Empty Hands and Commitment
When sinners come to Christ it has to be with empty hands. If a person who is unsaved comes to Christ with something to offer – like “Jesus, if I will be really moral from now on and I hope that you will accept me.” That is not faith in Christ as the SAVIOR. Actually, if someone comes to Christ offering something they deem good in exchange for Christ’s acceptance, it seems they might be missing the point of Jesus Christ being the Savior. He has done it all to make a way to God – He has won our acceptance with the Father – all we need do is receive this from Him. In order to receive it, we would have to know that our hands were empty and void of anything that could gain us that acceptance with God ourselves.
Sinners have to come with commitment. Yes, I said commitment.
“Commit your life to Christ.” To some “Commit your life to Christ” means that the sinner has to be willing to do whatever God wants Him to do - give up this, go there, etc and God will receive Him. He has to lay down his own desires and be willing to do what God wants Him to do. They deem this as part of saving faith. Whether these thinkers have a corner on that phrase or not – I will tell you what I make of it.
Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)The word for “commit” there is the Greek word paratithēmi. It means to present for protection. Christ was saying that He trusted His heavenly father with the outcome of His death. In the same way, saving faith is presenting one’s eternal destiny to the Son of God for protection. It is saying “I commit my future to His protection.” It is trusting that He can and will preserve your life’s essence for the long haul…. for eternity… it is believing in Him for everlasting life.
Can a sinner believe in Christ regarding his soul’s protection from destruction... while at the same time having reservations about whether he really needs Christ's help, or about whether he could get right with the Father on his own? It seems like at the moment of faith his hands would have to be empty and he would have to be really committing his soul unto Christ's eternal protection. “Believing in Jesus” is believing in Him regarding our eternal standing with God, is it not? This is something specific. I know plenty of people who “hope” they will get to heaven who “believe in Jesus.” As a great scholar once asked, “What are they believing in Him for – a pastrami sandwich?”
I am still thinking these things through, but at this time I really think unsaved people must have empty hands to receive anything from Christ, and if they receive Christ in saving faith it would imply that they commit themselves to Him, utterly casting their eternal destiny on Him and into His care, without reservation.