We Cannot Save Ourselves

Read: Romans 3:9-20

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (v. 20)

Regardless of our age, we are always hiding something. Children play hide-and-go-seek. Teens try to cover up acne. Adults hide their fears, emotions, and shortcomings. We try to conceal medication, weapons, and sin. The first thing Adam and Eve did after they sinned by disobeying God was to hide. They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves (Gen. 3:7).

Here are two realities when it comes to our sin. First, though we may be able to hide our sins from others, we cannot hide sin from God. Second, we cannot save ourselves from sin. Only the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus can take away our sins. As an old hymn declares, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Obeying the law, doing good works, showing kindness to strangers, volunteering time, donating money, becoming a missionary—these are all great things. However, God intends our good works to be a by-product of gratitude, not a way to earn salvation. A proper understanding of the gospel includes a realization of the severity of sin and the good news that God provided a second chance. Are you trying to hide your sin? Are you running from God? Stop hiding, start confessing, and you will find forgiveness! —Steve Petroelje

Prayer: Loving Lord, strip me of any self-righteous acts that deceive me into thinking that I can save myself. Let me humbly submit to you, the only source of hope and salvation. Amen.

About the Author

Rev. Steve Petroelje is a specialized transition pastor who serves vacant churches and helps them assess health, pursue missional effectiveness, and conduct a pastoral search process. He is the past-president of the Words of Hope Board of Trustees.