All alone in the middle of a raging storm in the ocean, Jonah is at the edge of his life. No longer able to come up for air, he is tired from the struggle. His heart is filled with panic and his lungs are filling up with water. Seaweed wrapped around his head. Jonah is about to drown and for all intent and purposes, Jonah is dead. There was nothing Jonah could do to save himself. All he could do was to beg for help. He was at the mercy of God.
And then came along a huge fish! As if drowning wasn't bad enough, now he was also going to be eaten. If there was any doubt as to where salvation comes from, then Jonah wants to set the record straight and in no uncertain terms "salvation comes from the LORD". This huge fish which would have been the sure death of any man was indeed the merciful provision of God for Jonah's salvation. Could you imagine a more dramatic picture for new life and a second chance?
Jonah was saved from this situation but more importantly Jonah was saved from his sins. It was Jonah's sin that got him here in the first place. If you break the law, you will suffer the consequences for it. If you sin against God, you will suffer the consequences for it. Just because you suffer, it does not mean you are the victim, it could very well be that you are the villain. Jonah was the villain. Nevertheless, God is his saviour.
God saves, because of his mercy not because of our merits. The crucifixion was a horrifying death for all that hung there. And yet, this painful death for Jesus was the merciful provision of God for the salvation of the world. Jesus was not suffering as a consequence of his sin, but as the consequence of the world's sin. The victim died to save the villain. So, that for you and me, we can be saved from our sins by accepting Jesus's sacrifice on our behalf.
If you have been saved from your sin, then don't continue to sin. Rather, listen to your saviour, walk in the ways of righteousness. Doing what is right will more often than not be different to doing what is comfortable, convenient, and culturally acceptable. Know that it will be hard to keep doing what is right but do not grow weary, because you are not going through it alone.
1 Peter 3:17-18 For it is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.