Jesus didn’t come to help us, He came to rescue us!
A common conversation I’ve had with college students over the years goes something like this:
Student: I understand that I need Jesus and I really want to follow Him but I just don’t know…
Me: What do you not know? What’s holding you back?
Student: There’s just so much in my life that’s not right…things I know that need to change before I can really get serious about all this.
So, in essence, what someone is saying when they say this is that they’re too sinful at the current stage of their life for Jesus to help them. This articulates a misunderstanding of the reason as to why Christ came. Jesus didn’t come to help us…He came to rescue us from our utter helplessness. Many fundamentally don’t see Jesus as the answer, as the One who can cleanse their deepest stains; but rather they see Him as just a self-help savior who helps those who help themselves.
The first part of the gospel message is that we (all of us…everyone from the religious moralist to the immoral pagan) are sinners. All of us. And that simple statement, “We are sinners”, packs a punch! It doesn’t mean that we are pretty good people who need to just try a little harder to get our stuff together so that we can be nice, respectable citizens. It also doesn’t mean that we can help ourselves. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that the phrase, “God helps those who helps themselves” is a verse in the Bible. It’s not! God doesn’t help those who help themselves. He “helps” helpless sinners. Better stated, He rescues those who realize their helpless estate. And we are all helpless because there’s absolutely no amount of goodness, morality, religion, etc that could ever cause a holy God to excuse our sin. Morality or “being a better person” does nothing to deal with our sin problem…Only through Jesus is our sin dealt with in a way that pleases God.
What we see over and over again in the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ life is his great desire to receive, embrace, and cleanse sinners. That’s good news!! Even though every person who has ever walked the face of the earth is a sinner, Jesus draws close to those who recognize their sinfulness and their helplessness.
Those who don’t see their sin and think that their perceived goodness is enough, they won’t see their need for the cleansing embrace of Jesus.
There are others who know they’re sinners yet they don’t care. They enjoy their sin and don’t desire to be cleansed in any way. Their sin is their savior, so they show Jesus the door.
But those who give up and realize they can’t fix themselves…those who see their sin and run to the only One who can rescue them…they will find joy. They will be full. They will be satisfied. They will be cleansed. They will be at peace. They will find help. And they will know love like they’ve never known it before…because they will meet Jesus. Embracing our helplessness leads to embracing our Savior.
In the next 3 weeks at Bama Cru, we will be looking at 3 different stories in the Bible where Jesus receives and embraces helpless sinners…men and women just like us. I hope you’ll join us to learn more about this great Jesus…the authentic Jesus who loves sinners.