How Does Redeeming Oneself Work?

There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.

  • Proverbs 14:12

“A line of human thought that seems right to many people is the idea of self-redemption.  Man thinks he must work at righteousness to save himself.  After all, it was man who sinned and as we say, ‘God helps those who help themselves.’  But a greater truth than this emerges from the Bible – the truth that God helps those who cannot help themselves.  We cannot save ourselves.  It is noble to be upright if we can.  It is admirable to be honest, kind, and compassionate.  It would seem that these characteristics would be sufficient to save our souls.  But the Bible says that though this way seems right, it is wrong.’”

  • Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham, (August 3)

To answer the title question, it does not.

We cannot clean the stain that sin leaves upon us.  We are unworthy of doing so. 

As an example, since we have been living in Pennsylvania, we have had two water heaters that have failed.  The first required professional cleaners to clean he basement, but I caught the second when it was a slow leak and I used a carpet cleaner to clean the affected carpet before mildew set in.  On both occasions, we used towels to soak up the water in the carpet.  But once all the old towels were saturated, they did not pick up much water.  And regardless of how many times we wrung out the towels, we could not make the carpet dry.

When we try to redeem ourselves, we are starting out with “wet towels” to begin with, and we will not be prepared to go to Heaven without our lives being totally dry – to use the analogy from the water heater leaks above.

Another analogy was raised by an engineering professor.  He said that we needed to cross the street, but all we could do was to walk halfway with each step.  Then he asked, “How many steps will it take to reach the other side of the road?”  The extroverts in the room who spoke before thinking said, “Two steps.”  When the professor replied, “Wrong!!  Think before answering!”  The answer was that you could never make it across the street, or an infinite number of steps.  If there are two lanes in the road, the first step gets you to the center markings.  But now you have a full lane left, and you can only step halfway.  After two steps, you have half a lane left to go; after three steps, you have a quarter lane to go.  Sure, after a few more steps, you only had a fraction of an inch left, but you would never get there if you could only take a step of half the distance.

So, if it is impossible, how can we be redeemed?  God did that when Jesus died on the cross.  And Jesus rose from the dead.  That gives us the assurance of the resurrection to be with Jesus.  But we must accept Jesus and trust in Him to receive the redemption.

Is guilt weighing you down, or something that you do not understand weighing you down?  Jesus is the answer.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


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