You Can’t Preach Christ Without Preaching Depravity

If we are to understand the magnitude of God’s grace, we need to understand the totality of our depravity.

Preach Christ or go home, Spurgeon says. And for what was Christ crucified? Why did his pure blood flow down the plank of a criminal’s cross? Because of sin. Because of our depravity. Therefore, to ignore the depth of our darkness changes the story—it weakens it.

 

Depravity isn’t exactly en vogue these days. You don’t hear friends at coffee shops talking about the blackness of their hearts. We don’t put verses about human sinfulness on coffee cups, or surround them with filigree in inspirational memes.

We want to hear uplifting verses, “for I know the plans I have for you” verses. We don’t want to hear “the heart is desperately sick” verses.

But if we are to understand the magnitude of God’s grace, we need to understand the totality of our depravity. In fact, we must never shy away from depravity, for not only is it true, but it clarifies what Jesus accomplished on the cross. We must preach this doctrine, understanding that our job in gospel proclamation is not to tickle ears with self-help, but to pierce souls with truth.

Charles Spurgeon once said:

The motto of all true servants of God must be, “We preach Christ; and him crucified.” A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.

Preach Christ or go home, Spurgeon says. And for what was Christ crucified? Why did his pure blood flow down the plank of a criminal’s cross? Because of sin. Because of our depravity. Therefore, to ignore the depth of our darkness changes the story—it weakens it.

If we aim to preach Christ in our churches, then we must preach about what he endured and overcame on the cross. We must explain the depravity from which he rescued us.

An Unavoidable Truth

Many pastors keep the doctrine of depravity out of the pulpit but still believe it’s true. They file it away in their minds as a conversation in seminary, but rarely applicable on Sunday morning. To be sure, some deny depravity altogether, claiming humanity is basically good but flawed.

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