The Descent to Depravity - The Warrior's Journey®

The Descent to Depravity

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. (Romans 1:18-19) 

Romans 1:18-32 is one of the most critical passages in the Bible. It answers the question, “How did humanity reach its present state of depravity?” Was it the sin of one man, Adam, that made us depraved? Did God make us this way? Or, was our descent into depravity a process, marked by our repeated suppression and rejection of God’s truth, followed by God’s “giving us over” to our own rebellious way?   

We must answer this question if we are to correctly interpret the rest of Paul’s letter to the Romans. This is especially true when we come to Romans 5:12-21 where Paul draws a contrast between the sin of Adam and the obedience of Christ. Are we all credited with Adam’s sin, or does Paul have all of humanity’s sin in mind? Romans 1:18-32 is also critical for correctly interpreting Romans 9:17-24, where Paul refers to the “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.”  How were those vessels “prepared” or “made ready” for destruction? Romans 1:18-32 answers this question as well. 

Paul explains that human depravity is the result of humanity’s suppression, rejection, and twisting of divine truth. Yet is also the result of God’s response of “giving us over” to “the sinful desires of our hearts” (v.24), to “shameful lusts” (v.26), and to “a depraved mind” (v.28).  Therefore, we are all participants in our own depravity. Human depravity is the result of both of our repeated sin and God’s just punishment for that sin. This judgment comes in the form of a judicial hardening of sinners’ hearts and in their diminished ability to perceive God or understand the error of their way.   

This is how humanity becomes depraved. True, we are born with a sinful nature which we ultimately inherited from Adam, which also makes us powerless to keep God’s law and obey His commandments. And whatever residual tenderness we have as a child will soon grow callous if we persist in rebelling against our Creator. Our limited sight will soon turn to blindness if we do not open our eyes to behold the reality of God.  And whatever remaining hearing we have from our youth will turn to stone deafness if we continue to plug our ears against the voice of the Holy Spirit. This should terrify us – that we may become blind, deaf, and hardened – oblivious to the hell that awaits us. 


  • Have you ever sensed God speaking to you and suppressed His voice? 
  • How often has this happened? What will be the effect on your ability to hear? 
  • Let’s harken to God’s voice, repent, and believe while we are still able. 

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