A few weeks ago I heard a story about a Navy Search and Rescue swimmer who went to the aid of a downed aviator. The aviator began to flail and flounder making the situation dangerous for both himself and his would-be rescuer. The rescue swimmer responded by diving down deeper into the water to get away and to wait for the aviator to give up struggling. In other words, he withdrew from the scene until the aviator exhausted himself.
This is exactly how it is with us and Jesus. We are saved by trusting in him, and we must do nothing to help. Trying to help only makes things worse and leaves us exhausted. And yet, we try. Ever since Adam took up sewing to hide his sin, it has been the nature of the flesh to take control and try and fix things. I can save myself from drowning. This is why we should thank God for the magnificent law which reveals the hopelessness of our situation. But you’re in the middle of the ocean! You can’t swim that far. And then thank him even more for good news of his grace that saves us. Jesus the Savior is here. Stop struggling and submit to his righteousness.
The Gospel in Ten Words, KingsPress, 2012, 93.