it not to heart.

Fearful and impious work do the passions make when they are engaged on the side of the flesh, the world, and the devil. What bold contempt of God and all that is holy! What unruly violence of love to vanity and sensual pleasure! What mad delight in sin! What impetuous desires of forbidden objects! What malice boils in the heart against our neighbors, upon every supposed injury! What wicked envy frets and rages in the soul at the welfare of others! What wrath and indignation, and revenge, are continually ready to be in arms! and how do those hellish passions employ the tongue in slander and lies, and sometimes stain the hands in mischief and blood? These are some of the fruits of the carnal mind which is at enmity against God, and spring from the heart of man in his fallen state.

By the carnal mind we understand a mind that is “earthly, sensual, and devilish.” It is earthly, as all its tendency and propensities are to the earth, and to earthly attachments and pursuits. There is no Natural disposition in such a mind to “set its affections on things above.” It is sensual, as it leads to the gratification and indulgence of all the senses and bodily appetites; and neither desires nor relishes spiritual things. It is devilish, because it includes in itself a principle of pride and of hostility to God and his government.

My friend, is this the character and state of your soul? Are thou in the “gall of bitterness, and bonds of iniquity?”

Arise, call on the name of the Lord, that the grace of repentance may be given unto thee, and thou find mercy in the forgiveness of all thy sins, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

What a glorious victory is it to have the vicious affections entirely subdued, and the powers of nature, which had been usurped by the devil, seized and restrained, and consecrated to the God of heaven, and become instruments of holiness and peace!