A sad tragedy occurred on Friday evening, January 13th. An Italian luxury cruise ship, Costa Concordia, capsized when it struck rocks off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. Almost a dozen are confirmed dead, and about two dozen still remain missing. The captain of the grounded cruise ship, Francesco Schettino, has been jailed for investigation of manslaughter, abandoning ship, and causing a shipwreck.
This recent event reminds me of a shipwreck story found in the Bible. The apostle Paul was shipwrecked on three different occasions (2 Corinthians 11:25). The story of one of the shipwrecks Paul endured is told in vivid detail by Luke in Acts 27-28.
This particular disaster happened as Paul was making his way to Rome as a prisoner who had appealed to Caesar (Acts 25:1-12). A terrible and relentless storm at sea caused Luke to write “all hope that we would be saved was finally given up” (Acts 27:20). However, Paul soon announced to all on board than an angel of God revealed to him that the ship would run aground on a certain island (Malta), but that there would be no loss of life (Acts 27:21-26).
As the ship began to draw closer to land the sailors on board sought to secretly escape on a small boat. Paul somehow discovered this plot and informed the centurion and soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved” (Acts 27:31). Although God had promised Paul that all on board the ship would be spared, there was a condition that must be met. All must remain together on the ship in order to be saved. Thankfully those in charge heeded Paul’s warning, and all 276 persons on the ship escaped safely to land (Acts 27:37, 44).
Sadly when it comes to man’s salvation from sin, many today refuse to accept that there are conditions that must be met in order to receive God’s salvation (Luke 6:46).
Jesus made it clear that belief in Him is a requirement for salvation (John 3:16; 8:24). He warned that men must repent or they would perish (Luke 13:3, 5). The Lord taught the necessity of confessing His name before men (Matt. 10:32). Christ also said quite plainly that, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Jesus declared: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
Dear friend, have you met these divine conditions of salvation? Don’t attempt to save yourself by some humanly-devised plan. All such futile attempts will only lead to heartache and destruction (Rom. 10:1-3; 2 Thess. 1:7-10). Unless we heed the instructions of Jesus we cannot be saved (Heb. 5:9). Please don’t shipwreck your soul for all eternity (Matt. 7:21-23)!