Faith is for the Weak
None is righteous, no, not one . . . But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. Romans 3:10,21-22
Step one of AA’s 12 steps says that as alcoholics or addicts, we must admit that we’re powerless on our own. Step two says that we must recognize our need for God and step three says that we must make a decision to surrender our lives to him. Basically, the first three steps say that we’re lost and that our only hope is God. To admit this requires radical honesty, humility, and willingness to surrender control.
I’ve heard it said faith is only for the weak. Usually, this charge is levelled by those who don’t believe in God. It’s meant, I understand, as an insult to believers, but I’d have to wholeheartedly agree with the statement. I’d say that God can save only those who recognize their weakness and their need for a savior. Just like the first three steps of AA, this requires honesty, humility, and willingness to surrender.
In today’s passage, Paul emphasized that no one is good enough. No one meets God’s requirements for righteousness. We’ve all failed, and we’ve all turned from God, going our own way. In going our way, we’ve become lost. We can never do enough good to make God love or accept us. This seems hopeless, but not to worry, says Paul, God loves us anyway. In fact, he loves us so much that he sent his son to die in sacrifice that we may be forgiven. Now, when God looks at those who’ve accepted his free gift of salvation, he doesn’t see their weakness and failure. He chooses to see only the righteousness of his own son.
This is blessed news for the addict, who’s known failure upon failure. The addict who’s come to hate his life knows he’s lost and that he desperately needs help. This doesn’t mean he’s necessarily going to surrender his will to God, but in admitting his weakness, he’s light years ahead of those who, in pride, remain blind to their need.
Paul says we all need God and we’re all lost without him. Faith, as it turns out, is only for the weak. Not everyone is able to admit their need though. Only those who humbly recognize their weakness are able to find the blessed life God created them to know.