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Reaching the summit

Today I finish my time on Mount Everest, and at midnight I will begin my descent. The majestic mountain has been in my sight for all of this month, greeting me each day on my January calendar. I remember some years ago reading a book about Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay who made the first ascent in 1953. And I still rue an opportunity missed to meet the great explorer before he passed away.

One question, it seems, that he was always asked by his audiences was this: “Who first put their foot on the summit? To which, he said, he would always reply: “We both reached the summit together.” Meaning that the question, in a sense, was irrelevant. Mountain-climbers need each other, and one would not have made it without the other. And therefore both share the glory, and no single one the credit.

But when it comes to the matter of salvation, all glory and honour be to Jesus, for the only contribution I made to my salvation – as one of the old puritans put it – was my sins. His was the ascending work. His was the great step on the great summit. And his was the hauling work that enabled me to stand atop the mountain to be in fellowship with God. The Reformers once expressed the whole arrangement this way: Solus Christus. And that lovely scene shall stay in my sights as I turn the calendar tomorrow.

DM 31st January 2021


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