Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 11, 1968
NUMBER 35, PAGE 4-5a

"Do It Yourself"


Robert H. Farish

The "do it yourself" fad swept the country a few years ago. Almost overnight kits for every conceivable project appeared for sale. People were doing it for themselves all the way from building bird houses to building homes to live in themselves. Some turned out well but many were abandoned in disappointment and relegated to failure's realm. People, generally, have failed to recognize that in a very vital sense the salvation of the soul is a "do it yourself project. This is by divine appointment; it is not a human doctrine. This individual responsibility is not a seasonal or period thing but is assigned by God for the gospel age in its entirety. This "do it yourself' principle applies not only to saving self, but also to saving others. One can no more discharge his duty of admonishing the disorderly, encouraging the fainthearted, supporting the weak and visiting the sick by proxy than he can believe, repent, confess and be baptized by proxy.

By Grace Through Faith

The apostle stated to the saints at Ephesus, "by grace have ye been saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8) The human doctrine of salvation by grace, alone has discouraged and hindered recognition of the essential place of "obedience of faith" in the salvation of the soul. Some people actually seem to think that respect for the scriptural teaching on the need of human effort in salvation is a reflection upon the grace of God. "Grace" in the above passage comprehends the provisions made by God for man's salvation; "faith" includes all the human effort required by God for man to enjoy the provisions of grace. While all works of which man can boast are excluded, yet every act that is properly classified under "obedience of faith" is included. Years before this, when these Ephesians heard from Paul that they should "believe on Him that should come after him — that is on Jesus"..."they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:4,5). To these, and to the members of the church who had been baptized subsequent to this time, the apostle wrote, "for by grace have ye been saved through faith." The "do it yourself' imperative to the alien is expressed in the scriptures as "save yourselves from this crooked generation" (Acts 2:40).

Work Out Your Own Salvation

Paul called upon the saints at Philippi to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for .his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12,13). In this passage, human effort is required — "work out your own salvation" and also divine effort is recognized — "it is God that worketh in you." Both the divine action and the human action required to save the soul is here recognized. The saint is required to work out his own salvation realizing that when his efforts are in harmony with the word of God, it is God working in him. God works in man "to will and to work God's good pleasure" through his word "...when ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God...which also worketh in you that believe" (I Thess. 2:13). There is no irresistible "working" assigned to the word; the word only "worketh" in those who believe it to be the word of God. In such it worketh causing them to will and to work for God's pleasure. We need to be reminded that the gospel "is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." This principle of truth applies to both saint and alien.

Word of Hearing — United — by Faith — With Them that Heard The writer of the Hebrew letter points up the need of obedience of faith in Heb. 4:2. "For indeed we have had good tidings preached unto us, even as also they: but the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with them that heard." Faith is absent in all those cases of hearing without doing. These Israelites to whom allusion is made were guilty of disobedience — they had failed to mix or unite by faith to themselves the word heard. They failed to make the message a part of themselves. The word of hearing must be practiced before it profits the hearer. That "unbelief" and "disobedience" describe the same thing in this case is seen by reference to Numbers 14 where the historical account is given of this incident, where the "word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with them that heard."

Exhort One Another

"Exhort one another" (Heb. 3:13). "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works" (Heb. 10:24) and many other passages impose upon the Christian duties toward others. In this area the majority of members fail to recognize and apply the "do it yourself" principle. Rather than doing it themselves, many seem to expect the preacher, elder, "John" or "Mary" or some "personal worker" to do their provoking unto love and good works for them. How many who have gone astray would today be lost if every member of the congregation of which he was a member had done his duty toward the erring one? If every member of the congregation visited the sick, rebuked the sinners, admonished the disorderly, encouraged the fainthearted what a difference it would make! Rare indeed would be the person who could persist in unfaithfulness in the face of such evidence of concern.

"Do it yourself"! "Admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be long suffering toward all" (I Thess. 5:14).