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A Salvation too Great to Neglect

Hebrews 2:3

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“how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.” (HCSB)

 Tuesday, June 12, 2005 was a busy morning for police assigned to the Midtown area of Little Rock, Arkansas.  Four different shooting incidents occurred at practically the same time.  It is not surprising that crime is an issue for police in a major city, but four separate shootings in such a concentrated area is.  What is even more surprising is that one of the shooting victims refused treatment even though he was shot in the head.  (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

 Now, I like to think that I’m as tough as the next guy, and I hate to go to the doctor too, but come on—who in his right mind would refuse treatment after getting shot in the head?  Some needs are so pressing they need to be dealt with immediately.

 The writer of Hebrews asks an important question, “how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”

 His question immediately prompts another question in my mind, is there any other way of salvation than Jesus Christ? 

 Hinduism would say there are three paths to salvation: works or rituals, mystical intuition, or devotion to a Hindu god or goddess. Buddhism, a religion that began as an offshoot of Hinduism teaches that salvation occurs when a person realizes Nirvana, which is “the extinguishing of continual rebirths.”  In Islam, salvation comes from performing good works. (http://www.4truth.net/site/c.hiKXLbPNLrF/b.786353/k.A7EE/World_Religions.htm) (http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/ISLAM/ISLAM1.HTM)

 Are these other paths valid ones, or is there only one way to salvation?  “Dirk Ficca of Chicago, a Presbyterian minister who heads an inter-faith organization, told a PCUSA peacemaking conference that salvation through Christ was the norm for Christians but that there were other valid faiths. Ficca asked rhetorically, ‘What's the big deal about Jesus?’” 
(http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

 Rev. Ficca, let me answer that question for you.  The big deal is that in Jesus, God became man, dwelt among us, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven 40 days later to sit on the right hand of the Father on high.

 During a unique time in human history, Jesus was born of a virgin, and throughout his entire earthly life was fully man and was fully God.  It wasn’t that “the divine” dwelt upon a man, or that as a man He did divine things, it was that Jesus was fully man and fully God.  Notice the terminology the writer of Hebrews used to describe the incarnation in verse 9.  The verse says, “But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone—crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death.”  (Hebrews 2:9 HCSB)  He said, “for a short time.” 

 Last week we discussed that Jesus was superior to the angels, this week the writer of Hebrews says that during a brief window of history; Jesus was lower than the angels.  In other words, He was man.  Paul used similar terminology to describe this blessed event.  In Philippians 2:5-8 he wrote, “Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, [6] who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. [7] Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, [8] He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.” (HCSB)  The writer of Hebrews speaks of God lowering himself for a short time, while Paul says that he “emptied Himself.”  When we reflect upon both of these phrases, we get a clearer picture of this miraculous event.  God made a great sacrifice to become man.

 Why?  Why would God choose to humiliate Himself in this manner?
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