If you were driving a car one hundred miles from civilization and it developed a flat tire, and you had no way to lift the car to put on the spare tire, what would you do? If Soviet heavyweight, Yuri Vlasov was riding along, you would have no problem; He would simply lift the car for you until the tire was changed. You see, at the 1960 Olympics, Yuri took 446 pounds off the floor and lifted it over his head. Even if you had Lamar Gant instead of Yuri, you would have been all right. Lamar weighed only 132 pounds. He was the first man to ever lift five times his own weight, 661 pounds.
Another amazing display of human strength was seen on June 16, 1991, when John Decker of Great Britain accomplished 7,683 pushups in five hours. However, Paddy Doyle of Great Britain started pushups in October of 1988 and in one year accomplished 1,500,230 of them. That’s an average of 4,110 pushups a day, 171 per hour. Then, in April of 1993, came Charles Servizio of Fontana, California, doing 46,001 pushups in 24 hours.
However, in December of 1992, Lou Scripa Jr., at the Beale Airforce Base in Marysville, California, accomplished what most thought impossible. He did 70,715 situps in 24 hours. To top it all, way back in 1929, Johnny Salo ran from New York to Los Angeles, a distance of 3,665 miles in 79 days, averaging seven miles per hour for the whole distance.
These facts seem almost fantastic, yet do they not proclaim the strength that some men possess? One looks at man and all of his accomplishments, the space programs, the tremendous machinery he has developed, the huge cities he has constructed, yet in spite of all this, God says, “Man is without strength.” What does He mean “without strength”? The answer is simple. Man is without strength when it comes to eternal matters.
THREE STARTLING FACTS!
FIRST. Man is without strength to heep all of God’s law. I hope you realize that there is not one single mortal who has ever kept all of God’s law! God says, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh” (Rom 8:3). That is, man is too weak to keep the law so the law cannot save him. It can only condemn him. Thus, “that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident” (Gal 3:11).
SECOND: Man is without strength to escape death. I’m sure that we all realize that. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death” (Eccl 8:8). Remember, however, death does not end all, it only commences the beginning of your eternal existence, either in heaven or in hell.
THIRD: Man is without strength to cleanse himself of his sins and to save his soul from hell. No man can buy his way into heaven. God says, “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him” (Psa 49:7). No man can work his way into heaven. God says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of your selves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8,9). Man is without strength!
What can be done? Our text also says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly” What could be sweeter than that? Christ was not mortal; death had no claim upon Him; He was sinless, yet He died for us, the ungodly. What amazing grace! What love! Notice what else God says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Rom 5:6-9).
Can you understand that? I can’t, but I believe it with all of my heart, for God says it. I am the ungodly sinner; I am the one for whom Christ died. By trusting Him as my Savior and Lord, I am justified, I am cleansed of all my sin and heaven is my home. What about you, my strengthless friend?