February 19 I Wednesday
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
The opening verse of this devotion is more than just a greeting. Paul reminds the churches in Galatia—
in case they had forgotten—that the gospel starts with a rescue mission.
Watchman Nee tells a story that illustrates this principle in the gospel. There was a time when eight friends went swimming in a river. While they were swimming on the edge of the river, suddenly one of them started to have his body cramp up. The man was struggling to swim and could not make it to shore. The others who were with him started to shout at the lifeguard, “Save him! Rescue him! He is drowning. He is in distress. Go rescue him!” The lifeguard walked to the edge of the river and watched the man thrashing and trying to get out of the water. As the lifeguard watched, all the others were screaming, “Look, he is drowning! Get in there and rescue him.” But the lifeguard just stood there waiting. Eventually, this man ran out of strength, took a deep breath and went under the surface. Right when the man went underwater, the lifeguard dove in and within a couple of strokes, reached the man, grabbed him, dragged him up onto the shore and saved his life.
Now those who witnessed this were confused. They walked over to the lifeguard and asked, “Why did you wait until he was completely spent and underwater before you went to rescue him?” The lifeguard responded, “Had I gone in earlier, while he still had some strength and was in a panic, he would have grabbed onto me and taken me under with him. We would have both drowned.
I had to wait until his strength was gone before I could save him.”
If we revisit the opening verse of this devotion, what Paul is saying to the Galatians is, “Do you remember that you were powerless to save yourself and Jesus was sent on a mission to rescue you?” He lived a perfect sinless life and then went to the cross as a substitutionary atonement for our sins. Do we realize that we cannot save ourselves, that we are powerless and in need of a Saviour? Timothy Keller puts it this way: “Jesus did all we should have done, in our place, so when He becomes our Saviour, we are absolutely free from penalty or condemnation.” Jesus took away our unrighteousness and extended to us His righteousness.
We need to be reminded that the gospel was a rescue mission and we rest in the good, the grace, the peace and the love of God not because of what we do but because of what Jesus did.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for coming into this world to save me. I have peace with God because of Your finished work. Praise You!