Randy Langham
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The prince and his lovely princess arrived a few minutes early for the royal ball in their glistening limousine. Crowds thronged the streets. Everyone pushed to get a glimpse of the magnificent lady. News reporters, trying to catch the excitement, extended their microphones and cameras on poles ready to catch the best sounds and sights. The entire world (so they thought) would be watching this gala affair. Some waited for hours at the streets just to catch a sight to remember.

Excitement filled the air as the limousine stopped at the curb. "There she is!" yelled the crowds. The snow-white dress in contrast to the dark skin on her face sparkled with the camera flashes. Gasps of air were held for what seemed like hours, until, wait a minute. What's that spot on her dress? Zoom in closer. Oh dear. Looks like a blueberry stain from her exquisite dinner. Guess that ruins the evening.

It turns out that the chauffeur ate a hamburger in the car while the royal couple dined, but no one noticed the large ketchup stain on his black tux. Why the difference? The driver made a bigger mess than the princess, but his calamity seemed camouflaged. How can this be? Very elementary. The more a spot is in contrast to its surrounding, the more noticeable it becomes.

Consider yourself. How spotted and stained are you? Blend in with other people and perhaps only the large mistakes in your life become noticeable. And if you hang around the right crowds, you can completely camouflage yourself like a chameleon. Everybody's doing it!

Take a photograph of yourself while standing in the midst of your colleagues and count the spots on your life. Now take that same photograph and cut yourself out of the picture. Find another photograph of equal size containing a picture of criminals engaged in a prison riot and paste your presence into the middle. How do you look now? Clean shaven, clothes with coordinated colors and no orange suits or vertical stripes, a face with no anger, not killing others next to you. Hey, you're a pretty good guy!

If your cutout picture hasn't glued permanently to the prison riot, peel it off and place it on a masterpiece painting containing an immaculate, flawless representation of God's perfect holiness. Do you dare attach your sticky scrap of paper to the masterpiece? The difference is so obvious, you don't have to put the two together. Placing yourself next to God Almighty would be equal to throwing a dirty diaper in God's face. Compared to others, you're not too bad. Compared to a holy God, you're too bad. For this reason, unwise people compare themselves to others: For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding (2 Cor 10:12).

What is your purpose in life? Did God create you so that you would be better than others? No. The Lord made you to be just like Jesus. That is your purpose in life - to be absolutely, completely, utterly, wholly perfect. How clean is your character profile when next to Christ's?

If you were to live the rest of your years in absolute perfection, would there be any mistakes in your past to condemn you? If you are a normal, breathing human being, you will have to admit that you have missed the mark. That is, you have fallen short of the glory of God, and you are totally incapable of attaining the perfect righteousness of Christ in your own power.

Definition of “sin”

This word was used in archery. When the archers hit the middle of the target, the judge would yell, "bull's eye." When the arrow missed the target, the judge would yell, "sin," to designate "missing the mark."

The Sinfulness of Man

A spiritual definition of "sin" is missing the mark of being like Christ, which is absolute perfection. Every choice that does not compare perfectly with the choice Christ would make is sin. When would He get out of bed each morning? What would He eat? How would He greet people in your daily routine? [Satan's extreme come back is, "Come on, Jesus would not have made an issue over eggs or pancakes." But truth says, Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).]

Look at another illustration. On a scale of 0 to 100, with absolute righteousness at 100, the Lord Jesus Christ would be at the very top. Where would you rate the non-Christians? Consider these passages to write God’s description of non-Christians: Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:21; Ephesians 2:1-3, 4:18.

If Jesus scores a perfect 100, would you score the non-Christians somewhere between 50 and 60? You know, a failing grade, but still pretty good people. Would you score them between 10 and 20? How many of you picked a number higher than 1? How many of you scored them as low as a zero?

If you think a person could not become any viler in his daily actions and thoughts than he already is, then the score would be a zero. I think you will agree there is no end to the wretchedness a person could attain. Therefore, no one would receive a grade of zero. To score someone as a 0 would be to say that he could not get any worse.

However, if you graded the non-Christians on the basis of their ability to please God, their hunger and thirst for God, their own ability to obtain the righteousness of God, then your score of zero would be correct.

In your own mind, think of a very godly Christian. How would you rate that person on a scale of 0 to 100? Consider the following passages: Proverbs 20:9; Isaiah 40:6-8; 53:6; 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 7:11; Romans 3:10-18; and 7:18.

What is your conclusion about the grade of a very godly Christian? Did you give the person a high grade or a low grade? Let's move on to the real question. On a scale of 0 to 100, what grade would God give you? People don't fall into sin. They jump into it. Like a pig to the mud pit, so is man to the sin pit. You are not a sinner, because you sin; you sin, because you are a sinner. You are not wicked, because you do drugs; the truth is you do drugs, because your heart is wicked. Addictions are evil, but they are not the real problem. The bottom line problem related to your sinful behavior is that your heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9).

To go to heaven a person must live the entire lifetime without ever making a mistake. Can anyone do this? Can you do this?

Definition of Man's Depravity

W. T. Conner, an American theologian from decades ago, had this to say about "depravity."

The truth for which the term total depravity stands is the total inability of man to save himself, his entire helplessness in the grasp of sin. Without divine help man becomes worse and worse. Instead of total depravity meaning that man is as bad as he can be, it means that without the redeeming power of God's grace, he will forever sink deeper and deeper into sin.1

A simpler and more general definition would be “man’s inability to obtain the righteousness of God in his own power.”

Only when we admit our powerlessness, do we cry out to God and seek His mercy and grace. Don’t give in to the many lies

“Hey, I can handle just one more beer!”

“I don’t need help. I can handle it by myself!”

“I’ll do it just this one time, and never again!”

“I’ve been doing this for so long, I could never change”

“I’ll go to church and read my Bible every day, and then God will be pleased with me!”

“I’ll do a good deed today and God will erase my other 10,000 sins!”

“I’ll never do anything worse!”


Instead, begin every day crying out to Him for His protection and direction. Admit your total dependence on Him. The Lord Jesus Christ said, for without me you can do nothing (John 15:5). This explains the very first beatitude, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3). Someone who is poor in spirit comes to God with an attitude of a beggar, admitting that all he receives will come from God.



1  W.T. Conner, Christian Doctrine, (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1937), 140.








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