“But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” – Luke 10:29
“DIY,” the acronym for “Do it yourself” has become a common expression in modern society. It garners ever-increasing attention from merchants for its lucrative marketing appeal. Rather than paying for a professional to come install your tile flooring or landscape your yard, you can purchase an inexpensive DIY kit, watch a DIY video tutorial, and away you go! Somehow, I have a feeling that pioneers, adventurers, and farmers of yesteryear would find this trend somewhat amusing since “do it yourself” was typically a necessary part of their daily existence, and indeed has been to all mankind since the beginning of time.
In our focus verse, a lawyer in Jesus’ time attempted the DIY route in an area where it simply would not work—justifying himself before God. He had just confirmed with Jesus that what God requires of man is to love God with all the heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love his neighbor as himself. Being a lawyer, this man made his living by expounding on and teaching about the Law of Moses. He apparently thought the right argument could justify him before Jesus and the people, but he was mistaken. No amount of discussion is sufficient to justify the soul. Romans 3:24 says we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” How ironic that the lawyer presented his DIY justification to the only One who could actually justify his lost soul before God.
There are myriad other ways that people try to justify themselves to God. Some might say they have done more good works than bad, or that they lived pursuing their dreams, or that they were not as bad as others. Yet, standing before God simply is not a DIY project. Only the Blood of Jesus can enable us to stand before God justified.
DIY projects are notorious for being harder, messier, and more time consuming than expected. The next time you find yourself in the midst of a DIY job, take a moment to remember and appreciate that our salvation came through no work of our own, and the high price was paid by Someone else. Thank God for sending Jesus, that through Him we might be justified simply by faith (Romans 5:1).