A Self-Saved Man
We have often heard of those who come out of obscurity, abject poverty and limited formal education to become world renowned in some field. George Washington Carver was such a man. He became a world recognized botanist and expert on the peanut and its manifold uses. We say of such people – “He pulled himself up by his boot straps” or “He’s a self-made man”. We have to admire people who don’t let the circumstances of life hinder their progress and accomplishments. Our hats are off to every “self-made man and woman” who lives an honest, useful life among their peers. They are an example to us all.
Perhaps you know such a person. Or maybe you are one yourself. I happen to know one or two who have achieved far beyond what their background would have allowed. But I’ll tell you something; I have never yet know personally or even heard of a person who could make a honest claim to being a “self-saved man”. Oh yes, I have listen to many testimonies of folks who tell of turning from vile, corrupt lives to lives of moral soundness and even belief in God. It is wonderful to see such changes take place. Although they never say it, they seem, however, to be saying by their stories that they have saved themselves. I don’t believe that for a minute!
Why? Because even though they talk of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, they substitute their “good works” and moral soundness in the place of “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. Sure, they feel so good about their changed lives that this seems to them to mean they are saved. It is a grand accomplishment, indeed, to repent of sin and to live in the ways of righteousness. But without the blood of Jesus, this righteousness is NOT the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God is found only in the gospel of Christ (Rom 1:16-17). Paul said that the Jews were ignorant of God’s righteousness, but went about establishing their own righteousness. And Paul said that he prayed that the Jews might be saved (Rom 10:1-4), implying that his hope was that they would see their error in subjective thinking, and come to a knowledge of the truth that is in Christ Jesus (cp. Matthew 7:21-23). Repentance alone does not save any more than faith alone or baptism alone or anything alone will save. Even grace alone cannot save. It takes obedient faith for grace to save (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Jesus said faith (John 8:24), repentance (Luke 13:3,) confessing Him (Matt 10:32-33), and burial into His death by baptism (Mark 16:16) together are what saves a person from the wages of their sins. This is the grace of God which rests in the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. No person can save himself! Salvation is IN, BY and THROUGH the sacrifice of the Son of God at Calvary. Divorcing one’s salvation from the blood of Chris is no salvation at all, but rather self-deception (2 Thes 2:10-12). Good feelings about self don’t save. JESUS SAVES! There never has been , is, or will be a “self-saved man”.