Jun 23, 2012

Three Easy Pieces: D.I.Y. Salvation

Example One: 

You are walking in the woods. Your feet get tangled in the exposed roots of a hoary old tree. You reach down to pull your boots free, but you trip over the roots and fall into a deep ravine, breaking both your ankles (because your feet got tangled in the hoary roots). You lay there, unconscious, unable even to call for help. You will die of exposure.

A burly, strong, handsome woodsman comes by and sees you. He picks you up and carries you to an aid station. You are saved.

Did you save yourself? Of course not. You had no part in your salvation. You only lay broken, at the bottom of the ravine as a result of the fall.

Example Two:

You go out sailing in a small boat on a large body of water. By yourself. You don't wear the life-vest your parents gave you (you're not even sure where it is). But you've taught yourself how to sail a boat and how to swim. You are confident in your abilities, up to a point (you don't intend to go too far out in the small, Sunfish-class sailboat).

But a squall blows in suddenly, pushing you out into the water. You struggle to get your boat back to the protection of the shoreline, but the rising waves, driving rain, and growing darkness make the struggle difficult. You fall overboard. You panic in the cold water, as you see your boat driven away from you. In your panic, you cry out for help, even though you don't think anyone can hear you.

But to your great surprise, a voice calls out. "I can save you!" You look around, and you see a large boat has appeared in the storm. A burly, strong, handsome sailor stands at the rails with a lifeline in his hands. He throws it out into water. "Grab the line, and I'll pull you onboard!"

Response A: In your panicked state, you think the lifeline is a water moccasin. "Get away from me!" you scream, and kick the lifeline away. Thrashing about, fearing there is a serpent in the water near you, you sink beneath the waves. 

Response B: You are embarrassed. The expert sailor has seen you foolishly overturn your boat ("The waves weren't really that high, and the wind not really that strong," you tell yourself). You imagine that he and his friends on the boat will laugh at you, behind your back, for needing to be saved. But you are strong, and a good swimmer. "No thanks!" you yell back. "I can swim to the shore. You go find someone who really needs help!" You begin to swim towards where you think the shoreline is, but you swim in the wrong direction. It's dark now, and the large boat is scanning the waves with a searchlight, looking for you. You keep treading water until you are too tired to keep it up any longer. With nothing to hold on to, you slip beneath the waves. 

Response C: You reach out weakly and grab the line, which lies at your fingertips. While you hold onto the line, the sailor pulls you to himself, and to safety.
In Response A, did your fear become your undoing? Yes.
In Response B, did your foolish pride become your undoing? Yes. Were you able to save yourself? No.
In Response C, did you save yourself? Of course not. You accepted the saving action of the seaman.

Example Three: (Toastmasters says to always leave them with a joke.)

The rains have been falling up river. The river is rising and will soon crest the banks. The sheriff drives up to your house and warns you to pack your belongings and leave before the flood waters arrive. "I have Faith that the Lord will save me from the flood. I will wait for Him," you respond. The sheriff drives off to warn the next family.

The waters break the levee and flood the county. The water covers the foundation of your house and laps at your front porch. The Red Cross sends a small boat to your door, asking you to leave your house. "I have Faith that the Lord will save me from the flood. I will wait for Him," you tell the Red Cross workers. They leave, looking for others stranded by the rising waters.

The waters rise into your home. You go to the roof. A National Guard helicopter comes by and spots you on the roof. The Guardsmen lower a line to you and tell you to grab hold and they'll pull you to safety. "I have Faith that the Lord will save me from the flood. I will wait for Him," you yell up to the helicopter. They try to argue with you, but you win. They move on in search of others.

The waters continue to rise. You cling to the chimney until the strength of the rushing waters overcome your own strength. You are swept away, under the waters.

You wake up in Heaven. You approach the Gates and see Peter. He welcomes you, and begins the processing work. Finally he asks you if you have any questions. You do. "I had Faith that the Lord would save me from the flood. I waited for Him, but He never came."

As he opens the Gates of Heaven, Peter looks at you and says, "The Lord sent the sheriff, the Red Cross, and the National Guard to save you, but you wouldn't come."


Abandon your pride (it is of no value), overcome your fear (it will not protect you), and grab the lifeline (then you will be saved). Come. Respond. Repent. Follow.

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