The Song Did Not Save Them
A horsehair bow gently graces the furrowed strings of a finely tuned violin. The frigid night air causes the man’s fingers to shiver as he fluidly places them on the familiar fretboard. His cold fingers sting has he presses them into the strings, following the ingrained pattern of the memorized song. The first notes begin to travel through the air. Nearer, My God, to Thee is the tune the maestro has chosen for this solemn affair.
Screams and cries of despair skip across the waves of the ocean. What was suppose to be a joyous occasion has ensued to become nothing more than a horrific reality. Men and women turn into brutes as they wrestle for life boats; any means of giving them hope for survival. Anything to escape the doomed fate of their vessel; anything to spare them from joining the watery grave in which their ship is destined. All the while this somber orchestra plays a tune; wails of anguish and melodies of beauty intwine to paint a picture of the final few seconds aboard the Titanic.
II Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (King James Version). The English Standard Version puts it this way, “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” The verse is without a doubt one of the most imperative in the entirety of the Bible. If the verse is true, then the Bible is the inspired, breathed word of God, and if the verse is false, then the Bible falls into mere normality. Either this cannon is the most important article on the face of the earth, or it is simply nothing more than interesting collection literature from antiquity.
The idea simply boils down to the belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. In an effort to streamline our discussion we will not explore the near innumerable viewpoints on the topic. Instead, our discussion is based on the foundation belief, in the Biblical worldview, that the Bible is without a doubt the inerrant, infallible word of God.
If one truly subscribes to the notion that the Bible, this cannon of sixty-six books, is the divinely inspired word of God, then one quickly comes to the realization that what it says is of the utmost importance. The Bible speaks of enteral life and the reality of a heaven and a hell. It propagates the notion that man was made in the image of God. We are taught that the first man and woman sinned, ensuing a downward spiral for both humanity and the world fashioned for him. The Bible proclaims miracles, curses, judgements, blessings, hope, mercy, and a myriad of other topics throughout its pages. Again, if the Bible is without a doubt the inerrant word of God, which I firmly believe it is, then we are forced to realize that its words are the most important in the world.
The 807,361 words that are scribbled on the pages of your Holy Bible are certainly important because they came from the mouth of God (keep in mind he did create light and galaxies with words) but more than that, they contain the key to unlocking eternal life. Jesus asked his disciples after the multitude had abandoned him, if they too were going to leave him. Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68, ESV). This is where each of us finds ourselves when we crack open the pages of our Bibles. Because it is the perfect word of God, it is the only source that contains the words of eternal life.
The Bible notes a dichotomy of eternal destiny. When the rhythmic repetition of the heart's thump halts, and eternal door swings open, one will discover a horrifying juxtaposition: Heaven or Hell. Heaven is declared as the paradise where God dwells; hell being an eternal doom of unimaginable horror. The Bible tells us that these are the only two eternal destinies for every single human being on the planet, and at the end of the day, everyone has a date with one.
"The hour of death is to the Christian the birthday of endless life," said John Ross Macduff. The quote is a beautiful reminder that death is just another beginning. We see throughout the pages of the New Testament an assurance that Jesus died as the mediator of our sins, giving us the opportunity to receive forgiveness and walk into his marvelous light. Through the death, burial, and resurrection we have been given the privilege of receiving a gift that contains a value incalculable to imagine. That through Jesus' sacrifice we can wake up on the other side of death into a beautiful reality. Remember, though, Macduff's quote works two ways. Death is certainly the eternal birthday of the Christian, but it is also the eternal birthday of the sinner. Just as strong as our assurance is of heaven, is the assurance of an eternal palpable nightmare. If the Bible is right, then hell is real.
On the night of the Titanic, a few men picked up their instruments and began playing a tune despite the horrors going on around them. They heard the screams and watched the anguish; they responded to a nightmare come to life, to screams of sorrow, with nothing but a sweet-sounding melody. The polarity of the moment ensued polar opposites, colder than the magnetic iceberg that provoked this nightmare. They didn’t rush to help the woman trying to lower her only child into a lifeboat, or to the man that was franticly searching for his wife, all the while fearing the worst. Their response to the face of horror was to reach for an instrument, instead of the frantic hands of those around them. In this nightmare come to life, these men were caught up playing their own song.
My purpose here is not some smear campaign against the good men playing music aboard the Titanic that night. I’m well aware of the stories that in their bravery they sat looking death in the face all in an effort to give some final peace to those dying around them. My purpose here is simple: if we are not careful, we run the risk of playing our own tune right into eternity. There is a world around you today that is dying. They are celebrating their sin and flaunting their wickedness, willingly marching themselves right up to hell’s gates. And all the while we sit, watching. So caught up in the melody of our lives that we can’t hear the cries for help. We have the answer to their pleas, but we sit repurposing what has been placed in our hands for ourselves. The night of the Titanic these men sat using their hands to make music when they could have been using their hands to make a difference. Today, we sit using our hands to propagate our wills, our desires, and our goals; all the while they could be put use saving someone else.
I ask, please put down your instrument today and reach for someone’s hand. Your decision could make an eternal difference.