A number of years ago I found myself hanging on by my fingernails to the back side of Enchanted Rock in the middle of the night. I was camping in the primitive area of this state natural area with a friend. We decided we needed some things from the car. But the car was on the opposite side of the rock and it was a 2 mile hike to go around it. So we decided it would be much quicker to just hike over it… In the dark.
We did not realize how steep this part of the rock was going to get until we were about half way up. We were afraid if we tried to go back down we would just start sliding and not stop until we hit the bottom. Our only hope was to keep inching our way up until we reach a bolder that we could get behind for stability.
When we finally made it to the bolder, I then backed my way up the rest of the slope in a sitting position. When I finally slid to the point that the rock leveled out, I looked back down with my flashlight and could not believe what I had just come up. I called down to my friend and said, “Just slide up like I did. It’s not that steep!”
When we both finally reached safety we prayed and thanked God for delivering us from this “near death” experience.
Enchanted Rock is a huge dome shaped granite rock. It is solid. But climbing up the smooth steep face with nothing to hold on to was very dangerous. We needed something to anchor us to the rock.
We Have an Anchor
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV
If you are going to do some rock climbing it is important to have the right gear. You need a harness, carabiners, and rope. However, none of these things will do you any good if you don’t have one more important item. You need a piton.
What is a Piton?
A piton is a small spike with a loop on one end. It is driven into the rock so that you can run your rope through for safety when climbing a rock face. The piton is an anchor point to keep you securely held to the rock.
On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.Psalm 18:2 ESV
If you want to reach the top of any peak you must stay securely held to the rock. Jesus Christ is our Rock. Our hope in Christ is rooted in the fact that we are anchored to Him and he will never let us go. The closer you are to that anchor point the safer you will be. In rock climbing as you climb up away from your last piton there is always the risk of falling some distance. That distance is twice the distance of the length of the rope between you and the piton below you. However, you will not fall further than that because the anchor will hold you to the rock. In our walk with Christ we will sometimes stumble, but we will not totally fall away.
The 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith says the following:
Those whom God has accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, from which source he still begets and nourishes in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon.1689 2nd London Baptist Confession Chapter 17. Of the Perseverance of the Saints
Praise God that our eternity is secure in Christ. Jesus said, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” (John 6:39 ESV). However, sin has consequences. There are times in our lives as Christians where we may stumble. We may fall into gross sin. If we stray from Christ we may fall into terrible sin and error that results in grievous consequences. Just like the climber who has climbed 20’ from the piton below him. With nothing to secure him he could experience a 40’ fall against the rock resulting in many bruises and even broken bones. However, he will not totally fall away from Christ because He is anchored to him. It is not so much that he is holding on to Christ, but Jesus is holding on to him. The rock is securely gripped to the piton.
We must daily stay as close to Christ as possible. The closer the climber is to that piton, the less severe the fall will be. Stay close to Christ Jesus by daily reading His Word. Meditate upon His Word. Fellowship with men who know God’s Word and will exhort you in the Lord. He is a Rock and He will protect you.
Listen To the Ping
One other thing about the piton worthy of considering. When a rock climber is climbing up a new rock face that has not been climbed before he has to set new pitons. He will climb up with however many he thinks he needs strapped to his side along with a piton hammer. Each one has to be carefully driven into the rock. If it is not done correctly, the piton may not hold. The way the climber knows the piton is set is by listening. With each blow of the hammer the ping he hears is a little higher pitch because there will be a shorter length of piton sticking out of the rock. When he finally hears two pings in a row that sound the same, he knows the piton is in all the way. If he keeps hitting the piton, he could cause the piton to get looser instead of tighter.
In the same way we must listen to the truth of God’s Word and not be swept away by false teachers. There is only one way to be securely anchored to Christ and that is through faith in Him. Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Likewise, Titus 3:3-6 says, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” There is only one way to be anchored to Christ and that is through faith in Him. We must believe that He died in our place, paying for our sin on the cross. No amount of works, prayers, good deeds, or money can secure our place in Heaven. Only a true and sincere faith in Jesus Christ. Won’t you believe in Him today?