I have heard that saying many times and have often wondered what those words really mean. On its face it sounds like it is teaching us that “God will help us when we can no longer help ourselves.” In our words, “We are able to help ourselves up to a certain point, and then we need God’s help to complete whatever we are trying to accomplish.”  I don’t believe that this is scriptural. I believe, as we shall see, that “God helps those who look to Him for help.” In other words, we are HELPLESS to accomplish anything good without God’s help and we must turn to Him in faith and He will give us the grace to do His will.

One passage that proves this point is Hebrews 4:14-16, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our WEAKNESS, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and FIND GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED.” Notice, the Lord Jesus (who is a true Man and also God) sympathizes with our WEAKNESS; He knows we are WEAK. He knows we have no power in ourselves to accomplish His will so He invites us to approach Him in prayer to “ask for HELP” and He will give it to us the “grace to help us in our time of need.”

In John 15:1-5 Jesus taught us this same truth. He used the illustration of a “vine and its branches” to show us that we need to be “abiding in Him.” Mr. William MacDonald said this in his commentary on verse 4: “A branch abides in a vine by drawing all its life and nourishment from the vine. So we abide in Christ by spending time in prayer, reading and obeying His Word, fellowshipping with His people, and being continually conscious of our union with Him. As we thus maintain constant contact with Him, we are conscious of His abiding in us and supplying us with spiritual strength and resources. The branch can only bear fruit as it abides in the vine. The only way believers can bear fruit of a Christ-like character is by living in touch with Christ moment by moment.” These are wholesome words that I wholeheartedly agree with, for again “we are HELPLESS to accomplish anything good without God’s help and we must turn to Him in faith and He will give us the grace to do His will.” In verse 5 the Lord Jesus made this very clear, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit: FOR WITHOUT ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” This is clear, is it not? This means that just as we were “HELPLESS to save ourselves from sin and its just penalty (DEATH and JUDGMENT…see Hebrews 9:27), we are also HELPLESS to bear fruit for God in our daily lives.” Jesus “has saved us from sin and condemnation” and He” will surely give us the grace and strength to accomplish God’s will and bear fruit for Him” as we look to Him in faith.

In closing, I would like to quote one of my favorite passages on this subject. “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—FROM WHENCE COMES MY HELP? MY HELP COMES FROM THE LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). We see the very opposite of this in Psalm 146:3, “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, IN WHOM THERE IS NO HELP.” We will always be disappointed if we “look to MAN for help” (including OURSELVES!), but God will never disappoint us when we look to Him. “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob FOR HIS HELP, whose hope is in the LORD his God” (verse 5).  (DO)  (521.3)