Have you ever seen a movie when a character is caught in quicksand? The quicksand is unnoticeable. It looks like solid ground. But as soon as someone steps on it, they start to sink. Unless they grab onto a vine or someone tosses them a rope, they are pulled down until they drown. And they must not panic because struggling only makes them sink faster.
Quicksand is a real danger. Although it isn’t the deathtrap Hollywood makes it out to be, its portrayal in movies is a great analogy for our helplessness in sin. Sin seems harmless at first. It looks like solid ground. But once you step onto it, you start to sink. And you will continue to sink unless God saves you.
This is why He initiated the “plan of salvation.” On our own, we can never escape from sin. Struggling against it in our own power only makes us sink faster. It pulls us down further and eventually suffocates us, choking eternal life out of us. But God “tosses us a rope” in Jesus. He pulls us out of the quicksand-like grip of sin and death.
Born in Quicksand
It is easiest and safest to avoid quicksand altogether. Unfortunately, that isn’t an option when it comes to sin. The Bible says we are born into it. The world is a giant pit of quicksand, and all of us are stuck.
Paul explains, “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Adam and Eve sank into quicksand when they sinned. Because they were our first parents, everyone born after them sank with them too.
This proves itself true in the experience of every person. David confesses, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). It is so true that in Noah’s day, God saw that “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).
Stuck in Quicksand
Those who thrash and flail in quicksand sink even deeper. It is possible to escape, but only if you produce the same amount of force needed to lift a medium-sized car. However, it is impossible to escape from sin. Those who pursue personal happiness, sinful desires, or false religion only entrench themselves deeper in its grip.
The Bible says we are helpless in sin. Paul says Jesus died for us “when we were still powerless” (Romans 5:6). He reminds us “you used to be slaves to sin…you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity” (6:17, 19). Slaves cannot set themselves free; they must be ransomed. Neither can we pull ourselves out of the quicksand of sin.
Dead in Quicksand
But the situation is more helpless than this! The Bible says we are dead in sin. We are already in over our heads. In fact, sin has pulled us down so far that it has suffocated the spiritual life out of us. We have been dragged beneath its surface and drowned to spiritual death.
Paul declares, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). He repeats elsewhere, “You were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh” (Colossians 2:13). Unless God takes action on our behalf, we will remain dead in sin. Only He has the power to reach down and pull us out of the quicksand.
This is why God made the “plan of salvation.” First, He looked out over sinful humanity and decided whom to pull out of the quicksand. Then He sent Jesus to die on the cross so sin’s power over them might be broken.
Before moving on to the rest of His saving plan, it is critical to understand something. Christians commonly define God’s grace as kindness we don’t deserve. And this is true. Yet there is another aspect of His grace many don’t realize. He doesn’t just show us kindness; He does something for us that we cannot do for ourselves.
We do not ask God to pull us out of the quicksand. Indeed, we cannot. He simply does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
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