By David A. Sargent
Keith Wishum recently wrote: “I’m afraid that we sometimes forget the obvious fact that we are not self-sufficient.” Then Wishum illustrated his point with the following story:
A young construction worker was bragging that he was the strongest man on the job. He especially made fun of an older worker.
After several minutes, the elder man had enough. "Put your money where your mouth is!" he exclaimed. "I'll bet a week's pay that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to the other building that you won't be able to wheel back."
"You're on, old man," the young man replied. "Let's see."
The old man grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then, nodding to the young man, he said with a sly smile, "All right. Get in."
Wishum concludes: “We cannot carry ourselves. We did not give ourselves life. We cannot sustain life on our own. There is no such creature as a ‘self-made man.’”
No, we are not self-sufficient. Whether we like to admit or not, we are dependent upon God and others for so many things in our lives. This is even true of our salvation from sin.
In our “self-sufficiency,” we are sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). What we “earn” from our sins is death, “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
We cannot save ourselves from sin. We just can’t do it.
But God loves us so much that He sent His Son to be our Savior! “For God so loved the world that He gave his One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish” (John 3:16). Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the only way to the Father and to the eternal life that He promises.
We cannot save ourselves, but we CAN accept God’s offer of salvation! This is the sense of Peter’s words when he told the Jewish audience on Pentecost Day: “And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation’” (Acts 2:40). They couldn’t be saved by their own merits, but they could be saved by accepting God’s offer of salvation on His terms.
God has promised to save those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). God will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
Just as one cannot push himself while sitting in a wheelbarrow, we cannot save ourselves. We can, however, place ourselves in the arms of Jesus through our trusting obedience and be saved by and through Him.
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org
* From “I Can’t Do It.” By Keith Wishum in A Word from Williams Road. Wishum is the minister for the Williams Road Church of Christ in Americus, GA.