“No one can be saved—in virtue of what he can do. Everyone can be saved—in virtue of what God can do” (Karl Barth).
When I was growing up, my dad rebuilt wrecked cars. He’d go to the junkyard or auction, bid on a real wreck, and then have it delivered to our home. Some of these cars just had fender benders, but most were totaled. For insurance purposes, to be totaled means to be beyond repair. And that’s the way these cars looked to me when they arrived at our home. When I looked at the car, it looked beyond hope, but when my dad looked at it, he saw the finished product.
After all, I was not the mechanic. If left up to me, the car would remain in the junkyard and eventually hauled off to the scrap yard. I did not have the creativity, perseverance, know-how, technology, or desire to rebuild such broken things.
But my dad had all of these in spades. Junk didn’t scare him, nor did hard work. To him, these cars were worth it.
I know it’s a crude analogy, but it seems to fit the way God sets his special eye on us when we’re junking away with the rest of the wrecks. God has no taste for the cars that shine, but for those who are at their worst. The ones the world rejects. The ones that are beyond repair.
Totaled. That’s a good word to describe us cars; and if left to ourselves, there is no way that we could ever be roadworthy again. We are twisted and caved, with flat tires and broken glass, our engine is cracked and axels pulled. There is no way that we should ever be driven again.
But God has his special eye on us; he loves to bring home the unwanted. He loves giving second chances to those in the junkyard.
“No one can be saved—in virtue of what he can do. Everyone can be saved—in virtue of what God can do.” The salvage yard is not a place of potential, but a place of condemnation. Salvation does not start with a working engine, but with the word “totaled” written on your title. Salvation begins in the salvage yard.
God can save you. He is the master mechanic who loves putting wrecks back on the road. You are never beyond his repair, unless you try to fix yourself. When we try to fix ourselves, we resist his tender garage.
We cannot fix ourselves, our only option is surrender. No one has the ability to fix himself, on the one hand, but absolutely everyone can be fixed by God, on the other. Salvation is both narrow and broad at the same time.
Do not make any verdicts on your life before placing it in his healing hands. Do not say, “I am junk,” before hearing Him say, “You are loved.”
© Samuel Kee, 2011