11 March, 2017

Genesis 15:16—“… the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”

But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full (Gen. 15:16 KJV).

This text is sometimes thought to teach that man and society, in general, is not totally depraved, but only extreme exceptional cases are such.


Rev. Martyn McGeown

[Source: An Answer to Phil Johnson’s “Primer on Hyper-Calvinism”]

When God declared in Genesis 15:16, “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full,” He did not mean that the Amorites were not yet totally depraved—they were—but He meant that the Amorites had not fully developed their potential for wickedness.

Take Adolf Hitler as an example. When Hitler was six years old, he was as totally depraved as he was when he died at age fifty-six. But at age six, Hitler had neither the imagination, nor the opportunity, nor the power to mastermind the Holocaust. The same is true with society: everyone from Adam and Eve onward was totally depraved, but it took over 1,600 years before the whole world was filled with violence and had reached a point where it was ripe for destruction (Gen. 6:11-13). The same is happening in our day: our society is developing in sin, man is finding new ways to sin, which development will culminate in the man of sin, at which point sin will be fully ripe and God’s wrath will be filled up.

The development of sin, as all other things, is under the sovereign control of God. God wills that sin develop in the human race and that sin reach its full potential. God does not will this because He delights in sin—He hates sin!—but because God wills that sin be seen as the dreadfully wicked thing that it is, so that He can be glorified in saving sinners from it and so that He can be glorified in punishing it.

In addition, God does restrain man’s sin, but He does not restrain sin inwardly and graciously by His Holy Spirit. God does not restrain sin in such a way that man becomes less than totally depraved or even able to do good. God restrains sin through various means—He uses the law as a restraint; He uses a sense of fear, shame, self-preservation and other motives to restrain sin; He even uses sickness and death to restrain sinners. All of these restraints act like a muzzle on a rabid dog.

But that is not “common grace.”



More to come! (DV)

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