No analogy is perfect. The one I used in Sunday's message went something like this: Would you rather ride a bicycle in the wrong direction or ride in a sports car headed in the right direction? Of course, who wouldn't take the sports car?
I was trying to make a point about the Apostle Paul. He spent the first part of his life trying to earn his way into heaven. He did that by keeping the Law of Moses and observing the traditions of his elders. And he was good at it. He set the example. If salvation could be found on that path, then Paul had every reason to believe he would reach his destination.
But his confidence fell apart the day he met Jesus and learned that all his life he'd been working hard to travel in the wrong direction. His only hope was to get off the bicycle of works and let Jesus strap him into the passenger seat of the sports car of grace. Only Jesus could take him where he wanted to go, and Jesus was more than willing. On his own, Paul would never have gotten there.
But here's the problem with that analogy. Couldn't Paul have just turned his bike around and pedaled in the right direction? Sure, the car would get him there sooner, but if he followed the trail Jesus blazed, wouldn't he get there sooner or later? Actually, no. That's where the analogy falls apart. There's nothing we can do to earn our way into heaven. Zip. Nada. It just doesn't work.
So here's a better analogy. How would you rather get to the moon, on a bicycle or in a rocket ship? Easy question. It's obvious the bicycle will NEVER get you there. You're only chance is the rocket ship. You can try it with the bike, but people will think you're crazy. The smart man gets in the rocket ship.
The distance between us and God is much farther than from here to the moon, and nothing you or I do can bridge the gap. But by his death for our sins and his resurrection three days later, Jesus made a way. So get off the bike and get on the rocket ship.
This analogy probably isn't perfect either, but I won't think of a better one until I hit the send button.