Saved without the Savior

It is a fact of pride that peo­ple like to accom­plish things on their own. Pride sees as weak­ness rely­ing upon anoth­er. And it is per­haps the great­est insult to pride that God beck­ons us to come unto Him for sal­va­tion. If we would only real­ize that we have noth­ing which we could offer Him, that even our best char­ac­ter­is­tics are as filthy rags, if we would only come to him with a bro­ken and con­trite heart, sor­row­ful for our con­di­tion, He will not turn us away. He wants our pride, our self-love.

In mak­ing sal­va­tion this way, He made it as easy as it pos­si­bly could be. But at the same time, for many it is a mock­ery. Sal­va­tion for doing noth­ing? Ha! Per­haps we’ve been trained to believe that noth­ing worth­while is free–that some kind of cost or sac­ri­fice is required of every good thing. But no, God says “by grace through faith” we can have eter­nal life.

But what about those who refuse to believe that sal­va­tion can be attained freely? Is there hope? 

I want to quote a few vers­es from Job. They’re the only vers­es of their kind I have run across:

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirl­wind, and said: “Now pre­pare your­self like a man; I will ques­tion you, and you shall answer Me: Would you indeed annul My judg­ment? Would you con­demn Me that you may be jus­ti­fied? Have you an arm like God? Or can you thun­der with a voice like His? Then adorn your­self with majesty and splen­dor, and array your­self with glo­ry and beau­ty. Dis­perse the rage of your wrath; look on every­one who is proud, and hum­ble him. Look on every­one who is proud, and bring him low; tread down the wicked in their place. Hide them in the dust togeth­er, bind their faces in hid­den dark­ness. Then I will also con­fess to you that your own right hand can save you.” Job 40:6–14, NKJV

There it is. The only place in the Bible that I am aware of where God Almighty tes­ti­fies that a man might be able to save him­self. And how can the hard-work­ing earn their way to sal­va­tion? It appar­ent­ly isn’t as sim­ple as liv­ing a good life, being bap­tized by the right church, obey­ing a few sacra­ments, or deny­ing your­self of mate­r­i­al pleasures.

God says that to save our­selves, we must be able to raise our­selves over God, to break His word and to con­demn Him. And He does­n’t just call us to con­fess that; He says that if we think we can do those things, then we should, in essence, crown our­selves ruler, adorn­ing our­selves in majesty. Then, we hum­ble all the proud of the world and tread out the wicked.

We do those things, and God will tes­ti­fy to us that our right hand can save us. Those things don’t save us, but they show that we can save our­selves, by our own might and abil­i­ty (the right arm being a sign of strength).

How could our own strength save us? If we are able to do those things at the begin­ning of the pas­sage, then we would be able to with our might pro­hib­it our­selves from being cast into Hell. We would be able to with­stand the judg­ment of God, annulling it as the pas­sage says.

Per­haps it is this pas­sage that has moti­vat­ed so many would-be world lead­ers. Job is one of the old­est writ­ten pieces in the world; it would have been known to some extent through­out most of human his­to­ry. And it says that if we think we are might­i­er than God, we should prove it by essen­tial­ly con­quer­ing the world, hum­bling the proud and tread­ing out the wicked. Men have amassed great king­doms, but it has always been by using an army, not by using their own right hand.

So there you have it. If you don’t want to accept sal­va­tion by grace through faith, God pro­vides an alter­na­tive. But you must be able to exalt your­self even above Him.

Per­haps it is notable that the king of Baby­lon said he would “ascend into heav­en … exalt [his] throne above the stars of God … sit on the mount of the con­gre­ga­tion … ascend above the heights of the clouds … be like the Most High” (Isa­iah 14:13,14, NKJV). If he were to have suc­ceed­ed in that, he would have saved him­self. But even that mighty king was “brought down to She­ol, to the low­est depths of the Pit” (v.15, NKJV).

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Rick Beckman