A Solemn Question!
James Smith, 1855
"How shall we escape, if we neglect such a great salvation?" Hebrews 2:3
This is a most solemn question. It requires our closest attention. It is proposed for our good. It should be immediately and seriously considered. We are by nature, lost sinners. That such sinners might be saved, God became incarnate. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." In our nature he did and suffered what law and justice required for our salvation. He finished his work. He ascended to glory. He sent his gospel to all nations. He has sent it to us. It is the good news of salvation. It informs us that we may be saved — and how we may be saved. It points out the way of life. Exhorts us to escape from eternal death. Invites us to receive and enjoy this invaluable blessing.
Gospel salvation is represented, as a sovereign remedy
for all our moral maladies. It is that which will restore us to spiritual
health — and will make us holy, happy, and honorable. It is compared to a
splendid feast. It presents all that we can need to revive, refresh, and
delight us. It contains . . .
a free, full, and immediate pardon, for all our sins,
a title to everlasting life and happiness,
a complete deliverance from sin, Satan, death, and Hell.
It is a great salvation!
God alone could devise it.
It required that God should become man to procure it.
It is the richest gift that God could confer on sinners.
It is great beyond expression — beyond conception!
Consider . . .
1. The price it cost:
the sufferings, and
the death of the Son of God!
2. The evils it prevents:
banishment from God,
the endless lashings of a guilty conscience,
the torments of eternal despair in Hell.
3. The blessings it secures:
the presence of God,
the perfection of our nature, and
the unspeakable glories and joys of Heaven!
4. The glory it confers — it makes us . . .
the sons of God,
joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ,
temples of the Holy Spirit, and
mirrors in which the glory of God will be reflected forever!
5. The extent to which it reaches — the uttermost.
No sinner can be too vile to be pardoned through the blood of Jesus. No
creature can be too depraved to be sanctified by the Spirit of God. It
reaches to the most desperate cases. None are excluded. None should despair.
It is salvation to the uttermost! Until . . .
omnipotence can be conquered,
infinite wisdom be baffled, or
the merit of the blood of Jesus fail
— there is hope for the vilest of sinners!
6. Its duration is forever! It is everlasting salvation. Jesus is the author of eternal salvation, unto all those who obey him. Once saved by Jesus, we are saved for evermore. Put these things together, and say — Is it not a great salvation? It is the salvation of great sinners, from the greatest evils, to the enjoyment of the greatest blessings.
Must it not then be an inexcusable sin, to neglect such a great salvation? Yet there are thousands who do so. It is constantly preached — yet many never give themselves the trouble to go to hear of it. It is published in the Bible and other good books — yet they seldom if ever carefully read of it. They treat it as if it was a matter of minor importance, or of no consequence at all. How astonishing!
They think they may neglect it in times of health, and quiet their consciences by promising to attend to it in sickness. But they are comparatively few, who having neglected salvation in health, do seek and enjoy it in sickness and death.
And many who do read the bible with tolerable regularity, and who go often to hear the gospel preached — who still neglect this great salvation. They do not give it that sincere and hearty attention which it demands. It does not fill their thoughts, awaken their desires, and engage their powers. They hear the message — but do not cordially embrace it. They listen to the proclamation — but do not exercise faith in it. They have the blessing presented to them as a gift from God — but they do not receive it. They postpone the serious consideration of it. They prefer the pleasures, or follies, or fashions of this life to it: and in effect say with Felix, "Go your way for this time, when I have a convenient season — I will send for you."
But whom do they put off? The great, the glorious, the infinite God.
What do they treat with neglect? The present, future, eternal salvation of their souls.
What do they prefer to this blessing? Vanity, lies, the merest trash!
Why do they neglect this great salvation? Because sin has hardened the heart, blinded the eyes, and perverted all their mental powers.
What will be the consequence if they persevere in this course? They must be condemned by God — and must suffer forever the due punishment of their deeds in eternal Hell!
Reader! how is it with you? Are you enjoying this great salvation? Are you seeking to possess it? Or, are you treating it with neglect? If you have neglected it hitherto, if you are neglecting it now — let me exhort you to attend to the question proposed to you by God himself. How shall you escape, if you neglect such a great salvation?
It is kindness,
it is love to your soul,
it is concern for your everlasting welfare,
it is a desire to see you holy and happy
— which leads us to ask, "How shall you escape — if you neglect such a great salvation?" How will you escape? Death will soon summon you into the presence of God. The judgment will soon commence. You must stand alone at the bar of God. You must give an account of yourself to God. You cannot avoid this. The decree is past. The facts are made known in God's book. Heaven and earth may pass away — but his word which declares these things shall not pass away. How then, will you escape?
Do you imagine that you can flee from God? How can you escape from the grasp of omnipotence? Where can you flee from the eye of the Omniscient? How will you escape?
Do you think that you can bribe God? Can you bribe the most just God? Or, what can you offer when you stand naked before your judge? How will you escape?
Do you imagine that you can escape by deception? In vain will you try your ingenuity! Your folly will be manifest to all! How will you escape?
Do you imagine that you can escape by your strength? "Have you an arm like God?" Can you overcome the Almighty! How will you escape?
Do you imagine that you can escape by concealment? What will conceal you? Then shall be fulfilled that solemn scripture, "They called to the mountains and the rocks: Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" Revelation 6:16-17. What a solemn scene! What a dreadful picture! What a solemn scene! What an dreadful picture! And if you neglect this great salvation — such will be your condition!
Now you may escape, then there will be no possibility of escape. Once more we ask the question: How will you escape? Do you ask, "Escape what?" Ruin. Total Ruin. Eternal ruin. The ruin of body and soul. The ruin of your entire person forever. Ruin merited by sin. Ruin secured by your folly. Ruin preferred to the joys of the blessed, and the riches of glory.
My beloved friend, think. Think seriously upon this subject. Let it sink down deep into your heart. You can think of nothing else half so important. I beseech you, do not put it away from you, and so judge or pronounce yourself unworthy of everlasting life. Ask yourself: Am I saved? Salvation is come near unto you. You are not far from the kingdom of God. Will that salvation be received? Will that kingdom be entered by you.
Beware of trifling!
Beware of delays!
Your life hangs upon a thread!
You may be within one hour of eternity!
Satan will try to induce you to postpone the matter. But do not allow him to deceive you. He has deceived you too often. He is the enemy of your soul. He seeks your destruction. Yield not to him — but at once direct your most serious thoughts to this all-important subject.
Embrace the message of mercy at once.
Accept the kind invitation of your God without delay.
The arms of Jesus are open to embrace you.
The ears of God are open to listen to your earnest prayers.
The fountain of Christ's blood is open which will cleanse you from sin.
The gospel feast is prepared which will satisfy your soul.
The best robe is ready which will clothe and adorn your person.
All things are ready, Come!
You have delayed too long — delay no longer. You have neglected too long — but yet there is hope, neglect no longer. Cast yourself at once at the feet of Jesus, seek and obtain mercy of God — and everlasting life is yours. Life in the favor of God. Life in the enjoyment of God. Life, as like the life of God as the life of a creature can be. Life which comprises every blessing, which includes everything that is desirable. Life which has cost the Son of God the labors of his life, and the sufferings of his death to procure. O look to Jesus and live, believe in the Son of God and eternal life is yours!
"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life!" 1 John 5:11-12
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him!" John 3:36