Saturday, July 30, 2011


Colossians 1:13, “For He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son.”

A year ago this month an estimated 1 billion television viewers watched with great anticipation as rescue workers descended 2300 feet underground and brought the first of the Chilean miners to the surface. 33 miners had been trapped in the mine for 69 days. They had survived high heat, deep darkness, abiding hunger, mental anguish, and physical despair. There was no way out for them. They were totally dependent on others for their rescue.

The rescue effort involved hundreds of people. Nearly every Chilean government agency was involved. NASA and more than a dozen international corporations provided assistance. Three separate drilling efforts were undertaken. A rescuer was ultimately lowered in a capsule into the depths of the earth. The captives were brought to the surface amidst much excitement and jubilation—people cried, hugged, and cheered.

It was one of the greatest rescue efforts ever undertaken. But there is a rescue effort of far greater proportions—the divine rescue of lost sinners. It is hard to imagine a more challenging predicament than that of those miners, but the “domain of darkness” is a more foreboding place (“domain” = “authority”; Cf. 1 John 5:19). Held captive to sin, the lost soul wastes away his existence in a futile way of life (1 Pet. 1:18). Darkened in his understanding and blinded to the truth—he can see no way of escape (Cf. Eph. 4:18; 2 Cor. 4:4). The hopelessness of the plight of the rebel sinner cannot be overstated (Rom. 3:23, 6:23; Col. 1:21). And a pending deeper darkness looms over his existence (2 Thess. 1:8-9).

The rescue of the Chilean miners was motivated by loving concern. Skilled men devised a response. Tremendous resources were utilized. The rescue of lost sinners came at the hands of our loving God. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” God’s power and His wisdom were applied to the effort: “But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23-24).

The rescue workers descended into the depths of the earth to rescue those men. Jesus came to earth to rescue lost sinners: “For the Son of Man (came) to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He humbled Himself: Heb. 2:14, “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” As the hymn puts it: “He left His throne above, so free, so infinite His grace! Emptied Himself of all but love, and bled for Adam’s helpless race! ‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, For, O my God, it found out me. Amazing love! How can it be? That Thou, my God shouldst die for me?”

The Chilean miners were brought to the surface and restored to their loved ones. The believer has been transferred to the Kingdom of His beloved Son. Having been forgiven of his sins and reconciled to God his rescue is the grandest of them all--from the depths of sin’s depravity to the heights of divine privilege (from the “mire” to the “choir”; Cf. Psalm 40:2-3). “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are” (1 John 3:1). The believer in Christ has indeed been saved to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25, KJV).

The Chilean miners rejoiced with great joy when they broke the surface. We are to be “joyously giving thanks” for our deliverance (Col. 1:12). Our rescue has come about entirely by His grace and through His work on the cross. There will come a day when all of the rescued souls through all the ages will sing a new song in heaven, saying, “Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals, for Thou wast slain and didst purchase for god with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). The rescued rejoice!

Jose Henriquez was one of the 33 men trapped in that mine. During the 69 days he led devotions twice a day, crying out to God with the other miners. He arranged for a Pastor to come to share the gospel with the miners. 20 of them prayed a salvation prayer. There are people trapped in sin all around us. God calls us to His rescue effort. Jude 23, “Save others, snatching them out of the fire.” Christ alone can rescue the lost. The rescued direct other needy souls to Him!

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Pastor Jerry

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