“And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea under color as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, ‘Except these abide in the ship, you cannot be saved’.”
The temptation’s always there, but the danger of doing so is much greater than that of remaining on-board.
It’s amazing how we act under stress. Someone once said, “When you’re under stress, you tend to regress” and the saying is true. One may wax eloquently, spouting Scriptures right and left while standing on the mountaintop, but soon be running for cover and acting like a despairing, salty-tongued sailor when the waves are threatening to swamp the boat.
Evidently Paul’s ship had one lifeboat on it, based upon what we read in today’s Manna. The “shipmen” mentioned were evidently part of the crew; yet, instead of looking after the safety of their passengers, they were trying to sneak away on the lifeboat in an “It’s every man for himself,” Survivor-Series cowardice act.
Thankfully, Paul or one of the other 276 passengers saw their treacherous intentions and sounded the alarm. The aged Apostle used the incident as an opportunity to remind them of God’s Message to him via the angel (vv.22-25). He’d already told them no one would lose their life (v.22), even though the ship and its cargo would be lost (v.22c). And, sure enough, that’s exactly what happened (vv.38-44).
Even today Paul’s words “Except you remain in the boat, you can’t be saved” ring true. In this day-and-age of compromised convictions. . .watered-down preaching and teaching. . . accommodation and an adopting of “One belief’s as good as another” and “We’re all worshipping the same God”. . .we must faithfully proclaim “There’s only one Ark (Jesus) and only those who are in Him will be saved” (Jn. 14:6).
Oh, dear Pilgrim, if “it pleased God by the foolishness of the preaching of the Cross to save them that believe” (I Cor. 1:21b), who are we to never mention “sin, the need for righteousness and repentance and Judgment to come” (Jn. 16:8-11)? If there’s truly only “one Way to Heaven” (Jn. 14:6), who are we to join arms with everyone—regardless of what they believe—like children around a campfire, singing “Kumbaya, my Lord,” when only those who trust in Jesus and His Blood can be saved (I Cor. 1:17-2:5)?
How we should warn others of the consequences of rejecting Christ, His Sacrifice and Salvation (Heb. 2:1-3; Heb. 6:7-19)—for “there is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)! He is our Ark of Salvation and only those who are “in Him” will escape the coming Judgment.
Likewise, we should warn those who are being tempted “to fall away”—i.e., “abandon ship” (their faith)—for the end thereof is “rejection, cursing and burning” (Heb. 6:4-8). Only those who “stay in the Ship will be saved.” So, let us woo and warn all we meet while there’s still time, lest they perish without hope in the gathering Storm.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 15, 2009