No Escape

“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (Hebrews 2:3–4, ESV)

Sorry, there shall be no excuses on that great day. Why not? First, because the Lord himself spoke of that great salvation, and he did this with his own body and by his own mouth while he sojourned here with us. Second, people heard him, so Jesus accomplished the communications hand-shake: he said and they heard. Third, his words were confirmed, that is, people bore witness that Jesus had said these things. Fourth, God himself bore witness. Fifth, God used signs and wonders to confirm that he sent Jesus, and sixth, God sent the gifts of the Spirit to confirm Christ among the believers. What else could anyone have done?

We must understand that salvation can only come from God and not from people. Yes, God used natural language to communicate with us, and so much so that his voice might be confused with a human one. However, he also used supernatural methods to communicate, to verify, and to consummate this critical aspect of the God-to-human relationship. No human invented the Gospel message. Its nature is such, that if they could, they wouldn’t, and if they would, they couldn’t — so, none ever did. But Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit—they did—and they did so before the foundations of the earth (Eph. 1:4). Salvation, full and free, can only come from God. Sure, humans have tried to work out salvation schemes all throughout history, but none of these has ever brought a single person to heaven… not even the schemes that sound familiar.

Here’s my challenge. Find several people who somewhat believe in God and at least somewhat believe in heaven and hell, and ask them which of the following is the true method for getting to heaven — choice A or B.

A. Subscribing to a system in which your good works will be counted for you and your bad works counted against you, and where your life on earth shall be judged after your death for worthiness to enter heaven.

B. Subscribing to a system that begins with the notion that no person can enter into God’s presence — ever! However, that is why God sent his son to die in our place, so that we may enter heaven in his name… if we indeed take his name — and these activities are independent of religion, good works or noble behaviors performed while on this earth.

Most people would choose A since the vast majority of people who aspire to heaven think that they must work to get there. Where do these notions come from? From people. Any person who invents a salvation method will always require that good works, sacrifice or sacerdotal behaviors be performed by those who aspire to heaven. But this is directly contrary to choice B, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, just as a human being would never invent a salvation method like our true Gospel, so he would not subscribe to one naturally… in spite of its proclamation all over the world!

Another evidence of the Gospel’s truth came from a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who offered wise counsel to the religious establishment which hated Jesus. Why did they hate him? Because he spoke with authority, he performed miracles, but worst of all, he had a following! So, Gamaliel advised the council thus:

“…I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!...”
(Acts 5:38–39, ESV)

Friends, millennia have passed, and the Gospel persists — but not as the world’s consensus. The majority did not cling to Christ even in Jesus’ time. Remember the crucifixion? That was the majority voice. But the resurrection proves that Christianity is never about majority. It is always about God. Would you like to go to heaven? Then look squarely into the eyes of Jesus Christ instead of into the ideas of mere men, because popular opinion might well send you to hell.

Now, I’ll admit that the true Gospel is not wildly popular, and even in the beginning, people just couldn’t leave it alone. They needed to make it more palatable to reach more people — you know — gain some consensus for God! But God doesn’t work that way, and how he must weep at the excesses that have grown up in the Christian culture because of it! Consensus may build empires, but it also sends people to hell. Therefore, begin today to do your own reading, your own praying and your own thinking. After all, how shall you escape if you neglect such a great salvation?

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