Unless you have been in a cave the last few days, or camping in an undisclosed location without the ability to access any media, you have probably heard of Francesco Schettino. He is, or was, the captain of the Italian luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia that struck rocks Friday near the Giglio off the coast of Tuscany. After striking the rocks, the cruise ship keeled over and the disaster killed at least 11 people with almost two dozen still missing.
According to an Italian newspaper, the captain said during his first court hearing, “I had no intention of escaping…I was helping some passengers put the life boat to sea. At a certain point the mechanism for lowering it, blocked. We had to force it. Suddenly the system unblocked itself and I tripped and I found myself inside the life boat with a number of passengers.”
If it was not such a tragedy, his explanation for escaping the sinking ship would be like a scene from a Three Stooges black and white comedy. While working to help other passengers, he accidentally tripped and saved himself. It may have happened that way, but it seems highly unlikely. Keep in mind that he has already admitted to lying about other parts of his story. So I have to ask, did he really accidentally save himself? I do not mean to trivialize what happened a few days ago in the Thyrrhenian Sea, but let me draw a spiritual parallel for a moment.
No one will ever be accidentally saved. You don’t trip and fall into salvation. You cannot walk randomly through life and fortuitously stumble into redemption. It just can not happen. In order to obtain the biblical form of salvation, a person must make a series of deliberate personal decisions. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost and told the listeners, among other things, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” In other words, it is up to the individual to choose to be saved. A person must choose to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. They must choose to learn and follow the teachings of Jesus. It can not happen haphazardly. Only by deliberate choices does a person become “saved” as we say in church lingo.
On the day of Pentecost, some people asked Peter what they needed to do and He replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, NIV). Salvation is a personal choice. Some will choose to obey the biblical plan of salvation while others will mock it and ridicule it. Some will cut corners arguing that there are some teachings in the Bible that are unnecessary and outdated. Either way, no one will be accidentally saved.
Written by James C. Marse. Copyright © 2012.