Then will I also confess to you that your own right hand can save you.
When Job is strong enough to humble the proud he may be able to save himself; but as he cannot do the first work he is not equal to the second. Thus we are introduced to the impossibility of self-salvation.
I. THE VAIN ATTEMPT. Men are continually trying to save themselves.
1. In danger. We feel that we need deliverance. Job desired to be saved from disease, poverty, injustice, cruelty. We all wish to escape from trouble. Some of us may be more anxious to escape from sin, our greatest enemy. There are evils, then, and the perception of them urges us to save ourselves.
2. In distrust. We ought to look to the Almighty for strength, and to the All-merciful for deliverance. But if we forget God we are tempted to rely on the arm of flesh. If we had a due appreciation of God's ability and willingness to save, we should not dream of trying to save ourselves.
3. In self-confidence. We must think little of our sin, or much of ourselves, if we imagine that we can effect our own salvation. We have not yet discovered our own weakness, nor the depth of our fall, if we suppose that there is no greater mischief with us than what we can remedy.
II. THE CERTAIN FAILURE. No man has yet saved himself. Is it likely that the latest to try the experiment will succeed? We have not yet conquered our own hearts, although we have often determined to do so. Is it probable that our next attempt will be more successful? There are good grounds for being assured that it will not.
1. The greatness and power of sin. No one who has not tried to break its yoke knows how terrific this is. We simply cannot get away from our own sin. Not only does the sin harden into a habit and so become a second nature, but it weakens the moral fibre of the soul. The prisoner languishing in the dungeon is not only held in by stone walls and iron bars, but the unhealthy condition of his confinement weakens his body so that he has not strength to break away from even smaller constraints.
2. The justice of God. This does not hold us to our sin, but it binds us to its consequences. We cannot deny that we deserve the wrath of Heaven. We cannot atone for sin. All our subsequent service is no more than is due from us, and the old debt still remains uncancelled.
III. THE GLORIOUS ALTERNATIVE. We have to learn that we cannot save ourselves, not merely to discourage useless efforts, but to lead us to the true salvation of God. What we cannot do for ourselves God can and will do if we will let him.
1. Though Jesus Christ. He was called Jesus because he would save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He is the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Christ delivers from sin as well as from its result - death. His power to save springs from his atoning sacrifice; but he saves now as a living, present Redeemer. He is the hand of God put forth to deliver the helpless and ruined.
2. In regeneration. We need to be born again (John 3:3). So great a change cannot be brought about by ourselves; Christ alone can effect it. He has not come so much to bestow on us gifts as to change our whole life, so that we may become new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.