Imagine, if you will, a terrified child who falls into an abandoned well shaft while playing in the woods. One moment he was frolicking in piles of crimson and golden autumn leaves; the next, his young life flashes before him in an instant as he drops through branches loosely covering the opening to the dark pit below.
Thankfully, enough leaves have accumulated in the well to break his fall, but his body is sore and racked with pain. The sides of the well are steep and slippery, and there is no way he can climb out on his own. Nightfall soon approaches, and with it an overwhelming darkness. It is a new moon, and clouds have covered the stars. In the distance, a wolf cries out, as if invoking the child’s certain doom. The boy shivers, more from fear than from the bitter cold.
Suddenly, he hears his name called, and he manages to scream through his uncontrolled sobbing. A search light pierces through the darkness and then directly into the shaft.
“Please save me,” the boy moans with what seems like his last breath.
“Don’t worry, son,” a powerful yet calm voice reassures him. “I’m here – just trust me.”
The boy gladly surrenders all control to his rescuer, who descends a rope ladder into the well, hoists the lad to his shoulders, and carries him out the same way in his own strength. Once reunited with family, the boy grows in physical and spiritual strength, ever thankful to his rescuer and to the God who sent him, with His perfect timing (2 Peter 3:9).
Before we can be saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) of Jesus Christ as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), we need to come to the end of ourselves and our own strength, and to realize there is no way we can save ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). Like the little boy, we have fallen into a miry pit of clay (Psalm 40:2), as David writes in Psalms, and we cannot escape it in our own strength. We are sinners (Romans 3:23), all under the curse of Adam and Eve’s original sin (Genesis 3), and we deserve eternal punishment in hell (Luke 16).
While suffering the consequences of his own sin, and fleeing for his life from King Saul who wanted him dead (1 Samuel 18:11), David was gripped by fear, yet released from it by the realization that only God is in control. God’s perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). He is the only Rescuer who can lift us from that miry pit, if we trust Him.
Psalm 27:1: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Light, salvation, strength. The “Prince of Preachers” Charles Spurgeon referred to this verse as “a threefold cord which could not be broken.”
Before we can be saved, we must know we are lost, which happens only when the glorious light of the Gospel shines into our heart (2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Timothy 1:10). Faith comes by hearing the word of God, brought by a witness of the Gospel (Romans 10). By that light, we can see that we are sinners deserving eternal death; that only God is holy and righteous; and that He sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).
Only then can we be saved by trusting Jesus and His completed work on the cross (John 19:30), which paid in full the penalty for all our sin. He alone is our salvation, our Savior, and once we invite Him into our heart, His perfect righteousness is credited to our account (Romans 4:20-25). When God looks at us, He no longer sees our sin, but only the perfect holiness of His Son, and He therefore grants us eternal life with Him in Heaven (Romans 5:19-21).
Then He adopts us into His family (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5); appoints us as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), betroths us to His Son, and makes us joint-heirs with Him (Romans 8:17). We then have access to all His abundant riches in glory (Ephesians 3:20; 1 Peter 1:3; Philippians 4:19; Colossians 1:27), including eternal life (John 3:16), joy in the Lord (Romans 5:11; Philemon 1:20), peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), and His strength, which is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The threefold cord of light, salvation and strength mirrors the three Persons of our Triune God: Spirit, Son and Father. A threefold cord cannot easily be broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Nothing can pluck us from the saving hand of Jesus Christ (John 10:28-29); nothing can loosen the Father’s grip on the Son’s hand; and nothing can break the seal of the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13).
Before we can be saved, the Holy Spirit shines His penetrating light into our heart, so that we can see who and what we truly are, and what Christ has done for us (John 14:26; 15:26). Then we trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our only salvation (Acts 4:12). He is also the only Way to the Almighty Father and His strength, for Christ is the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and we are complete in Him (Colossians 2:9-10).
Thank you, Lord, for missionaries, preachers, and your Word that rescue us by shining the Gospel light in our hearts! Thank you for sending your Son to save us from our sins, deliver us from the miry pit, and give us eternal life! Praise you for allowing us to grow in Your strength to be Your lights in this dark world, until You come again!
2021 Laurie Collett