Today I'm thinking about the Scriptures called in to support T=Total Depravity. I never met anybody who really believes in total depravity, or they'd never ride an airplane or elevator or train designed and built by non-elect (non-Christian) engineers and manufacturers, nor eat anything they bought in a market. So already we have a fudge, just to survive in today's technical world.
I'm readingthe Psalms, rather more slowly than I used to when I did it in English, so I have time to think about what the guy is saying (and sometimes time to forget the whole theme). We tend to think of the Psalms as everyman prayers -- except of course the imprecatory Psalms (IPs), because calling down God's Wrath on sinners seems so "Old Testament" and not "loving" like we suppose the God of the New Testament to be. Me, I find no such difference, God is God, and there are times when the IPs make a lot of sense as prayers of anguish. Not so often for me here in the USA, but not never (see "Persecution" last month).
The Psalms are a mixed bag. The Calvinists love Psalms 32 and 51, along with Romans 7 they vindicate their notion of Total Depravity, which I usually hear expressed as "Ineradicable depravity" as if even God's grace cannot remove it except by lying through His teeth. Nobody ever says it that way, but they live like it, and as my mother often told me, "Actions speak louder than words."
The problem I see is that for every Psalm where the Psalmist says "I
am wicked" (let's call them "baddies") there's another where the Psalmist
says "I am good" (let's call them "goodies"). In fact there are more of
the goodies than there are of the baddies, any way you want to count them.
I can imagine some righteous Calvinist insisting that the goodies are about
God's imputed grace, while the baddies are about our intrinsic nature,
but you cannot get there by a consistent text-driven hermeneutic. If you
want to claim that Scripture is the authority, then you must let Scripture
tell us what it means, not the other way around. If we interpret literally
the verses we like, and figuratively the verses we do not like, then we
have set ourselves up in judgment over Scripture. I can't do that and still
say with a straight face "Jesus is LORD." It can't
So I am forced to conclude that Jesus really does mean what he said
all through the Gospels, that you get to Heaven by obeying God's commands.
Yes, we failed and still fail (occasionally) and God's mercy is great,
but forgiveness only wipes away the karma of past failures; you still need
to do the good things Jesus said you need to do, specifically the
First Great Commandment (God is God and He gets to tell me what to do,
and I must do it), and the Second (which we all understand as the Golden
Rule). If you don't want to do those things now, what makes you think you
will enjoy it in Heaven? There you must do it, or it wouldn't be
Heaven for the rest of us.