We Cannot Save Ourselves

from the This Is the Gospel reading plan

Isaiah 24:1-6, Matthew 19:16-22, Romans 8:5-11, 18-25, Hebrews 7:26-28, Hebrews 9:22

While eating at a burger joint in our neck of Houston, my then two-year-old son decided it would be fun to run around the makeshift, cobbled together “playground”—its main feature being an old, rusty, hollowed-out school bus. As it was getting dark, he ran behind the bus to explore, and I immediately thought, There’s no telling what’s back there. I’d better go get him. His two-year-old legs were pumping fast, but I caught up with him just in time.

It was so dark behind the bus we couldn’t see what was on the ground right in front of us. So I used the flashlight on my phone to light my son’s path as he ran and laughed in the dark—but I saw trouble. A pile of jagged chunks of concrete lay just a few tiny strides away, but my young son didn’t see it. I semi-lunged to grab him as he began to fall headfirst into a pile of hospital bills. I scooped him up, jumped over the concrete, tweaked my ankle on the landing, and told him, “Look at that, buddy. I just saved your life.”

My son couldn’t save himself. Forget the fact that he didn’t yet have the muscles or agility to avoid what he was barreling toward; he didn’t even know he had a problem. This is our twofold dilemma also. We don’t possess the power to remove ourselves out of the path of God’s wrath, out of the power of sin, or out of the ways of the world. And it doesn’t even register with us that we have a problem—until the Lord opens our eyes.

When God shines the glorious light of the gospel through the person of Jesus Christ, that’s when we see. Our sins and their just judgment are illuminated, and we see there is hope in Christ alone. His death. His resurrection. His victory over our sin. Jesus rescues us from the damning dilemma. We can look to Christ with child-like faith and groan from our souls, “You saved my life.”

In this life the groaning never goes away completely. Our struggle with unbelief and and sin and weakness continues: ”We also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). But as followers of Jesus we have been given His Spirit to remind us of the gospel and to help us pray as we wait for Him to make all things new.

Written by J.A. Medders

Post Comments (6)

6 thoughts on "We Cannot Save Ourselves"

  1. Drew Roe says:

    My sin is horrid and wretched. Praise God for His gracious gift of redemption though! Without Him, I have no hope. With Him, I have more hope than I could ever want or need.

  2. Channing says:

    “We don’t even know we have a problem until God reveals it” Man this hit home for me. How we can be so clueless to our own sin, narcissism, and pride. Thank God for His Grace through Jesus to open my eyes to see my sin and the glorious grace offered to me through Jesus!

  3. Joshua H. says:

    All the good works we do can’t save us. The people of old tried to keep the law and offer sacrifices when things went wrong. It didn’t work out for them. Only Jesus can bridge the sin divide.

  4. Del’Shawn says:

    Without God I am dead. Without Him, I am nothing. God is my everything. In Him, I put my trust. I thank you Lord for your saving grace and power. You died that I might have a right to the beautiful grace and mercy that is wrapped in your love. You died that I might have life everlasting. Although I cannot escape sin, I will do everything in my might to live a life pleasing to you.

  5. StevSlursE says:

    Atorvastatin Antibiotic Alternative To Keflex Allergy viagra Levitra 5mg Tablets Viagra 25mg Generika

  6. Edward Gross says:

    Dear J.A., No wise Christian can argue with what you’re saying here. What they CAN (and perhaps should) argue with are the texts you’re using to support your thesis. Sorry, but they don’t connect. Every one of them is true, they just don’t back up your statement. Try again. Ed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *