For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
“Earn this,” Captain Miller says to Private Ryan as Captain Miller lays mortally wounded.
When I was younger, my dad liked watching documentaries. I didn’t think they were all that interesting but the older I’ve gotten, the more I find myself doing some things my dad did. Yes, I like watching documentaries now. So, one evening I was on the Discovery Channel browsing documentaries and I saw one about the first two days of D-Day.
That led me to think about the movie, Saving Private Ryan. Which led me to think about the line toward the end of the movie when Tom Hanks character, Captain Miller, is mortally wounded after a mission to find Private Ryan. Captain Miller was a Ranger and he led some other Rangers to find Ryan because Ryan’s three brothers were killed in the war and he was the only child his parents had left.
It took Captain Miller and his merry band a while to find Ryan. They had some combat along the way in which two members of the merry band were killed before they found Ryan. When they finally find him, they get caught up in a battle, which is when Captain Miller is mortally wounded, sitting with his back resting against the remnants of a brick wall. Private Ryan is standing and looking at Captain Miller when Miller says, “Earn this.” Meaning they gave me a mission to find you and fought my way to you. Now, I’m mortally wounded and two guys in my unit were killed trying to find you, so you better make our sacrifice worth it.
Then the scene shifts to an old man staring at Captain Miller’s tombstone with his family in the background. He tears up and asks his family if he’s been a good man and led a good life. They all assure him he is and has. He wants to know if he’s ‘earned it’.
Then I think about Jesus’ mission in this spiritual war we’re in. His entire purpose was to die for us. That was His mission in Saving Humanity and when He died, He didn’t say ‘earn this’, He said, “Accept this.”
There’s no way we can earn our salvation, no way we can be good enough. Surrender all our struggling and battling to earn it ourselves because it all falls short. Just accept it.
I liked Saving Private Ryan. I think it’s a good movie. It is good to live a good life and do good things but just know that none of that earns your salvation. Only Jesus’ sacrifice saves us and we must simply accept it and surrender to Him.
The only way to victory is to surrender to Jesus.