I was reading through Mark 1 tonight on the Net Bible, as my old computer crashed on me and I can't find my Gramcord CD (long story). In any case, the words of John the Baptist toward Christ suddenly struck me. John makes the statement that he is not worthy to untie Christ's sandal. Now, the job that had to do with feet was considered the least worthy job among one's servants. What John is, therefore, saying is that he is not even worthy enough to have the most unworthy connection with Christ. He's lower than the lowest on the totem pole, and so counts himself not even worthy to serve Christ as the most unworthy servant He could have.
Now, contrast that with what Christ says of him. The Lord says of John that among those born of women (i.e., all human beings) no one was greater than John. So if John was the greatest, i.e., the most worthy (either in stature/role/authority or godliness), of human beings, and John is not worthy to be even the least worthy of servants of Christ, then what does that mean for the rest of us?
Still think you can merit salvation by your works and become worthy to serve God in your own righteousness? Good luck with that.
If someone thinks he has good reasons to put confidence in human credentials, I have more: I was circumcised on the eighth day, from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. I lived according to the law as a Pharisee. In my zeal for God I persecuted the church. According to the righteousness stipulated in the law I was blameless. But these assets I have come to regard as liabilities because of Christ. More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things – indeed, I regard them as dung! – that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness – a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness. (Phil 3:4-9)