“if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” —2 Timothy 2:13 (ESV)
After the anxious heart has accepted the doctrine of atonement, and learned the great truth that salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus, it is often sore troubled with a sense of inability toward that which is good.
Many are groaning, “I can do nothing.” They are not making this into an excuse, but they feel it as a daily burden. They would if they could. They can each one honestly say, “To will is present with me, but how to perform that which I would I find not.”
This feeling seems to make all the gospel null and void; for what is the use of food to a hungry man if he cannot get at it? Of what avail is the river of the water of life if one cannot drink? We recall the story of the doctor and the poor woman’s child. The sage practitioner told the mother that her little one would soon be better under proper treatment, but it was absolutely needful that her boy should regularly drink the best wine, and that he should spend a season at one of the German spas. This, to a widow who could hardly get bread to eat!
Now, it sometimes seems to the troubled heart that the simple gospel of “Believe and live,” is not, after all, so very simple; for it asks the poor sinner to do what he cannot do.
To the really awakened, but half instructed, there appears to be a missing link; yonder is the salvation of Jesus, but how is it to be reached? The soul is without strength, and knows not what to do. It lies within sight of the city of refuge, and cannot enter its gate.
Is this want of strength provided for in the plan of salvation? It is. The work of the Lord is perfect. It begins where we are, and asks nothing of us in order to its completion. When the Good Samaritan saw the traveler lying wounded and half dead, he did not bid him rise and come to him, and mount the ass and ride off to the inn. No, “he came where he was,” and ministered to him, and lifted him upon the beast and bore him to the inn.
Thus does the Lord Jesus deal with us in our low and wretched state.
(This week’s devotion is adopted from Charles H. Spurgeon’s “All of Grace”, chapter 11 titled “Alas! I can do Nothing!”)