“A Fine Ship, It Only Sank Once” is an article from Dr. Gordon H. Clark’s papers. Both the original scan and a transcribed document are here made available. If you notice any typos on the typed document please email the administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Items from the unpublished papers of Dr. Gordon H. Clark should not be considered his definitive statement on the particular topic addressed. These papers are being provided for educational value. For Dr. Clark’s official positions consult his published writings.**
Notes: From the papers of Dr. Gordon H. Clark. From “The Home Evangel”, date unknown.
When men and women are asked to put their trust in Christ and His shed blood, they often say or think that after all they are not so bad. In fact they believe that they are essentially good and perhaps above the average. Of course they have no complaint against Christ — He was truly remarkable; but they hope to get to Heaven because, after all, they have lived pretty decent lives.
Most people, they believe, live fairly good lives. Even the hardened criminal does not commit murder every day; he kills a gangster friend only on Saturday nights! And most of us do very little wrong at all. If you ask the person who argues in this manner whether or not he attends church, he will reply that one can lead a good life without attending church regularly. If you ask him whether or not he reads the Bible, he will reply that the Bible is undoubtedly good literature but it is not to be taken as God’s infallible command to men.
There is, however, one command in the Bible which the non-christian, if he is serious, will admit is God’s command to men. It is, “THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND.” Obviously, if there is a God at all, He could require no less then this. Now let each person ask himself whether he obeys this commandment all the time, or even any of the time.
But perhaps the man who trusts his own goodness to get him to Heaven will say that disobedience to this commandment, like his other mistakes and shortcomings, is not a serious matter. After all, he does many more good deeds than evil deeds.
Suppose such a man felt the need of a vacation and decided on a sea voyage. The ship was comfortable, the weather clear, and the sailing fine. For ten days the cruise was perfect. But on the eleventh day, the poor welding loosened, the seams opened, and the ship sank. And as the man gurgled his last, the waves heard him say, “WHAT A FINE SHIP; IT WAS ESSENTIALLY GOOD; IT SAILED PERFECTLY FOR TEN DAYS; IT ONLY SANK ONCE.”
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.
He that offendeth in one point is guilty of all. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from ALL sin. Let us trust Him as Saviour and out of loving gratitude to Him, obey His commands.