Man’s Inability Does Not Remove His Moral Responsibility

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Published on: February 14, 2015

There are many today who foam at the mouth over the Biblical Doctrine of Total Depravity and the inability of man to do what is pleasing to God in themselves. Still, there are others who use their inability as an excuse to do what is right before God. We hear it constantly in our culture today among the sodomites as they play the old saw of “I was born this way,” something that is a total lie.

As for the sodomite, it has been openly refuted that there is no one who is born a sodomite. One becomes a sodomite by being a God hater (Rom. 1:21), and God then turns them over to their foolishness and vile passions to engage in what is in their wicked hearts (Rom. 1:24). But this isn’t limited to sodomites. Now, this very argument is coming from all sorts of sinners, whether liars, thieves, drunkards or any form of immorality (Rom. 1:28-32).

Bradlee Dean of the Sons of Liberty Radio show took on this issue and set things right on Thursday. He thundered the very doctrines espoused in the Bible and rediscovered in the pulpit of the Reformation’s great preacher and America’s true founding father John Calvin.

“You cannot lift up wrong and make it somewhat right,” Dean said. “You’ve all heard the lawless try to excuse themselves… in their particular situations. ‘Well, I can’t help myself. I was born this way.”

However, these claims to excuse one’s actions are utterly false and baseless.

“Man’s inability is not the kind which removes responsibility,” Dean challenged. “Sin is moral, not physical.”

“Never fall into the error that moral inability for lawless lifestyles,” said Dean. “When a man becomes such a liar that he can’t tell the truth, is he exempt from the duty of telling the truth? After all, ‘he can’t help himself.”

On the contrary, those who continue to lie should be held accountable. In the legal sense, when one lies, it is called perjury. Instead of making excuses for perjurers, we should bring justice down on their heads.

Former President Bill Clinton was impeached, not for “lying about sex,” but for committing perjury and obstructing justice.

In providing an example of inability versus responsibility, Bradlee Dean said, “If your employee owes you a day’s labor, is he free from the duty because he has made himself so drunk that he cannot serve you? No! He should be fired.”

In another example, Dean asked, “Is a man free from debt by the fact that he spent the money and, therefore, cannot pay it back? No. That’s called thievery. Though shalt not steal. That is a crime in this country.”

“Is a lustful man free to indulge his passions because he can’t understand the beauty of morality?” Dean queried. “After all, he says, ‘I was born this way.'”

Dean concluded by declaring that this kind of thinking is a “dangerous doctrine.”

It is especially a dangerous doctrine when a weak, professed Church joins the voices of the world and declare, “Judge not lest ye be judged; He who is without sin, let him case the first stone; and we’re just supposed to love everybody.” What is needed is not coddling of sinners, but an open rebuke of sin and a call to repentance, pointing to a Savior from sin (Matt. 1:21).

The apostle Paul lays out that sinful men are unable to please God. He writes:

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. –Rom 8:6-8

In commenting on this passage, the great Reformed Baptist preacher John Gill gives us not only the sense of what is going on here, but also points to the remedy for it. He writes:

Men, whilst unregenerate, and as such, cannot please God; for though the persons of God’s elect are wellpleasing to him always, as considered in Christ, in whom they are loved with an everlasting love, and were chosen in him, and all provisions grace and glory made for them in him; yet as considered in themselves, and whilst in the flesh, do not please him; for they are straying from him, are alienated from his life, are destitute of all grace, and particularly faith, without which it is impossible to please him; are filthy and unclean, and hence, whilst such have no enjoyment of him, or communion with him; wherefore he sends his Spirit to work in them that which is wellpleasing in his sight: but this is not to be understood so much of persons, and their non-acceptableness to God, as of the inability of unregenerate men to obtain the good will of God, or make their peace with him; which they have no inclination to, being enmity against him; and were they inclined to it, know not how to go about it; nor can they draw nigh to God to treat with him about terms of peace; nor can they do that which can procure peace; Christ is the only person that can, make peace, and has done it: or rather, of the impotency of natural men to do anything which pleasing in the sight of God. There are many things which are pleasing to him, such as prayer, praise, giving of alms, keeping his commandments, and walking in his ways; but these unregenerate men cannot do in any acceptable manner to God; for they are without the Spirit, without Christ, without faith; and in all they do have no view to the glory of God: they have neither grace, nor strength, nor right principles, nor right ends.

In the end, men should stop making excuses for their crimes against the law of God, repent, trust in Christ as the perfect lawkeeper and then ask God for grace to keep his commandments by the power of His Holy Spirit. For one that does this, the law does not condemn.

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