“Chilean Miners Emerge to World Rejoicing,” “Chili’s Textbook Mine Rescue Brings Global Respect.” Headlines like these appeared in every major newspaper in the world this week. One of the simplest headlines simply read, “Chili Miner’s Rescued.”
After being trapped underground for sixty-nine days all thirty-three of the Chilean miners emerged to freedom. The whole world watched as one by one the miners were brought to safety.
My close friend, Steve Bailey who is the outstanding preacher for the church in Mesquite reminded me of some spiritual implications of the miner’s experience. So, with appreciation to Steve for his thoughts, and some additional thoughts of my own here are a few comparisons between the experience of the Chilean miners and our own journey to freedom.
ALL OF THE MEN WHO WORKED IN THE MINE WERE TRAPPED. We live in a world where we are trapped by sin. James paints a picture of how we are enticed by lust, which leads to our being trapped in sin (James 1:13-16).
THE MINERS WERE SEPARATED FROM LOVED ONES. For more than two months they could not spend time with their families because of this terrible separation. The feeling of separation became nearly unbearable for some of the loved ones.
Sin separates us from God and all that is good. The Apostle Paul reminds us that before we were set free we “were separate from Christ…and strangers to the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12)
THEY COULD NOT SAVE THEMSELVES. In spite of the fact that most of the miners were experienced in their work, once they were trapped, there was nothing they could do for themselves. Someone else had to come to their rescue.
When we are trapped in sin there is no way that we can save ourselves. We can only be freed from sin if someone else comes to our rescue. Praise God, someone did, and that someone was Jesus (Luke 19:10). When we were helpless and hopeless God loved us so much that He sent His Son to save us (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
THE MINERS HAD TO HAVE FAITH. These men had to trust that those who built the Fenix capsule were trustworthy and they had to have faith in the rescuers who came to the mine to help them.
We cannot be saved without faith (Hebrews 11:6). We must trust in the One who is the architecture of our salvation and we must have faith in the One who came to this world to bring us salvation (Hebrews 12:1-3).
THEY HAD TO ACT ON THEIR FAITH. No one would argue that these men saved themselves or that they were saved by their own work. However, it is evident that they had to do something to be saved.
It did not matter how much faith they had in those who made their freedom possible, how much faith they had in the ones who came to help them, or how much they believed that the Fenix could bring them to freedom. Until they personally got into the Fenix they would remain trapped.
No understanding person would argue that we could come up with a plan to save ourselves from sin or that we can work enough to save ourselves. It doesn’t matter how much faith we have in God who sent His Son to save us, or how much faith we have in Christ who came to rescue us, unless we are willing to do something we will not be saved.
Jesus Himself said, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:15-16). We can no more be saved outside of Christ than the thirty-three miners could be saved outside of the Fenix. Their own works did not save them, but by the work of others, yet they still had to do something. We are not saved by our own works, but by the work of Christ, yet we still must do something (Acts 2:38). We must be “in Christ” (Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27), just as the Chilean miners had to be “in the Fenix.”
THEIR FREEDOM WAS NOT FREE. The rescue of these men cost millions of dollars. In addition thousands of hours of planning and implementation was put into their rescue.
Our freedom from sin is not free. It cost the life and blood of the precious Son of God (1 Peter 1:18-19).
THE MINERS WERE RESCUED ONE MAN AT A TIME. Each one of these men had to be rescued one at a time. They could not all be rescued at once.
Jesus came into this world to save each and every sinner. His concern is for us personally and individually. We should be interested in helping each individual in the word obtain freedom.
THEY WERE BROUGHT FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT. The miners were in darkness while underground, but they now are able to enjoy the light of day.
Those who come to Christ are translated from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of “His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). Our Savior said, “I am the light of the world, he who follow Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)
WHAT’S NEXT? Now that the Chilean miners have been rescued they must consider what they will do with the rest of their life. Will they go back to work and to their normal way of living? Will they write books to tell the world of their experience? Will they talk to their children and loved ones about how they were saved?
Once we have been freed from sin we have choices to make as well. We can live as if nothing has happened or we can live as people who have been given a new, abundant life (John 10:10), and be faithful to our Lord until death (Revelation 2:10). We can keep our salvation to ourselves or we can tell as many people as possible how we were rescued (Matthew 28:18-20).
We can let our children/families learn it on their own, or we can share with them how that God reached down from heaven into this dark world and made our salvation possible (Please read Deuteronomy 6:20-24).
Okay, preacher friends and other Biblical scholars, it’s your turn to add the points you have thought of while you were reading this post. We hope you will share them with us!
Dear Father in Heaven, we thank You that these men are now free. We thank You that they have been reunited with their family and friends. We thank You that there long night of darkness has been replaced with the light of day. Dear God, we thank You most of all for the freedom that we have because of Christ. Thank You for sending Jesus into this dark world to bring light. Help us Lord to share the Good News of freedom with everyone we can. In Jesus Name, Amen.