Understanding the Truth of “Love Lifted Me”

Ephesians 2:4–9 (AV)

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Have you ever sung this song?

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I

This is the first stanza of the great hymn of the faith “Love Lifted Me” written by James Rowe.

Here is my thought for you from this stanza and Ephesians 2. According to Paul, I would not even know I was drowning in the sea “sinking to rise no more” if God had not alerted me to the trouble.

For before Christ I was dead. That’s right dead. And dead people don’t know they are drowning. The very reason I sensed that I was drowning was the movement of the Spirit of God.

The fact is that the very “despairing cry” could not and would not have happened apart from the grace of God—by grace ye are saved. Not by grace of God plus anything else. Salvation is all grace. No works. No cries. No prayers. It is all grace—the grace of God. Notice Paul says “But God.” Those are the two greatest words every assembled in the Word of God. I believe because I have been “quickened together with Christ.” If I had not been quickened, I would not have believed. If it were not for God, I would not believe. If it were not for God, Noah would have drowned to death. If it were not for God, Sarah would not have gotten pregnant with Isaac and Abraham would not have a legitimate descendent for God to bless. If it were not for God, Saul of Tarsus would have spent his whole life dedicated to killing Christians.

“But the Master of the sea” is exactly right. The Master did not wait to hear my despairing cry. He was working long before I cried “help.” He was working in me when I didn’t realize He was working in me. He was working in me “even when I was dead in sins.” He was demonstrating the “exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward me” when I was drowning and didn’t know I was drowning. This is why the hymnist can truly write and we can sing “love lifted me.”

And this is precisely why I should and must love God with all my heart, mind, soul and every fiber of my very being. This is precisely why I must treasure Christ above all else and sing of His great love for me for all eternity.

Knowing this, now look at stanza two with me:

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling
In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing
Love so mighty and so true, merits my souls best songs
Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs

Stanza three is a call to believe, look at it with me.

Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves
He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today

If you recognize your soul is in danger, it is because the Father is drawing you to His Son. If you recognize your soul is in danger, “look above.” “Look above” is a wonderful way of saying repent. If you recognize your soul is in danger, turn to the Master of the sea and put your faith in what God did for you in Christ Jesus while you were dead and drowning in a sea of sin and be rescued today!

If you have already been rescued, make stanza two your life’s ambition.

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