They have an excellent post over at Extreme Theology. It deals with the fact that when we are born, we are (drum roll) born into sin. I know, I know. Anybody who has read Ephesians 2:1 with a prayerful mind is fully aware of this. However, there are some who think we need to make ourselves alive through our good works, thus making us acceptable to God so He can save us. For these, Steven Newell offers this insight:
As a dead corpse cannot make themselves physically alive, we cannot make ourselves spiritually alive. No matter how good we try to act, whatever we try to do to please God, we cannot affect our condition.
Then he posted this next passage, which God used to kinda flip a switch in my brain. Ephesians 2:4-5--"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." Did you catch that? God made us alive when we were dead in our sins.
We did not bring ourselves to life, it was God who quickened us. We did not make ourselves good enough for God--it was Jesus who justified us before God. We did not make ourselves acceptable to God--it was God who made us accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 2:6).
Are you trying to save yourself? Are you waiting until you are good enough before you ask God to save you? Are you not crying out to Him because you think He'll never accept you the way you are? Well, guess what? You never will be. Like the writer of the song "Come Ye Sinners" wrote:
Come ye weary and heavy-laden
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry until you're better
You will never come at all.
God saves sinners. There has never been a sinner who saved themselves. All of our sins are like red clay that stains our soul, and there is nothing we could ever do to wash it out. All the good deeds, all the righteous works we could ever do, will never erase the stain of sin (Isaiah 64:6). Only the blood of Christ, who, while we were yet sinners, died for us (Romans 5:8).
Isaiah 1:18--"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be white like wool."
Revelation 1:5--"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood..."