Q. 25. Wherein consisteth the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually; which is commonly called original sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions.
The Catechism now begins a longer and more detailed discussion of sin. I really can’t add anything to this, the words are piercing and I will let you look up and read Vos’ Commentary.
What is the extent of the corruption of nature that resulted from the fall? This corruption of nature is complete or total in extent, and is sometimes called “total depravity.” Does total depravity of nature mean that an unsaved person cannot do anything good? No. The unsaved person, by God’s common grace (or restraining power), can do things that are good within the civil or human sphere. For example, an unsaved person may save another front drowning, at the risk of his own life. But the unsaved person can do nothing that is spiritually good, that is, nothing truly good and pleasing in God’s sight. He may do things that are good in themselves, but he never does them with the right motive, namely, to love, serve, and please God: therefore even the “good” works of the unsaved person are spoiled and corrupted by sin. What is the modern attitude toward the doctrine of total depravity? Those who pride themselves on their “modern” spirit ridicule and scoff at this truth of God’s Word.