~ “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves” ~
This posting is a response to a blog entitled “7 Things You Won’t Find in the Bible… I Dare You to Look.” I am taking that challenge! The first phrase listed in that posting was “God helps those who help themselves.”
R.W. Glenn once wrote, “God does not help those who help themselves; He helps those who are convinced they could never help themselves.” That is certainly an accurate Biblical truth. I would also agree the phrase is not found in our English Bible. But what about the principle behind the phrase?
Words by themselves are meaningless—it is only when we attach meaning to the words that communication occurs. The principle behind this phrase can be found in the Bible, but the phrase can be heresy when different meanings are behind the words and the phrase.
The author of that piece supported his position by quoting the following verses.
(1) “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly... But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6, 8).
(2) “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26).
(3) “Thus says the Lord, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord’” (Jeremiah 17:5).
Note that the first passage is talking about the process of salvation and how man is totally helpless before a righteous God—the process to peace with God is only through Jesus Christ. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6). It is an absolute truth that man has no part in salvation! The second passage speaks about walking wisely. To do that we need the counsel of all of Scripture! Finally, the third passage relates putting your trust in human effort while ignoring God.
The spiritual life requires a balance. In reference to this topic we need to understand the whole of Scripture—the best commentary on Scripture is Scripture!
“God Helps Those Who Help Themselves” ~ While it is true that the Christian is totally dependent upon God, it is also true that they have an absolute responsibility before God to walk in the light and abilities they have been given. For example, one responsibility includes training ourselves to be Godly (1 Timothy 4:7). There are many other directions in Scripture about how Christians are to live.
There are many “apparent contradictions” about the Christian life, but they are not really contradictions. They are like an old-style balance with two items hanging on opposite sides of a center pivot point—it is only one scale with two balancing items. In this case the two items to be kept in balance are “Dependence Upon God” as noted above and “Absolute Responsibility Before God.”
Either of these two truths can be misunderstood. Neither should be applied as a hard and fast principle without the countering effect of the other.
additional comment: Do you want to better comprehend the balance between “Dependence Upon God” and “Absolute Responsibility Before God”? This balance is the center of the “Christian Life Model” (Chapter 2 of the book “Thy Will Be Done On Earth” by Robert Lloyd Russell). More information about this book can be found on the right column, the tab at the top, or the author’s website.
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW