Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Matthew Henry states, �Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not the mere product of any natural abilities, nor of any merit of our own: Not of works, lest any man should boast, v. 9. These things are not brought to pass by anything done by us, and therefore all boasting is excluded; he who glories must not glory in himself, but in the Lord. There is no room for any man�s boasting of his own abilities and power; or as though he had done anything that might deserve such immense favors from God.
Helicopter pilot Iain McConnell, along with the rest of his air station crew, was summoned at 4 a.m. on the morning of August 30, 2005, to the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama. The Center soon became one of the first bases of operations for Hurricane Katrina relief. McConnell and his crew were told to keep five H-60 helicopters airborne on missions at all times, around the clock.
The first airborne relief teams arrived in the affected areas before any news crews, and were completely unprepared for the devastation they saw. A train track running parallel to the ocean had been pushed inland 15 feet off its gravel bed. A houseboat was floating down U.S. Highway 90. The entire city of New Orleans stood under water.
McConnell's crew got right to work, airlifting stranded people from their rooftops and out of windows, and delivering them to the Superdome helipad. To their chagrin, however, they were only able to help a relatively few amount of survivors. In an interview, McConnell shared why:
On our first three missions, we saved the lives of 89 people, three dogs, and a cat. On the fourth mission, to our great frustration, we saved no one�but not for lack of trying. The dozens we attempted to rescue refused pickup!
Some people told us to simply bring them food and water. "You are trying to live in unhealthy conditions, and the water will stay high for a long time," we warned them. Still, they refused. I felt frustrated and angry, since we had used up precious time and fuel, and had put ourselves at risk during each rescue attempt. I felt like they were ungrateful. But, in truth, they did not know how desperate their situation was.
The Coast Guard was offing a free gift of rescue from the horrible conditions they were left in, yet they did not want to receive the gift of being saved. The same is often true of those who have an opportunity to receive God�s gift of salvation. They just don�t quite see the horrible condition they are living in so they refuse to accept what God offers, a chance for a more peaceful life with eternal salvation.
I remember talking to a homeless man once about God�s free gift of salvation. The sad part was you could tell he grasped the meaning of not accepting God�s grace. Tears welled up and was even shaking as he said, �I have just done too many bad things to accept God�s gift.� He couldn�t realize it was God�s mercy reaching out to him, trying to help him, and offer him an abundant life.