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The Great Escape. Heb. 2:3

26/01/2017

The Great Escape

Text . Romans 2:1-11 Hebrews 2:3.

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 5.

So far in this series, we have been looking at the basic biblical teaching about MANKIND. We learned that we are sinners, – because we have broken God’s Law, but we were not always like that, we were created in God’s image, and that the image of God was shattered and distorted at the Fall, and that one day we will have to give account of ourselves in judgement.  Yet all the time we have been discovering that the solution is always Jesus.  He is sinless, and he perfectly fulfilled the Law of God, and yet he gave himself for us, to pay the price for our sin in his own body on the cross.  Last study we thought about the Last Judgement and the excuses some people think they might make on that day.  To no avail!  Now, the bible poses a question, and it is one we will consider:  Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.  The question in the text makes some basic presuppositions:-

We Need to Escape FROM Something. How shall we escape?

The Eternal Consequences of Sin.   We are under condemnation of the law.   

  • We get What we deserve. There is a popular belief that we can earn heaven, that our good works can make us that we deserve to be rewarded after this life. Exodus 23:7   It’s called Justice. And it is the right thing to do.  We all want justice.  We want justice for murderers and child molesters  and paedophiles and torturers and terrorists.  We demand it. Yet when our own works condemn us, we expect mercy?
  • We spurn God’s pardon when it is offered. And we cannot hope for any further leniency from God, or presume on his kindness.  Romans 2:4-5.
  • It is intensely personal. We are not talking here in the abstract. We are talking about our own living souls, having run out of the opportunity to avail of the loving kindness and the mercy of a god for ever and ever. We are talking about US, our loved ones, our friends and neighbours, our families, our co-workers. It is a question that is personal to each one of them.     

Self-Planned Escape Attempts will Fail. ‘If we neglect

Some people make their own efforts to escape God’s judgement, but all are futile and all will fail. For example, some will say…

  • I’ll pay the fine myself. H/C Can we by ourselves make this payment? A. Certainly not. On the contrary, we daily increase our debt. Ps 130:3   If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,  O Lord, who could stand?
  • I’ll ask a friend to bail me out. Perhaps there a ‘bailsman’ who can offer a surety for me, like in the legal system, where if someone is charged with a crime a friend who has money can put down a bond and assure the freedom of the person charged.
    • My parents or my heritage. I was born into a Christian home, and into a Christian country, surely that means something?  Surely I can call on my parents faith and service for God, to plead for me.  But while Christian parents and Christian upbringing is a great blessing, and a place of Christian love and instruction and influence, – it is the soul that sins that dies!
    • What about the merits of the saints?  Can’t we call on the treasury of merit that all the great saints and martyrs have built up? And what of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, won’t she plead for us before God?
    • The OT Sacrificial system. Not all the blood of beasts On Jewish altars slain Could give the guilty conscience peace Or wash away the stain.

That’s the bad news, there is no-one, either myself or anyone else, who can help me on judgment day.  God will judge us according to our works, and as we see in Romans 2, our works will condemn us.

A Method of Escape has Been Put in Place for Us. ‘So Great Salvation’

We need someone to RESCUE US!  But who would ever be suitable?  Who would have the strength and ability to save us? Who would be willing to come and save sinful wretches like us? The Bible calls such a person our MEDIATOR. But who will be our mediator?  We need…

  • A real man. One of us has to do it, not a robot or a Demi-god, not a super-hero, a HUMAN BEING, like us.  And God has already sent that rescuer, in the person of Jesus, his only son.  Romans 8:3    Consider that carefully, for God sent his son in the likeness of sinful flesh. What a strange expression, yet it perfectly expresses the nature of Christ, who was truly God and truly man, who was one of us, a perfect man, yet…
  • A righteous man. WITHOUT SIN! He perfectly fulfilled the Law, for us, kept all the commandments we could never keep, and so in his death, paid the price for all our sins.   That’s because he was…
  • A robust, ruling man. He has the power, and the strength, and the authority to take all of our sins, because he is God.

  We need a rescuer, one who is ready, and willing and able to save.  That saviour is Jesus.

Now, because this question is so personal, and so vital.  Because We Must Escape, and because a way of escape has been provided for us, our response is to rest in Christ’s finished work on the cross, trust him, and repent of our sins.

Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.

But Christ, the heav’nly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.

My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While, like a penitent, I stand,
And there confess my sin.

My soul looks back to see
The burdens Thou didst bear
When hanging on the cursèd tree,
And hopes her guilt was there.

Believing, we rejoice
To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice,
And sing His bleeding love.

© Bob McEvoy. January 2017

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