Romans 5:6  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
As yet there were but few people astir on the beach, in the fresh, cool morning hours. Had there been any watchers, they might have seen a strong swimmer strike out boldly to sea. Every stroke told, and put the shore at a greater distance.
Being in the very prime of manhood, he never thought of danger; as on he swam, till at last, a little wearied, he rested a moment, and thought of returning. Then he found he had been carried out far beyond his intentions. He struck out for land, but now found the current against him, and his utmost efforts made little headway. Still he struggled on till, utterly exhausted, he turned on his back and gave himself up for lost.
He had been religiously brought up; yes, more, he had been the preacher of a large congregation. He had lived a careful life and till this moment had been on good terms with himself. Now with death before him, his soul awoke to find he had no hope of eternity; he was not ready to die! One thing was lacking. He had no link with Christ!
Horror seized him. The waves seemed to be roaring into his ears again and again, “When I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
He felt he had preached a Christ he had never known, had told others of a salvation he had not himself! His life with its outward ceremonies he now loathed as mockery. Now he saw them at their true value — “dead works” (Hebrews 9:14); he realized that the work required to save his soul must be done for him, and done by another.
It was not concerning his body, but his soul, that he cried there on the mighty deep — there alone with God, on the waves — a great cry, “Lord save me, or I perish!” — a vile sinner. As he cried, the answer came — “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
He then murmured, “Lord, I believe that precious blood was shed for me.” Life and peace came to his soul — then unconsciousness.
“Father! Father! Look ahead! What is that on the water? Surely, it’s a man,” cried the son of the skipper of a fishing boat. The father looked and sprang to the oar, calling out, “Row for very life!” The men rowed, putting forth all their energies. The skipper saw the body sink once, rise again nearer to the boat and sink a second time. It just might rise close to them if they made a desperate effort. “Bend to your oars, for one last pull.” And it did rise within reach. Strong arms then brought the apparently lifeless body into the boat. Quickly they took every means in their power to restore animation. Willing hands carried him ashore, a living, breathing man and not a corpse — living in two ways: possessing now not merely natural life, but eternal life. (John 6:47, 1 John 5:13).
A week later, in that same fishing boat, he reviewed what the Lord had done for his soul, when death and judgment had threatened him. He spoke to his rescuers of Jesus the Saviour; of the impossibility of our doing anything to save ourselves — that that work must all be done by Him, or we must be forever lost. He read to them from God’s Word: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  ...  not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:4-5,9)
“When you saw me in the water that morning, could I help myself? I did not help you to save me; you did all the work, and I got all the good.
“HE DID ALL THE WORK, AND WE GET ALL THE GOOD. Now, my friends, do you not see how it is with the Lord? He, the sinless One, suffered in our stead. He took our place, and offers us His place.
“Do you think, however long I live, I shall ever cease to carry about with me the feelings of gratitude and love for the men who did so much for me? And this is how it is with us to the Lord. When I know He has saved me at such a cost, I cannot go on just as I did, as though it were all nothing. I want my life to show out my gratitude and love and praise!”
More than one of those fishermen turned to the Lord.
Reader, what must you do to be saved, beyond believing on the Lord Jesus Christ?
Nothing, either great or small—
Nothing, sinner, no:
Jesus did it — did it all,
Long, long ago,”
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6)