When the ship is sinking, and it is known by all that it indeed is going to sink, there are exposed two kinds of individuals, and while there remains minor variants to these types, the two bases are not altered in their intent, one group wants to live, the other, while also in this category, do not see their lives as important as their duty, if you will, to save others from death.
The greatest example of this was of course what our Lord did for us on the cross. His own life for ours, and although we will not delve into the fact that He was and is fully God and fully man, I must bring up one point here and do so without any offense in any way, shape, or form. “I came forth from the Father.” (John 16:28) “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:18) Out Lord knew for a fact who He was, from the moment He was born of a virgin, He knew who He was and always had been, no great revelation came upon Him one day that He is God, no messenger arrived from heaven, no prophet knocked on Mary and Joseph’s door asking to speak to Jesus so he could inform Him that not only was He the Messiah, but that in fact He was and is God, He always knew.
This offered Him, without any inference of offense on my part, an advantage, faith is not necessary when the truth is known. As for us in this present time, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” (Heb. 10:38)
As much as I know for a fact that my faith in Christ is a fact, I am still human, and as long as I draw breath there will come doubts, these doubts do not undermine my faith in our Lord, they are more of a burden, a whisper that I tire of hearing, nevertheless they arrive and must be laid at the feet of our Father’s throne. Jesus knew where He was going, we are asked to live by faith. True faith therefore, in the context of this letter to you, is the observation of a fact.
There will be people on this ship that is sinking that will indeed do all they can to assist others, for that is the right thing to do, the survivors will call them heroes and name a day after them or place a statute of them somewhere, but the truth remains, no matter the accolades and attributes they receive from man, they remain unrepentant sinners. This is an inconceivable thought to the lost, for a man to sacrifice his very life for the sake of others is the highest calling of a man, he has given all he has and ever will have in the hopes of nothing more than the continuing survival and wellbeing of his fellow man, even the Scriptures are clear in this area. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
But even this greatest of sacrifice is as a filthy rag (Isaiah 64:6) in the eyes of the Lord, and will avail him absolutely nothing on his day of accounting. The depth of this sacrifice and the fact that it means absolutely nothing when it comes to where a man’s soul will spend eternity is the very root of why men will not serve the living God, it is the essence of rebellion, but what they do not realize is that by attempting to believe that this man who not only gave so much, but gave all, what they are trying to say is that the deed of this man was equal to what Christ did on the cross for all mankind. It says that our works are of value towards salvation, and no such work has ever existed.
It is sin the separates us from the love of God, only one payment was enough to remove that sin, and the only way to escape the wrath of God is through the acceptance of this fact, in faith, that One has died for all. (2 Cor. 5:15)
When Satan said, “I will” (Isaiah 14:14) I do not know if he completely understood what he had just started, the idea that our own works outside of Christ have any value, that works of a grand nature can attain unto a man eternal life. I do not know just how many times we need to be told. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) And yet this idea has persisted throughout the centuries, there is something that we can do as individuals that will be just as acceptable to the Lord God as what Christ did on that cross for all of us.
It could not be much clearer, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Some people are going to, as it is aptly put, run for their very lives as the ship begins to go under, a few of these may reach out a hand of help to others, but not at the expense of their own lives. Others will stay behind, with no care or concern for their own welfare, accepting the fact, and acting on that truth that others need to come first, that the lives of those around them are more important than their own. “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7)
But within this second classification there is another, one who loves not his life to the end, but not for his own sake, not even for the sake of those around him, but for the glory of God. If that man does not inform those he is assisting of the One he is dying for, if he does not open his mouth and give the glory to God, he will be seen as nothing more than a good man, and the Lord Jesus will receive nothing.
We are ambassadors of the Most High God, it does no good whatsoever for that ambassador to do even the greatest of deeds unless it is known by all who meet him the reason behind what he does, unless they know that it is not himself or others that he serves. He serves a Risen Savior, whether the ship is seaworthy or sinking, his life is not his own and it has not been for a very long time.