The Problem of Self-reliance: Trusting in Christ Plus Something

Category: Excerpts

The problem with these Judaizers and the unbelieving Jews, and really any unbeliever, is the very same problem we see take place with Sarah and Abraham: the problem with self-reliance. It’s a problem they did overcome and repent from, but they thought the promise plus something else, didn’t they?

The promise was, was God plus their little contribution. The Judaizers were no different. They thought Jesus is the answer, but you’ve got to have Jesus and the knife too, or Jesus and just a little bit of law, just a little. Brother, in the end, it’s endless with the plus sign. We’ve got religion all over the world that will gladly lay hold of Jesus, but unless you’re embracing Christ crucified and Him alone, His finished work on that cross as your full sufficiency before the holy God of heaven, you have no hope before Him. It’s not Jesus’ atoning work plus something you do, meaning any contribution that you add.

What are you relying on? You do yourself no service to ignore that question. You don’t want to leave here today not knowing the answer. You really want to take this in: What am I really relying on? It’s an eternal question with eternal consequences. Are you relying on God’s promised provision? His son, Jesus Christ? Or are you really relying on Jesus plus something else? My attendance, my feelings, a prayer. I was excited one time, there was this moment where I got the baptism certificate, you know, and I, you know, my dad’s a pastor. And, I mean, people, you’d be amazed what slips out of people, what they’re really trusting in. Well, I’m trying. I believe when I know when I get there. I talk to people that you think are Christians. What is your hope when you stand before God? Well, I really hope at the end I’ve done enough. I really hope I’ve trusted enough. I really… It’s all about them. If your answer comes back to you, you’re in trouble.

There are only two religions in this world, only two: a religion of bondage and a religion of freedom, true freedom, absolute freedom. You have either the way of Cain, a way built upon self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and self-accomplishment, and then there’s Sarah, the way of Abel. It’s a way of faith, a way of complete abandonment of self, and complete reliance upon the God who made me and His provision for my soul. Christ. Only two, and one, of course, is true Christianity. The other is everything that is not true Christianity.

I’ll close by quoting, we sung it, Luther’s words: “Therefore, my trust, it’s in the Lord and not in my own merit. On Him, my soul shall rest. His word upholds my fainting spirit. His promised mercy is my fort, my strong anchor right there, my comfort and my sweet support” (Psalm 119:114). I beg you to trust in Christ today. You don’t want to leave this world without Christ saving you, knowing Jesus Christ and trusting Him and Him alone as your only hope for eternal life, as your only hope for recovering from your sin. We all need one. You won’t be able to ever do it. You can’t do enough to appease God. Jesus Christ has done it all.

[Closing prayer] And Father, we are so thankful He has. Lord, just going through this study, Lord, just realizing the exposure that these Jewish people had and yet remained in darkness, and Lord, that you would be pleased in the fullness of time, on the other side of the globe, years, centuries later, to consider my soul, that you would allow Sarah to be my mother, that I might know the covenant blessings of Abraham. Well, all to you we owe, and we praise you for such kindness and mercy. Lord, you stood before your own people and said, these things are hidden to them, but you’ve revealed them to us (Matthew 11:25). And we praise you and we thank you, Lord. Help us live in the light of the wondrous Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lord, I pray, have mercy on our children, lost loved ones here, and visitors that are outside of Your grace. Lord, rain down mercy upon them. Please open their eyes and their heart to believe and receive the forgiveness of your son. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

This excerpt was taken from the full sermon, “Two Women, Two Covenants, Two Unexpected Children“.