The writer of Hebrews in addressing Hebrew Christians who had an inclination to be overly concerned with ceremonial observances gave this profound warning in verse 3a, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation" In this contemplation I want to look at this great salvation and see what it is all about and why it is so great.
Salvation means many things to many people but from the Christian viewpoint it is the complete work of God in bringing mankind from the lost state of sin to the saved state of grace and glory through Jesus Christ. Salvation is the deliverance from the judgment of God upon the sinner as the sinner accepts God's offer of redemption through Jesus Christ and is reconciled to God (Romans 5:10-11).
God and God alone is responsible for our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) but man using his free will as part of God's sovereign grace needs to make the choice whether he accepts the offer of salvation or not (John 1:12).
Salvation is by faith (Romans 4:5) and can never be attained through one's own good works and membership in a church because it is a free gift from God (Romans 6:23)
In granting salvation God is not excusing and overlooking sin, for that will be against the just nature of God, and God will never do that but the sins of the believer are borne in Christ on the cross and the merits of Christ's righteousness are imputed to the believer (Romans 4:22-24). The believer, now in Christ is saved, meaning he is justified, redeemed, reconciled and cleansed and on his way to heaven. What a great salvation? Who could have conceived such a marvelous vehicle to get sinful mankind to spend eternity with God?
Let us then in a spirit of awe and wonder examine some truths about this great salvation which was planned by God the Father, produced by God the Son and processed by God the Holy Spirit.
Let us note that this great salvation:
IS FOUNDED ON GOD'S ABILITY
God has power to save the sinner
God is able to do what no god or human plan can ever do and that is to rescue and save sinners, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." (1 Timothy 1:15)
To those who entertain doubt that God is able to thoroughly save then be admonished by the prophet Isaiah, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save" (Isaiah 59:1a)
The writer of Hebrews, who himself has experienced God's salvation is able to affirm, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)
We serve a God of infinite power who spoke and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast! No one will ever find God's power insufficient to rescue him from the clutches of Satan.
God has power to transform the sinner
God does not just rescue us from difficult and perverse situations and preserve our lives, he is able to transform the sinner and change him completely, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Look around you and you will see powerful evidence of the life-changing nature of God's great salvation. The things I use to do I do them no more is the cry of every believer throughout the ages. God takes out that heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh that responds to God in love. What a mighty transformation!
God's power makes his plan work for the sinner
God's power makes his plan of salvation the only one that works for the sinner for there is simply no other like it, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me." (John 14:6)
Other plans there may be, Moslem plans, Jehovah Witnesses plans, Mormons Plans, Buddhist plans, New World plans and they all have one thing in common; they are all doomed to failure!
What God has promised he is able to perform!
IS FURNISHED WITH DIVINE RELIABILITY
It is completely reliable
This great salvation created by God and designed to rescue mankind from a state of rebellion and wickedness to a state of holiness and peace with God is totally, completely reliable, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
Man is truly blessed to have such a reliable salvation available to him.
It is totally successful
Every single believer who has died and trusted in God's plan of salvation has completed successfully their life's journey and can identify with the Apostle Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
This great salvation is 100% successful, not one single believer who trusts in God will be lost!
It will lead to eternal life
God's plan of salvation, this great salvation which is ours, will lead to eternal life through Jesus Christ and no other plan can guarantee that, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." (1 John 5:12)
People have always wanted to live forever, wished for it, wrote about it, planned for it and created great mystique about it and yet by simply accepting God's great salvation does just that, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not shall not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Sweet! A great comfort and assurance to every believer and a powerful incentive for unbelievers to get on board.
IS FILLED WITH SUPREME ENDURANCE
Will endure adversities
The character of God's great salvation is especially defined by its divine ability to weather all storms, withstand all opposing forces and evil powers and spiritual wickedness and emerge exactly as before. Gamaliel was right, "And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it" (Acts 5:38-39a)
God's great salvation has endured for centuries and is as powerful today as when it first began.
The great Roman Empire could not kill it. O how they tried.
The Voltaires and Lennons predicted its death. Wishful thinking!
Will never be taken away
God will not give you salvation today and for some reason or another take it away tomorrow. God's gift of salvation is permanent and is yours forever, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:28)
Even when we fail God, and all believers do sometimes, yet he remains faithful!
Will last forever
Everything in this life is temporal but not our salvation in Christ for we are confident that it will last forever and Peter affirms it, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:5)
The Tribulation saints affirmed this, "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Rev 7:14)
Paul confidently asserted this, "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." (2 Timothy 1:12)
Every believer in Christ has this assurance, "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:8)
Salvation is such a beautiful word to describe the glorious plan of God to bring mankind from the lost state of sin to the saved state of grace and glory through Jesus Christ. This great salvation is available to anyone, any place at any time and if you are not saved it can be yours right now. Just remember:
You are a sinner; you need to acknowledge that. (Romans 3:23)
As a sinner your wages for sinning are death. (Romans 6:23)
Jesus bore our sins on the cross so that we may not die. (Romans 5:8)
If you accept Jesus and confess him with your mouth he will save you. (Romans 10:9)
Receive Jesus in sincere prayer and the work is done. (John 1:12, Acts 16:31)
To all those in Christ I urge you to look again at this great salvation, do not take it for granted; value it, cherish it, glorify it and be most willing to help others to understand it.
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013