These are two illustrations of Total Depravity that stick with me daily, both are great.
1) Benjamin Joffe’s “Lion in a Cage”
If a lion is in a cage, and you put before him a bowl of meat, and a bowl of wheat, which one will the lion choose to eat? ”The lion will always choose the meat, he would never choose the wheat, because lion’s don’t eat wheat, that is who they are.” Right, a lion will always eat the meat because of who they are. Total Depravity is like this, in that our nature, using it’s freedom of choice, will only choose sin! Why? That is who we are! It must take an act outside of ourselves to change what is going on inside of ourselves.
2) Chris Robin’s “How to Kill a Wolf”
Do you know how a eskimo kills a wolf? No, tell me. They take seal blood and put it in a bucket, and then dip a knife into that bucket. After this they put the knife outside to freeze. They then take the knife and stick it into the seal blood again and place it back outside to freeze. They do this about 5 times until a thick frozen coat of seal blood is around the knife. After there is a coat of blood, they stick the knife into the ground, with the blade up, and watch. A wolf smells the blood and comes to eat a seal but finds this little frozen seal popsicle! They lick it over and over and over until it numbs their tongue, and when they get through the blood and hit the knife they will not feel it until it is too late. They bleed to death and die. Total Depravity is like that in that we will always choose what will kill us, sin! That is, unless God intervenes and changes the desires of our hearts!
We cannont change our own nature on our own, it will always choose sin, and that is precisely the problem that needs to be fixed! Thank God that in His mercy to us in believing in His Son, He changes our hearts so that we will no longer choose the meat, or the seal, but what is contrary to our nature, Himself! (Romans 8:7-8)