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Lesson 10 All Men Naturally Depraved


Devotional Reading:   Isaiah 6:1Ė8.


Memory Verse:           Romans 7:9.


For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.




Genesis 6:5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.


Genesis 8:21. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for manís sake; for the imagination of manís heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.


Jeremiah 17:9. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?


Psalm 51:5. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.


Psalm 58:3. The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.


Romans 7:9. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.


Ephesians 2:3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.


Mark 7:21Ė23. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.




Genesis 6:5. The exceeding wickedness of the antediluvians is attributed to an evil heart.

Genesis 8:21. The evil heart is not the result of a sinful career, it exists from youth. Nor did the flood remove this defect from the race.

Jeremiah 17:9. Extreme wickedness, the extent of which is known only to God, is located in the heart.

Psalm 51:5. David admits that his depravity reaches to birth and implies that it is inherited.

Psalm 58:3. The results of inborn sin are very early seen in children.

Romans 7:9. Paul attributes his fall to the sinfulness of his nature. Sin revived and he died.

Ephesians 2:3. Paul attributes the sinful life to depravity of the heart. This depravity is found in manís nature.

Mark 7:21Ė23. Jesus points to the heart as the source of evil deeds, thus implying its sinfulness.






1. Taught in the Scriptures.


A) The lesson text clearly establishes the fact of depravity. The teachings of the Scriptures throughout are uniform on the subject. B) Depravity is implied by locating the cause of sin in the heart. Jesus so located it. In the case of both Ananias and Simon, Peter locates the cause of sin in the heart. C) The doctrine of regeneration takes for granted the impurity of the heart. If the heart is in no sense depraved there is no need of regeneration.


2. Facts of experience.


A) The prevalence of sin can be accounted for only on the ground of natural depravity. It is conceivable that some might sin though the nature were not depraved, but where sin is the invariable rule the cause must lie in human nature. B) The unyielding persistence of sin denotes depravity. Men persist in sin against their reason and good judgment, against the entreaties and threats of God, in defiance of civil laws, and in contempt of the laws of nature. Such an unreasonable attitude indicates a depraved nature. C) The early tendencies of youth show a natural inclination to sin. This cannot be the result of a developed character but must find its cause in a depraved nature.




1. The Pelagian theory.


The Pelagian theory is really not a theory of depravity, for it denies depravity of the human nature except as may be contained in sinful habits acquired through persistent sinning.


2. The Augustinian theory.


This theory is associated with the doctrine of predestination.

A) Through his sin, Adam became depraved, and in him the whole race. This is true if we allow that depravity is not received in Adam but inherited from him. We did not possess individual existence in Adam. B) The guilt of Adamís sin is shared by all his posterity. This makes every man born guilty as well as depraved. But there can be no guilt without individual existence, hence we could not be guilty in Adam. To make a man guilty for an act performed by another is revolting to our sense of justice. Such a position is not supported by Scripture. Too, if we are guilty of Adamís sin, being his descendants, we are likewise guilty of an enormous amount of sin, and many men are guilty of the same sins. C) This depravity is total. Man cannot even desire to do good. If he is saved it is brought about through the grace of God which he is powerless to resist. Thus a manís salvation is dependent entirely on the will of God and not on his own volition. This is predestination.


3. The Arminian theory.


This is the one we hold.




1. A perversion of the moral nature.


A) The conscience is defiled. The improper workings of conscience show that it has been deranged. Continued sin hardens the conscience. Such derangement is inherited. B) The affections are perverted. Man should love God supremely and his neighbor as himself. The perversion of his affections is shown in his selfishness; he loves self most. This perversion effects natural feelings and desires, pure in themselves degenerating them into vanity, jealousy, envy, retaliation, covetousness, licentiousness, etc. C) The will enslaved, and has a natural tendency to do wrong. God did not create man self-sufficient. When depraved from the fellowship of God, man is left more fully to the temptations of Satan.




1. Deprave means to make bad, or corrupt.


A) Some sin more than others. B) Greater depravity may be acquired. One comparatively good in early life may become greatly depraved through persistent sinning. Such degradation often comes rapidly. C) We know that some people are inclined to more corruption than others. Doubtless this is due partly to the sins of parents or ancestors.


2. Universality of sin.


Sin prevails everywhere. Scripture declares that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin; that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. If we say we have not sinned we make God a liar.


3. Regeneration made necessary.


If an act of sin neither affected nor was caused by manís nature, the sin might be forgiven; but not so.