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  • Writer's pictureTim Anderson

Don’t Drown

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9


What does it mean to be saved by grace? What does it even mean to be saved? What is grace? What is faith? What are works?


Let’s start with the easiest of these. Works are the things we do that rely on our efforts. Our works are our actions, our thoughts in motion, executed with a conscious belief or even a subconscious belief that what we do will “save” us. Our works are our attempts to tip the scales in our favor, to make us more appealing to God. Works are based on us but they are a vein attempt to win God’s love and affection.


Grace is God’s undeserved favor, or His undeserved love and affection. Grace is not something we earn through works, it is something we are given through Love. We don’t earn grace, we receive grace.


How are we “Saved by Grace?” Well, if you believe in Life everlasting, If you believe in a life with God after this life and a life without God after this life, then saved by grace would mean that we have been saved from enduring an eternity without God. After this life, an eternity without God would be hell. Don’t miss that. The absence of God is

hell.


Anyway, God is our loving Father. Before time began, He had a plan for us. He planned on putting Himself in the body of a man named Jesus to save us all from a life without Him. In other words, Love always knew what He would do, and what we could not do. If you really think about this plan, it would also seem that God was trying to spare Himself an eternity without us. That’s a crazy love right there.


But anyway, through God’s plan and His own efforts, He birthed a Son who would take on and conquer all the evil in the world, from it’s beginning and it’s end. He birthed a Son who would take on our evil, our misses, our shortcomings, our failures, our hatred, our darkness. We could not remove this darkness from ourselves no matter how hard we might try, we would always slip, stumble, and fall short. But God’s first Son, Jesus, was perfect - He had the perfect Life and Love of God in Hisself. And He laid that Life down for us, He absorbed our darkness so that we could be filled with His Light.


I don’t fully understand this Crazy Love, by the way, I’m still learning to receive it and know it. Anyway, I said Jesus was God’s first Son. When Jesus rose from the dead, He was said to be the first born of a new creation, or the first born among many brothers and sisters. God’s plan, the plan before time was that WE too, would be the Sons and Daughters of God, like Jesus, The Christ.


We were always The Plan.


And The Plan is not executed by what we do, it is executed by what God does. The rub is that we cannot execute the plan. We can only receive it and believe it. To receive the plan is the rub. To receive the crazy notion that God, The Father, put Himself in a man named Jesus, to save us, to birth us, into Oneness with Himself. Then to believe God did this crazy thing. To trust that Jesus was the Son of God, God in a man, who came here to rescue us from eternity without God because we could not rescue ourselves. God did not want Eternity without us, but he didn’t want to force us. He wanted us to choose Him.


And He wanted us to choose Him based on His unfathomable love for us. He chose to be the Hero in our story in hopes that we would chose to get to know Him and love Him back. It’s upside-down beautiful, really.


It’s almost hard to imagine until I think of how much I love my own children. Then I get it. Whatever it takes to protect them, to win them, share life with them. No sacrifice is too big, no plan is too crazy.


In trying to get a glimpse of what salvation, grace, and works might look like, the idea of drowning came to mind.


There may be no greater fear or experience than drowning alive. If you cannot swim, being thrown into a body of water is a horrific end to a life as it is swallowed up by fear. No matter how hard you fling your lips, no matter how loud you scream, you will sink, and you will die. Your frantic, energetic, efforts born out of panic will not save you. They are works.


The only thing that can save a drowning person is to be rescued from drowning; A hand reaching out to pull you up out of the water and away from certain doom and death. That hand is grace. It is a gift.


BUT, in truth, a drowning person will likely still drown if they cannot stop their works or attempts to not drown. Many a rescuer has been killed trying to save a drowning person as the drowning person’s fear is so great it replaces all logical thought and they try to climb the rescuer as if he were a mountain sticking out of the ocean. When this happens, they both drown.


This is where faith and receiving comes in. To not drown, to be saved, the drowning person has to be still, to let go of their fear and stop trying to swim, they have to let go and trust the hand to pull them out of the water. They have to have faith (trust) in the Rescuer and receive His hand.


In a sense, we were all drowning. But Jesus was God’s plan before the creation of the universe because WE were His plan before the creation of the universe. For God so loved us, that He created the World to birth us, then He sent His Son into the World to save us so we could be birthed to Him and share eternity with Him.


All we had to do was receive His hand. Once we received it, we were brand new, we were swimmers and we could no longer drown.


Sadly, many of us swimmers have forgotten we can’t drown. So we fall back into works, back into flailing around and thrashing frantically trying not to drown when all we have to do is realize Whose we are, what He has done, and what we cannot do. All we have to do is be still and Trust our Father’s crazy Love. Children of God cannot drown.


We were always The Plan. There was never anything for us to do except trust Him and let Him Love us. His Love would do the rest.





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