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A Portrait of Salvation
Bible study on salvation.

Acts 27 recounts events concerning Paul's voyage from Caesarea to Italy as a Roman prisoner. You will remember that all began well. But, the centurion's failure to heed Paul's advise concerning wintering in Fair Havens brought certain disaster.

The ship set sail from Fair Havens to Phoenix. Due to a horrendous storm, the ship was thrown off course and ran aground at Malta. Paul and all the crew were saved, but the ship was lost. As you read Acts 27:9- 44, notice the components of salvation for Paul and the crew.

First, Paul perceived that the voyage would end in disaster with loss of ship, cargo, and lives (vs. 10). But, Paul's perception was not because of divine inspiration - it was his gut feeling. Herein is revealed man's perception. There is no possibility of salvation without God. Eventually, hope of being saved had been given up by all men (vs. 20).

Second, Paul stands before the men and declares that no one would loose his life - an angel of God had spoken to him concerning salvation of the men. With this we see four components of salvation. (1) God was gracious toward the men, he saved them by grace, they could not earn salvation nor did God owe them salvation. (2) God had predestined (foreordained) salvation of the men. (3) God extended mercy in revealing his plan and by eventual salvation of the men. (4) God revealed his plan through a spokesman. The four component parts here are: grace, predestination, mercy, and revelation.

Third, the men had to believe and obey. During the events at sea, some of the men began to lower a skiff into the sea in order to escape doom - they tried to save themselves in opposition to God's plan (vs. 30). Then Paul warned the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved" (vs. 31). Here was God's plan: If everyone stayed in the ship, everyone would be saved. If anyone left the ship, everyone would not be saved. It was necessary for the men to believe and obey God in order to be saved.

One may say that God's salvation did not make any sense. One may question why God would not save some "innocent" men if other men got into a lifeboat and tried to save themselves. But it is not for us to reason why - it is for us to obey God! ". . . God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chose the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence" (1 Cor. 1:27-29).

Trust and Obey, an old hymn written from 1 Samuel 15:22 wherein King Saul had not obeyed God - he offered sacrifices instead of obeying God's command to kill all of the animals and people of Amalek. The chorus says: "Trust and obey, for there's no other way - to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

Now this is a portrait of salvation. Trust and obey. Then, leave the rest in the hands of the one, true, gracious, and merciful God of heaven.