Buddha once said, "Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others." I cannot tell you how it broke my heart to read those words recently. I praise God my salvation has never been mine to "work out," that I can depend on Someone to save me, that my salvation was worked out before time began. What a bleak existence - working out one's own salvation. What a hopeless, fruitless, and foolish existence. To think we are capable of saving ourselves? To think we, a sinful, violent, and rebellious brand, could do anything to earn our salvation. We cannot do the smallest things without assistance, we cannot even change the color of our hair without some outside aid. How then are we supposed to accomplish something so huge as our salvation on our own? It is nothing but foolishness to think we can do that! Yet it seems that this idea of salvation being by God's grace is something our flesh kicks at and without God's intervention one would never accept such a thing.
Canon 9. If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone...let him be anathema.
Canon 11. If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins...or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.
How does a drowning man save himself when there is nothing in himself to draw upon to pull himself out of the sea? All he can do is hope that someone will come along in time to save him before his death. And that's where Christ comes in. He sees us struggling to keep our heads above water, He sees that despite our best attempts to save ourselves we are still drowning, and He walks out to us on the water. He reaches out as we fearfully cry "Lord, save me!" He pulls us from our sin that has enveloped us. Praise God that we are not left to work it out, that it has been worked out by Christ for us, because if it had been left up to us nobody would be saved.