By: Gary L. Hutchens
Frequently we’ll respond to something that we consider to be really good with the exclamation “How great is that!”. We might apply that statement to anything from a wonderful experience, to a great play made by some athlete, to a piece of chocolate cake. On the spiritual side of life, the Hebrews writer asked the question, “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (Heb. 2:3). He’s talking about our eternal salvation, everlasting life with God and Christ in Heaven. How Great Is That!
Well, how great is the opportunity to be saved? Salvation means that we escape the death penalty- eternal condemnation. The apostle Paul laid out both possibilities: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Salvation and condemnation are exact opposites. To be condemned is to be lost spiritually, as those whom Jesus came “to seek and to save” (Lk. 19:10), and as is portrayed in the parables of the lost sheep (Lk. 15:3-7) and the lost coin (Lk. 15:8-10).
To be lost is to face the prospect of eternal torment. Dying unprepared, the rich man, “being in torments,” stated that he was “tormented in this flame” (Lk. 16:19-31). Jesus described the place of eternal condemnation as a place of “outer darkness” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30). It is an existence in which a soul will be eternally separated “from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:9). Salvation means we miss all of that. Hey, How Great Is That!
In giving us the opportunity to be saved we see the vivid expression of God’s love for us. He “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). He demonstrated “His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Incredibly, “the love of God was manifested toward us” in sending Christ “into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 Jn. 4:9). God loves us that much. How Great Is That!
To give us the opportunity to be saved Christ left Heaven, came to this earth and lived as a man in order to die on the cross to pay the price for guilt of our sins. He was willing to step down, so to speak, from His position of equality with God in Heaven and humbly come in the likeness of man to die on the cross (Phlp. 2:5-8).
The sins of all mankind for all time were laid upon Him (Isa. 53:4-8). He was literally “offered” as a sacrifice for our sins (Heb. 9:26-28). Hanging on the cross He was “made…to be sin for us” (2 Cor. 5:21). And Jesus did all of this willingly, for us. Now, How Great Is That!
Have you turned to Jesus in obedience, accepting God’s offer of salvation through Him? Have you repented of your sins, confessed His name and been baptized into Him so the blood He shed on the cross could wash away your sins? If not, why not? What reason could possibly be so great as to cause you to “neglect so great a salvation”?
Gary L. Hutchens