Sometimes we simply need a visual, so, I share an old story, (an ‘old’ story because one must imagine a day with no modern technology, etc.): Suppose you and I and all the neighbors and the leaders in the community and the rich and the poor in the many, many surrounding and distant cities, and prominent church goers in all the areas, together, enter a huge ship on it’s maiden voyage. Everyone has a room that each could afford. Some luxurious, some very mean and rough. But they all were on the same ship!
Well, a storm did come and it was furious and larger than ever imagined and the ship capsized midway on it’s journey. Every person now found themselves in the water on a dark, cold night and had no other choice but to swim for shore in order to live. Young, old, rich, poor, churched, unchurched- we all find ourselves – you and I, the neighbors, the politicians, the clergy, the mamas and the papas and the children- in the water. We are all faced with a choice: ‘sink or swim!’
So swim it is! Some of the weaker ones could only swim 100 feet. Then they sank. Some could swim 1 mile, but that was the end of their strength. And they sank as well. The ‘churched’ were not stronger than the ‘unchurched’, no. They couldn’t even make it to land without sinking! And still some, more fit than all the rest, they swam 10 whole miles, yet they also came short to reaching land and safety.
The reality? What’s the point of this ridiculous illustration? We’re all ‘swimmin’ for solid ground! This simple story is a picture of what is true: If God was the solid ground, and it was up to us to get to Him, we would all drown! How can I say this? Because God says it Himself in His word: “There is none righteous, no not one; There is none that understands; There is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way,…There is none who does good, no,not one.” (Romans 3:10). These are not my words, and these words are repeated in a whole different way just a few verses down, in case we didn’t get it the first time: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23).
Hey, even if we ‘obey’ the 10 commandments, which none of us do, we ‘miss the mark’! We miss the shore! We’re all sunk! The pride of man and his own works is spoken of, and it might do well to remind ourselves of this truth: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). The word ‘all’ in this verse literally means, ‘ALL!’
And the truth of the matter is, this is not good news!
But, back to our imaginary, ‘old’ story: You see God, the Father of heaven and earth, He sees it all. He knows it all. He has an arm that can save each of the ‘drowning’ swimmers. But something has separated us ‘all’ from Him. Yes, our sin. And the “wages of sin is death.”(Romans6:23).
The Good News is, that God sent His Son, Jesus to ‘die’ instead of each of the swimmers flapping their arms furiously in the water. Jesus’ blood was shed. So ANYONE, (and we might want to give them the name of “WHOSOEVERS”), who calls on His name, ‘Jesus’ as they flap and swim, unable to get to God in their own strength,…Just as if we never sinned, God reaches out with His strong arm and He saves the drowning swimmer! One by one. Personally and individually! You’ve heard this verse before, “For God so loved the world”, (that’s ‘ALL’ of mankind!) that He gave His only begotten Son, that ‘whosoever’ believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
So, the truth of the matter is, the “wages of sin is death, but the GIFT OF GOD is ETERNAL LIFE through CHRIST JESUS our Lord!” (Romans 6:23, all caps, mine. Exclamation point, mine!) The best news about this is, we are all on the same ship, we all have the same problem and there is only ONE solution, and it has nothing to do with man and his strength!
It’s all God! There is NO ROOM for the pride of man! Move over ‘pride of man’ and put on humility!
This is time for ONE THING: To give thanks to God and to Love one another. God loves you, me, everyone! This is the good news. Oh, we are such sheep! We want to think it’s about us.
“All we like sheep have gone astray…” (Is. 53:6), but God loves us still. “We have turned, every one, to his own way…” (Is. 53:6), (did you see the words, ‘every one’? I think that means ‘every’ one!) “And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6).
The truth of the matter is we’re all SUNK! But there was an ‘old’ song written many a year ago about the hope we have to find some ‘Solid Ground!’
“My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.
“When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.”
Let us call on His name continually, but only 1 time is needed to be saved, and let us love one another and remind ourselves of this:
“His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”
“On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.”
God’s arm is ready to save ALL who call on Him! And when we’ve been brought safely to the Rock, may we share the wonders of God’s love and love others in hope, as we tell them of the very ONE who can bring them home!
‘On Christ the Solid Rock’ we will all stand, safe and secure in our Father’s Hand.
I think this calls for a very happy thanksgiving – everyday! God bless all the people with His love, and may we who have called His name – be part of God’s blessing of Love to ‘ALL’!