Empty hands and the Savior

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“It is becoming more and more obvious that it is not starvation, not microbes, not cancer,” said the late celebrated psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, “but man himself who is mankind’s greatest danger.”[1]

On the other hand, nobody wants to be referred as the problem. We all want to be extolled. We all want to be told that we’re good at something. Employees strive everyday to attain that promotion. Athletes exhaust hours just to be in the Olympics. In short, nobody wants to lose – or at least to be told as a failure. We all want the place of honor.

But Christianity dashes that hope.

One of the things that convinced me that the Bible is the word of God, is the fact that it is brutally honest. It meets us in the actual world. Had it proclaimed that following Jesus would result in a happy life floating with tears of joy, then it would be the greatest propaganda ever.

The message of the gospel, instead, is offensive. It tells us that we’re wrong, we’re guilty, and we need to repent. It tells us of our need of a Savior, whom before saving us, diagnoses our problem – sin – we have offended a holy God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23, ESV). In result, the justice of God requires a penalty of us (c.f., Rom 6:23).

Nevertheless, viewing in the lens of love – God provided the solution – a solution that we can’t provide. He sent a Savior. He sent himself as that Savior. With only one condition though, we need to accept his offering of forgiveness and governance. He requires us to set aside our mini-lawyers. Because we are guilty and are empty handed. In short, we have nothing to justify.

And I thank God because he required us only one thing – the acknowledgement of our need of his saving grace. Or as what Augustine said, “God gives where he finds empty hands.” [2]


[1] Kenneth D. Boa & Robert M. Bowman Jr., 20 Compelling Evidences That God Exists (David C. Cook, 2005), 119.

[2] Cited in Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace? (Zondervan, 2002), 179-80.