The Bible declares that sinners are helpless and lost ... not in need of help, but of rescue. While all other religions teach what a man must do to help himself attain salvation, Christianity declares that man is in willful rebellion, enslaved to sin and is morally hostile to God. He is unwilling to respond to commands ... and pridefully refuses all help. To deliver us from such captivity, therefore, we need a Savior, not someone to help us save ourselves. So a Christian is not first someone who follows Jesus' life and example. That is an impossible standard for the natural man. No we need Someone who will disarm our natural hostility and deliver us from ourselves that we might be humble enough to look to Another ... to Christ alone.
Ephesians 2 (esp.v.5). Galatians 1-3. Romans 1-3. Titus 3:3-5; 2 Timothy 4:18; 1 Cor. 1 & 2; John 6:63
To the above unconscious drowning man analogy, I often get questions like this:
"Why would someone choose to rescue one person, then let another sink to the bottom? How would we choose who we would rescue and who we would let drown? This is one point that I cannot understand .. how does God choose ? The KJV Bible even uses "whosoever" 183 times throughout the text.
The word "whosoever" is right. We do not differ from you here. We affirm that WHOSOEVER believes will be saved. But, herein lies the difficulty. if you read these texts in context of the Bible you will discover another truth that runs right along side this...that there is no one naturally willing to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel. (See John 3:19, 20) No one. Apart from the effectual work of the Holy Spirit no one would ever believe (John 6:63-65). The Text declares that "there is no one who seeks God" (Rom 3:11).
You asked: "Why would someone choose to rescue one person, then let another sink to the bottom?"
First of all, your question appears to make the unbiblical assumption that human beings deserve any opportunity at all. So the question is flawed from the outset. The Bible teaches, rather, that we are all ill-deserving sinners awaiting a just death sentence. We have been condemned to death, such that it would be completely just of God if he did not save a single soul and left us all to our own devices. If he were obligated to save people, then it would no longer be mercy since mercy is defined as "not giving us what we justly deserve." If you are a Christian you believe this. So if you acknowledge that God would be perfectly just if he saved no one, how is it, all of the sudden, you declare that He is UNJUST if he decided to save some ill-deserving people out of the mass of ill-deserving people? You cannot have it one way and not the other. This simple inconsistency in your thinking exposes a real problem understanding of the Bible.
If we take the original analogy a step further it might being more clarity on the subject. Imagine that same "unconscious, drowning man" as someone on a ship who had committed treason and was blindfolded, bound and gagged and walking the plank of a great ship. He was sentenced to death for his treason so he justly deserves what he is getting. Well ... a rock is then tied to him and he is pushed into the water. Many others had gone before him the same way, but this time, as he was being pushed in by the executer, the captian realized it was his own son being executed, so the captian jumped in after him, swam down unbound him and helped set him free, giving his own life in the process... the father literally taking the place of the criminal. You might see it as something like a presidential pardon. All prisoners deserve their sentence but the President has the power to free someone, if he so desires. He is not being unjust by not freeing everyone. They justly deserve what they are getting.
With this in mind, does not God have the right to do with his resources what he wants and adopt into his family whomever he desires for his sovereign good purposes? (Matt 20:13-15; Romans 9:21) No one has been wronged. If one person or group receives the grace of God and another group does not, is there any violation of justice in this? If God passes over some, do they receive anything they do not deserve? Fact is, one group receives mercy and the other group receives justice, and no group receives injustice. This removes all merit from me and puts the attention back on the sovereign and merciful God.
Fact is, the Bible teaches everywhere that we are not God's children by nature, but by grace. I would encourage you to take some time to read John 8. To the unbelieving in that passage Jesus said, "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires." To them he says, "The reason why you do not hear them [God's words] is that you are not of God." Jesus appears to have no plan to save those who are the Devil's children. The only persons who hear Christ's words are those who are OF GOD, His sheep .. those he has "given the son." John chapter 10 (the parable of the Shepherd and the sheep) you will find the same concept.
If you are truly interested in investigating this topic Biblically I would encourage you to read the following:
"Does the Doctrine of Unconditional Election Make God a "Respecter of Persons"?"
Note: You would be mistaken if you think I meant by this we can be saved by recognizing that Jesus is our Savior, but not as our Lord. On the contrary, grace precedes both confessions. To be saved, one must confess Jesus as Lord & Savior, but you cannot BELIEVE in him as Lord or Savior unless he first rescues us from our bondage to sin. "...no one can say "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3) So grace is not a reward for confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior, it is the cause of it. In his great mercy, before we confess Jesus as Savior and Lord, Jesus works a mighy grace in us that we might recognize him as such. As J.I. Packer once said, "Sinners cannot obey the gospel, any more than the law, without renewal of heart.". So submitting to Jesus' Lordship at the time of salvation is not in order to receive God's favo,r but because you are already favored.