The Second Angel
There once was a man who was so terrified of drowning that he wouldn’t go near a collection of water larger than he could drink. Two angelic beings came along and offered their services as his guardian angel - to protect him from drowning and other harm. He was to choose between the two angels, so they each laid out their plans of protection. The first angel said to the man, “I shall follow you around all the days of your life. If ever you fall into water or begin to drown amidst some other trouble, I shall come and pull you away to safety. You can always rely upon me!” The second angel simply picked the man up and threw him into a nearby pond.
The man gasped and flailed around. Fear gripped him and he began to sink into the murky waters. The first angel flew out and plucked the man from the middle of the pond. He brought him back to the safety of the shore, comforted him, and gave him dry clothing to put on. The man screamed at the second angel, “What’d you do that for? Aren’t you even going to tell me your plan of protection?” With that, the second angel again threw the man into the middle of the pond, and again the man gasped and flailed about, but this time, before the first angel could react, the second angel called to the man, “Stand up! Put your feet down and stand up!”
At this point the first angel sprang into action and flew out over the pond, but by the time he got to the man, he was already standing up and was dripping with both fury and pond water. Again the first angel plucked the man from his troubles, comforted him, and cleaned him up. The man said to him, “You’re really making this an easy choice. I have yet to even hear the second angel’s plan of protection, but I can’t see how it could possibly beat yours. I think I’ve made my decision. Where is that second angel?”
As suddenly as the question was asked, the second angel appeared and said, “Before today, you’ve never even been near a body of water larger than that which you could drink. Twice today you’ve been plucked from the midst of yonder pond, but only once were you saved from it. You were saved from it so that you would be freed from your fear of it. In being free from your fear of it, you will then be free to learn - learn how to master it rather than having it master you. Once you master the water you are no longer limited to the land. The Earth is three-fifths water, and you can have access to it all. Face your fear and follow me, or cling fearfully to dry land and follow yonder first angel. The choice is yours.”
Jesus is no false Savior like the first angel above. He is a real and eternal Savior. He, like the second angel, desires to save us in order to free us and empower through the energizing gift of His grace to follow God’s very first command to mankind, to “be fruitful and multiply;” to “fill the earth and subdue it;” (Genesis 1:28). We can’t very well do this if we are drowning, now can we? He saved us to change us. He changes us to empower us. He empowers us so that we can be obedient to Him. He did not save us so that we may remain as we are - so that He’d have to save us again, and again, and again.
Only an angel of darkness would do that! Only an angel of darkness would want to save us to enslave us - to keep us locked up in darkness and fear - so that he’d have to save us again, and again, and again! Step back. Look at the big picture being painted here. “See”, if you have eyes, that there is more to the canvas of God’s universe than darkened shadows and subdued tones. Open you eyes to what God is. He is freedom!
He is not freedom to sin, but freedom from sin. He is not freedom from fear, but freedom to face it. He is not freedom to do what we want to do, but freedom to do what we were designed to do! He “brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree to flourish.” (Ezekiel 17:24) He brought us down to exalt us. He dried us up to make us flourish, for it is only when we come to the end of ourselves that we find God sent us a Savior - a Savior like that found in the second angel, and just like that Savior, our potential power is realized only after we have come to the end of ourselves. He died, and in doing so His power to save was released. He saved us to change us, but He can and will only do this if we choose to submit to Him - to “allow” Him to change us.
What kind of Savior is Jesus Christ to you? His power has been unleashed. He died to Himself and gave Himself completely to His Father in heaven. He died to Himself and released His power for mankind to tap into. He set the example. He led the way. He is the Way. He can save you only as much as you are willing to follow Him. The first angel, Satan, will come bail you out of your troubles every time you flounder - he is in that can of beer, he is at the bottom of that bottle of wine, he is there in that sensual touch, he comforts you with luxury, he satisfies your discriminating taste with the cream of the crop, he indulges your every desire because you deserve it, and he props you up with power (until someone more powerful comes along). Though Satan came to Earth first and has the power to save, it is merely earthly and temporal. It is not real salvation. It is not permanent. It is not eternal.
Have you been brought down? Have you been dried up? Are you ready to be exalted? Are you ready to flourish? Are you ready to choose your guardian angel? What kind of Savior do you want? Are you ready to be saved - permanently - eternally? Are you ready to die to yourself so that you can really live? The Power is there. It’s always been there. Though It was “ceremoniously” released some two thousand years ago, It’s always been there. You just have to choose - choose to reach out to It, take hold of It, and never, ever let It go. Are you ready? Jesus Is, and He always has been, but He won’t force His hand. He’ll wait… patiently wait… for you - for you to decide what kind of Savior you want. The choice is yours.