Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Meaning and Scope of Biblical Salvation?

The Majestic Mystery of Great Salvation
Bishop Lalachan Abraham

Open your Bible to the book of Hebrews, and I would like for you to follow with me as I read from chapter 2: verse 1 to 4, that we might have the scriptural understanding of the Majestic Mystery of “GREAT SALVATION”.

“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.  God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
The Bible contains many questions which causes its readers to stop and to consider their meaning, in the light of divine revelation. Without a doubt, one of the most important question we all must answer in view of the immeasurable eternity that lies ahead and especially directed to those who have heard the Gospel, but have yet to accept God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as their personal Saviour. The question is, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" Whether we realize it or not, when we die and leave this scene of time and space, our soul immediately goes to either Heaven or Hell, and there is absolutely no other place in between. Therefore, this very important question concerns us, because without God's "great salvation", through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, it will be impossible to approach with favor into the presence of Almighty God.

What is it from which we are saved? It is the wrath of God that every sinner deserves. Bible says  “In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:7-8; cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-26; 5:6-8; 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9). Jesus Christ revealed God’s great plan of salvation. The great salvation is about the great Savior (Lk. 2:30; Jn. 4:22, 42; 14:6; Acts 4:12). Salvation is synonymous with the Savior. God spent at least four thousand years preparing the world for Christ's arrival by using the nation of Israel as his special instrument and by speaking through the prophets.  When Christ was on earth, he spoke clearly and boldly about his identity.  He radiated God's glory and character.  He commanded men to embrace him as their Lord and savior.  His crucifixion sent shock waves throughout history.  His resurrection vindicated his claims to divinity and kingship. The signs, wonders, and miracles God has worked through history substantiates that Jesus is the way, truth, and life.  No one can come to the Father except through him.  If we look, we have all the confirmation we need that Jesus is God's chosen vessel of salvation to all who believe.  There is no other alternative, no other means, no other plan.  Our salvation is given to those who excessively embrace Christ. "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.”(Acts 13:38)

What is the Meaning and Scope of Biblical Salvation?

The Bible speaks, of God’s gracious plan to provide a solution to man’s problem. We call it salvation or Soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, must be the grandest theme in the Scriptures. It embraces all of time as well as eternity past and future. It relates in one way or another to all of mankind, without exception. It even has implication in the sphere of the angels. It is the theme of both the Old and New Testaments. It is personal, national, and celestial. And it centers on the greatest Person, our Lord Jesus Christ. The word “salvation” is the translation of the Greek word soteria which is derived from the word soter meaning “savior.” The word “salvation” communicates the thought of deliverance, safety, preservation, soundness, restoration, and healing. In theology, however, its major use is to denote a work of God on behalf of men, and as such it is a major doctrine of the Bible which includes redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, conviction, repentance, faith, regeneration, forgiveness, justification, adoption, sanctification, preservation, and glorification. On the one hand, salvation is described as the work of God rescuing man from his lost estate. On the other hand salvation describes the estate of a man who has been saved and who is vitally renewed and made a partaker of the inheritance of the saints. According to the broadest meaning as used in Scripture, the term salvation encompasses the total work of God by which He seeks to rescue man from the ruin, doom, death and power of sin and bestows upon him the wealth of His grace encompassing eternal life, provision for abundant life now, and eternal glory (Eph. 1:3-8; 2:4-10; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; John 3:16, 36; 10:10).

Bible says “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."(Acts 4:12)

The Christian faith is not a philosophy of life, it is a salvation, a way of deliverance, a means appointed by God by which men and women may come to know salvation in their own lives: peace of conscience, joy of the Holy Spirit, assurance of son-ship, adoption into God’s family, the glorious hope of entering into heaven through Christ our Lord.  So this is not simply 'a salvation' but 'a great and magnificent salvation’. There were signs given by God of the greatness of the salvation that is offered to us in the Gospel. The plan of salvation is finished on the cross of Calvary; the gospel message is complete; atonement has been made for our sins, and the Lord has returned to Heaven. The offer of salvation is now made to all men. There is a way of escape from sin, condemnation, death, hell and judgment. It is after this completion of God's final gospel handiwork that the vital question is asked: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? When God has done His best and we reject it, refuse it, pass it by, there is no other way, no other hope, no other alternative, no other appeal.

God in His foreknowledge looked down and saw the fall of man.  In eternity's council, Jesus volunteered to leave Heaven and come to earth to become a man, to fulfill the law, to go to Calvary and pay the penalty for our sin, and to rise again from death for our justification three days later, to ascend to the right hand of the Father as our advocate, to prepare for us a home in Heaven and come and receive us unto Himself and take us to Heaven forever.

How great is this salvation?  So great that God did become flesh and fled to a virgin's womb.  How great is this salvation?  So great that He was born in Bethlehem's manger, angels announced His coming, shepherds came to worship Him and wise men brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Bible says “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9). Though Christ was rich, for our sakes, He became poor. What a beautiful and magnificent statement, The Infinite became an infant .The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but "though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor."

 How great is this salvation?"All things were made by Him" (Jn. 1:3) and, as to the Creator of the worlds, all belonged to Him. All the holy creation magnified Him. “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” (Col. 1:16).Thus we see that all things on earth and all in heaven belonged to Christ. All things subjected to Him and praised Him. Yet the love of creation is by far imperfect in comparison with the surpassing love of God the Father. The Son, Jesus Christ, was the constant object of the Father’s bottomless love. And this constituted the biggest treasure of His soul. He repeatedly said: ““As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. … ” (Jn. 15:9).But somehow, looking at one of the dearest creations, the man, He saw that the man was speedily distancing from God the Father, which He no longer can get into the glorious heaven. Sin completely separated man from God. There was only one way left to reconciliation. And He, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, King of kings, Son of Eternity, to whom all things belonged, decided to become poor for our sake.

Why this salvation was so great is because of the greatness of the One who brought it to us. Because of the greatness of the price paid for our salvation. The price paid for our salvation is nothing less than the blood and death and agony of the everlasting Son of God. "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation"? This is the momentous question which the Bible puts to you and me. If anything can call ‘great’ in this world, it is the salvation of Jesus Christ our holy Lord and Saviour.

Salvation in Christ, which begins in eternity past according to the predetermined plan of God and extends into the eternal future, has three observable phases in the Bible. First Phase is the past tense of salvation—saved from sin’s penalty. “So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25). And second Phase is the present tense of salvation and has to do with present deliverance over the reigning power of sin or the carnal nature’s power in the lives of believers. “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now lives in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”(Galatians 2:20) and Third and last Phase is the future tense of salvation which refers to the future deliverance all believers in Christ will experience through a glorified resurrected body. It contemplates that, though once and for all saved from the penalty of sin and while now being delivered from the power of sin, the believer in Christ will yet be saved into full conformity to Jesus Christ. “Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it is revealed we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

God wants us to have more than an intellectual understanding of the principles of His kingdom and more than a mere awareness of His existence. His desire for man is that he might enter into a very personal and intimate relationship with his God. Beyond the shores of time and the kingdoms of this world there is a kingdom called the Heaven? It is the place where God has His great white throne, around which the angels play upon their golden harps and shout, “praise, and glory, and wisdom, and thanks and honor, and power, and strength, be to our God forever and ever.”(Revelation 7:12). The life beyond death depends on the life here. If we live in humble obedience to God on earth then we will be with Him forever in that celestial holy city of Heaven.  
Why Our Heart is Restless ?

”For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5)
One of the most famous autobiography’s in the world, St. Augustine’s Confessions, begins in this way:  “Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised . . . Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee” . Though written nearly 1,600 years ago, it still remains one of the most widely read religious works in the world. It offers keen insights into a sharp understanding of the human heart. The human soul, in all its mystery, experiences restlessness because it is alienated from the ground of its being, with God. Thus God, in his affection for us, calls us to abandon our wanderings, to stop pursuing other affections, to give up our hope in ourselves, and find peace in him. To find rest, one must ground one’s affections in God. In other words Salvation needs grounding in God and anywhere else, even in the life of the redeemed person, is unreliable

Therefore the key to excellence of life is to be centered on God’s principles. We’re not in control; God is in control. We’re arrogant when we think we are in control. Yes, we may control our actions, but not the consequences of our actions. Those are controlled by God’s eternal laws. You can make your own choice, because God has given you free will. But He has also given you a specific, custom-fitted plan for your lives. His plan for your life is different than His plan for mine. In this exciting journey, you will learn to see life from a different perspective.

God’s will is for everyman to come to the knowledge of the truth. If a person wants to be saved, he must know the truth on how he can be saved. What is this truth that all men should know in order to be saved? God is the ultimate being in existence, perfect in power, love, and character. Since God wanted to share His love with others, He created the angels and human beings—spiritual creatures who can relate to Him. Because God is love, He wants us to love Him and love other people. Scripture reveals that we are descended from Adam and Eve and their extended family. That family relationship—our becoming children of God the Father —is the heart and core of God's incredible plan for humanity! We have the priceless opportunity to be a part of that family, the family of God!

In the most-famous quotation from the Confessions, Augustine states his grand themes: “Great are you, O Lord, and exceedingly worthy of praise; our power is immense, and your wisdom beyond reckoning. And so we men, who are a due part of your creation, long to praise you – we also carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud. You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you.” 

                                        Why people search for a perfect world?

The great search is on! Multitudes are seeking a perfect world in fame and fortune, in pleasure and power, in education and knowledge, in human relationships and marriage. They desire to fill their heads with knowledge and their purses with wealth, but their souls remain empty. Others are seeking to escape the realities of life with drugs or alcohol, but the peace they seek eludes them. All their seeking only takes them in a vicious circle of frustrations and futility. They are still empty and lonely, still in a troubled world with a troubled mind. We are all daily seekers of inner peace, joy and happiness. Many search among outward and tangible things, but neglect to look within and the ultimate reality. They are afraid of what they may discover. They would like to blame a troubled world for their troubled minds, but the cure must begin within their own hearts.

The universe will unfold and become clear when we seek truth without prejudice. Knowledge is not a destination, but a journey. Our quest for the meaning of life comprises a speculative question with apprehension about our existence, its purpose and significance. Philosophers, theologians, and scientist have long sought to understand the meaning and ultimate purpose of life. With a few exceptions, psychologists have sidestepped these critical human issues.

Every culture has some kind of religion, and all faiths dealt with the question of salvation and the meaning and relevance of life. Humanity’s search for an answer to this question is one of the main reasons that people are drawn to religion. The different religions have their own views on the meaning of life and salvation. The answers, although different from religion to religion, give people's lives purpose, meaning, relevance and hope. Life meaning is important for psychological and physical health and well-being. This is one of the most powerful reasons people come to religion is to find salvation from sin. 

Researchers have only recently looked at the presence of life meaning and the search for life meaning as separate constructs. When we probe more into this we ask questions: "Who am i?" Why am i here?" "What is my role in this universe?" Is there any meaning in our existence? What happens when we die? It’s undoubtedly a human characteristic we don’t share with other animals. We possess the ability to reflect on our own thinking — and we get frustrated by our failure to understand. Our brains are programmed to see patterns — our unique ability to plan ahead and cooperate and search for causes has increased our species’ chances of survival. Since our brains have these features, it follows that we ponder over the meaning of life and other complex issues.” Whether one is an atheist, theist, agnostic or a smart mix of all three, these are haunting questions we`ve been asking since long. Some try to find answers while others remain unruffled. The reason why some are undisturbed by these questions is that the answers to these questions are various and they involve drawing from philosophy, theology, ideology and spirituality.

The Greek philosopher Socrates made this statement: "Oh that someone would arise, man or god, to show us God." In the minds of scholars, here's one of the greatest philosophers who ever lived; and yet he, himself, had beating in his own breast—and he admitted it—oh that god could come in a man and show the world god in human form.

Plato, who was one of the great students of Socrates, said, "Unless a god man comes to us and reveals to us the Supreme Being, there is no help or hope." What am I saying? I am saying I don't care who you are, I don't care what nation it is, I do not care what generation it is, there beats in man a desire to see God in flesh. Again, Plato said, "The world will never be set right." Now please listen. Plato did not know about what he was talking, but he almost hit the nail on the head. "The world will never be set right until the perfect man arises who will be persecuted, buffeted, and tied to a stake and so bring a new righteousness." That's Plato talking. he was searching for something for which all men have searched.

 Now please take note. Plato did not know about what he was talking, but he almost hit the nail on the head. Bible says “But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God; your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers “(Isaiah 59:2). “But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8) One of the greatest truths Prophet Jonah reveals in the scripture is that “Salvation and deliverance belong to the Lord!” (Jonah 2:9b.AMP)

God has built in us a restless yearning for the kind of perfect world that can only be found in a perfect rule. He has given us a glimpse of the perfection of his creation. But it is only a glimpse; we cannot see into the future or comprehend everything. So we must trust Him now and do his work on earth."  No matter what your circumstances, God can gather up the broken pieces and random elements of your life and form them into a beautiful mosaic—making you a useful vessel for His glory.

 David, the ancient Jewish king , best framed the question in its universal relevance when he addressed it to God:“When I see Your heavens, the works of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is mortal man, that You remember him, And the son of man, that You visit him?”
 David's son and successor to the throne, Solomon, received valuable wisdom regarding his father's question. Although he could not answer it, he elegantly identified its source: "God," he wrote in the poem Ecclesiastes, "has placed eternity in men's hearts." Understanding eternity to be "a divinely implanted sense of a purpose," Solomon's statement sheds much light on this mysterious purpose which we are seeking: a God who implants a sense of purpose within man must Himself be a God of purpose. In other words, Solomon's discovery implies what we have always sensed to be true but may not have had words to express: God has an eternal purpose.

What the restlessness in God's heart moved Him to do is almost beyond our power to fathom: God created man as the unique one with whom He would fulfill His purpose. God made us in His image and according to His likeness, similar to Him in every respect. For example, God is love, which is why we have a virtue called love; God is perfect, so we have an aspiration for perfection; God is just, so we have a sense of right and justice. In fact, every one of our positive attributes is a reflection of who and what God is.

But the similarity does not stop there. Perhaps our chief similarity to God is His very own sense of purpose which He duplicated in us at the time of our creation. Because He needs us for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose, He created in us a matching need for satisfaction which can only be met when His purpose is accomplished. Thus, by virtue of our creation by God, we cannot be satisfied until He fulfills His purpose. Is it any wonder that despite our accomplishments, education, entertainment, pleasure, and even religion, we are left empty and seeking? These things do not fulfill God's purpose; hence neither can they satisfy us. By replicating in man His own sense of purpose and need for satisfaction, God took a momentous step in fulfilling His eternal purpose.

Note the earlier quoted verse “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; “(Ecclesiastes 3:11) this means we are never going to be satisfied with earthly pleasures and pursuits. Because we are created in God's image, we have a spiritual thirst. We have eternal value and nothing but the eternal God can satisfy us.

What is wrong with the present world?

We live in the most revolutionary period of the world history .Yet chaos stalks the land. Things are falling apart. Moral Values cherished over the centuries are getting eroded. Nations with rich natural resources the poverty of the masses is abysmal. The haves exploit the have- notes in a hundred ingenious ways. Women and the weaker sections of society reel under injustices and handicaps. Corruption is rampant. Mindless violence maims and destroys the precious lives of the innocent. Terrorism become a nightmare to all, anti social activities are on rise. The challenges today are enormous due to economy crisis, persistent poverty, complex social issues, poor infrastructure and weak governance; these problems are well known but not well understood.  

As our minds are bombarded day after day with news of wars, oppression, famine, violent crimes and crisis upon crisis it is no wonder that we are prone to sit and utter one simple question of hopelessness, this being what is wrong with the world? The better question is what isn't wrong with the world? Does anyone have any idea how messed up the world is, and that it's our entire fault? Global warming, an unnatural disaster on the rise because we humans like to pollute the very air we breathe, and destroy the ozone layer as a result. It could be said that somewhere along the path people started losing their way. It would be difficult to pinpoint exactly when this started to happen. When one looks back through the pages of history, and if it were to be believed, there is a great deal of evidence available to show just how lost humanity has been and for how long.

British author Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874 - 1936)) has been called the “prince of paradox.” He was known for his insightful views on many issues. Time magazine observed of his writing style: “Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out.” His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy and detective fiction. The Times newspaper once had asked a number of authors to write on the topic: “What’s wrong with the world?” Chesterton’s answer at that time was the shortest of those submitted – he simply wrote.

Dear London Times,
I am.
Sincerely Yours,
G. K. Chesterton.
He was not joking. As a prominent writer, his answer was very theological.  The problem of this world will never be addressed in full until we come to understand in our minds, hearts, and soul that the problem lies first and foremost within us.

It is clear from the books, newspapers, television, Internet and the media all around the world that there is plenty to complain about. Is there a nation anywhere in the world where some faction of the population does not complain about its government? We live in a world of tremendous uncertainty and anxiety. Christ warned that as the end times were upon us that there would be times of "perplexity" on the earth and distress of nations. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” Perplexities are problems or challenges for which there seems to be no logical answer or solution. We are truly living in an age where the pages of bible prophecy are literally being fulfilled before our very eyes....and in the news! It all brings us to a concrete fact and reality— the helplessness and hopelessness of the mankind.  The holy Bible says In Jeremiah 17:9 "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”(NIT)

What is the consequence of Original sin ?

God created man and placed him with perfect order in a garden to enjoy perfect peace, joy and happiness. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed, they were at once stricken with guilt and they hid themselves with shame. Guilt and fear replaced the peace and happiness they knew. Here was the beginning of a troubled world- and a troubled mind. Like Adam and Eve, when you are out of tune with God, fears and anxieties crowd into your life. When you focus your attention on the uncertainties of life, on a changing, decaying world, your security and confidence are shaken. Your peace is disturbed. Sin has separated man from God. “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).” “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Guilt, fear, irritation, resentment, selfishness, and other hostile impulses plague man wherever he goes. They bring weariness and mental exhaustion. The love of self was at the root of the first disobedience of man. It continues to be the one of the first basic evil inclinations that takes you down the path of despair and heartache. The longer you travel the path of self-centeredness, the more troubled you become

The accounts of the first sin, which we find in the third chapter of Genesis, acquire a greater clarity in the context of creation. It begins with the conversation between the tempter, presented under the form of a serpent, and the woman. This is something completely new. Until then the Book of Genesis had not spoken of the existence in the created world of other intelligent and free beings, apart from the man and the woman. The description of creation in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis concerns the world of "visible beings." The tempter belongs to the world of "invisible beings,"  even though for the duration of this conversation he is presented by the Bible under a visible form. The human sin at the beginning of history, the primordial sin of which we read in Genesis 3, occurred under the influence of this being. The "ancient serpent" tempted the woman: "Did God say, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?'" She replied: "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman: "You shall not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:1-5). The tree "of the knowledge of good and evil" denotes the first principle of human life to which a fundamental problem is linked. The tempter knows this very well, for he says: "When you eat of will be like God, knowing good and evil."

The tree therefore signifies the insurmountable limit for man and for any creature, however perfect. The creature is always merely a creature, and not God. Certainly he cannot claim to be "like God," to "know good and evil" like God. God alone is the source of all being, God alone is absolute Truth and Goodness, according to which good and evil are measured and from which they receive their distinction. God alone is the eternal legislator, from whom every law in the created world derives, and in particular the law of human nature. As a rational creature, man knows this law and should let himself be guided by it in his own conduct. He himself cannot pretend to establish the moral law, to decide himself what is good and what is bad, independently of the Creator, even against the Creator. Neither man nor any other creature can set himself in the place of God, claiming for himself the mastery of the moral order. This is contrary to creation's own ontological constitution which is reflected in the psychological-ethical sphere by the fundamental imperatives of conscience and therefore human conduct.

God who as Creator is the sole source of the good granted to all creatures, and especially to spiritual creatures. They had contested the truth of existence, which demands the total subordination of the creature to the Creator. This truth was supplanted by an original pride, which led them to make their own spirit the principle and rule of freedom. They were the first who had claimed the power "to know good and evil like God." They had chosen themselves over God, instead of choosing themselves "in God," according to the demands of their existence as creatures, for "who is like God?" By yielding to the suggestion of the tempter, man became the slave and accomplice of the rebellious spirits!

We read in Genesis 3: "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate" (Gen 3:6).So detailed in its own way, what does this description reveal? It attests that the first man acted against the will of the Creator, under the influence of the tempter's assurance that "the fruits of this tree serve to acquire knowledge." It does not seem that man had fully accepted the totality of negation and hatred of God contained in the words of the "father of lies." Instead, he accepted the suggestion to avail himself of a created thing contrary to the prohibition of the Creator, thinking that he also “could be "like God, knowing good and evil."

Consequently Sin separated man from God and Man’s basic crisis is Separation from God. Those who break God’s law will have to pay a heavy price. Because you are a sinner, you are condemned to death. Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23). Even those who escape the consequences of sin in this world will have to face God at the judgment. There, they will not be able to escape. We already know from scripture that Satan fell into sin prior to the work of God beginning in Gen. 1:3. He was a beautiful angel originally, rejoicing at God’s Creation (Job 38:4-7), but he sinned and was judged by God (Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19). Note that Satan came to Eve in the appearance of a serpent, for he is a deceptive spirit and seldom appears to people in his true character. In Gen. 3, Satan is the serpent who deceives; in Gen. 4, he is the liar that murders (John 8:44).John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” We must take care to avoid his deceptive ways. 

The very first way Satan attacked the mind of man, is still his favorite tactic today:“Did God really say…” When Eve began to doubt what God had said, or more specifically, when she began to question if He really meant it – Satan had his foot in the door. If Satan can get us to question God’s Word – to begin to doubt what God has already said – or to ask ourselves did God really mean what He said – then He has the door wide open in our minds.  And he is cunning – crafty – and our minds are no match for his schemes.
Unfortunately it is not an isolated event at the dawn of history. How often is one confronted with facts, deeds, words and conditions of life in which the legacy of that first sin is evident! Due to the sinful nature of our attitude, we tend to blame everyone for our own misfortunes and for the evil in the world. We point our finger at our parents, our teachers, politicians but almost never at the target that we should. Yet the habit of blaming others did not begin with modern trend. Already in the Garden of Eden Adam blamed Eve and she blamed the serpent. Since then everyone has blamed everybody else, and there seems to be no end in sight for this blaming mania. However, Chesterton advices us that to take a good look at ourselves in the mirror.
This is why we need to assimilate and apply God’s Word –Psalmist says: “Thy words have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against thee.” John says, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4). (Sin is Willful breaking of law or transgression.) “All wrongdoing is sin….” (All unrighteousness is sin)  (1 John 5:17). Paul says, “….. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23). Then James declares, “So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin...” (James 4:17). Sin is also defined to be that of missing the mark. In other words, God’s law is there, but when one does not live according to it or when one breaks it, he misses the mark – that is SIN.

Why God’s Love is so magnificent?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”(John 3:16)

The very reason for creation, the purpose for which God made us and the most complete life, is found in the Holy Scripture. God created the world for His glory. He created it to make His glory known. Or in other words, He created the world in order to display the infinite worth of His attributes. He wants to show how beautifully perfect He is, to begin looking into this; we need to go all the way back to Genesis 1:26-28. “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

 God created man in His image. That means that God created mankind in such a way that they will reflect God's image (His glory). To reflect God's image is to reflect His greatness, His excellence, His beauty. He then commands Adam and Eve to "Be fruitful and multiply." He wants them to fill the earth with His image. So then, the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. Isaiah 43:7 very bluntly states why Israel was created. It says, "Everyone who is called by my name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom, I have made." We were created for God's glory. Genesis 5:3 says that the first man Adam later "begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth." So God was essentially reproducing Himself through humanity. Hence “We are the offspring of God." Therefore God’s purpose goes far beyond the creation of mortal, perishable human beings. He is in the process of fashioning and forming "a new creation" fathering His own spiritual children—immortal and incorruptible children instilled with His very nature and character. The more we understand just what that means, the more spellbound we will become—at not only the majesty of God's salvation and mystery of his purpose but at what this bring about for each of us personally. Psalm 8:3-4 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? .
This desire and love in God's heart not only moved Him to create us. It also urged Him to go through a process so that He could enter into us and make us His expression. He, the infinite God, humbled Himself to become a finite human being named Jesus Christ. In Him, all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt, and through Him, all the fullness of the Godhead was expressed. Everything He did, said, and thought was a pure expression of God in humanity. This brought the highest delight to God, for in Jesus Christ, His eternal purpose began to be fulfilled in that a man was fully expressing God. Then the Lord Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified on a wooden cross in order that through death, the God-expressing life that resided within Him could be released and made available to us. He then resurrected from the dead to become the life-giving Spirit. As the life-giving Spirit, God is able to dispense everything that He is and has into us so that we can become exactly what He is—the expression of God in humanity. Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.

God is constantly initiating and seeking man to come to him. Malcolm Muggeridge, socialist and philosophical author, wrote, "I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued." C.S. Lewis said he remembered, "...night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England."Lewis went on to write a book titled, "Surprised by Joy" as a result of knowing God.

God created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us. Hence nobody can really escape thinking about the possibility of God. God's first question asked in Genesis 3:9. Adam and Eve had just eaten some fruit from the forbidden tree and, sensing God's presence in the Garden of Eden, they hid among the trees. While they were hiding, God asked Adam a one-word question “Where are you?" It is a really great and short question, but in order to apprehend its greatness we must first get beyond the initial and justified reaction that this is a simple question. How, we have every right to ask, is it that the omniscient Lord of the universe, the One who spoke and the world came into being, the One who set the stars in their places and the sun in its course, the One who said to the ocean, this shall be your boundary, the God of all vision-how could it be that such a God had to ask Adam where he was?

The first question in the Bible teaches us that God seeks to ask His people questions. The Lord God asked, “Where are you, Adam?”  It is a question that echoes through history, “Where are you?” A question asked of every human being at every time and in every place, “Where are you? How did you get there? What have you become?” The answer added nothing to God’s knowledge, but it helped Adam understand where he was and it made clear his predicament. We need to know where we are. We need to know the difference between our illusions and His reality. God asks the deep questions because we avoid asking them. Where are you?  I was hiding behind a tree because I knew my nakedness. We have learned to hide behind so many other trees. 

The whole Bible is the story of God seeking man. Man is on the run before God because he knows that he is guilty before God. However, God comes and seeks us and wants to reestablish a relationship of mutual love. It is God who takes all necessary steps to make this possible again. That is the story of the Bible from the first to the last book where we finally read about the new heaven and the new earth: "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God." (Revelation 21:3)

 The questions that God asks are not so much for His sake as they are for us. God wants to draw us near to Himself, and to search and know us. God delights in His children coming to Him and hearing Him as He speaks by His Spirit through His Word. He wants to speak to us, and for us to learn to listen to Him (Deut. 6:4; Prov. 2:1ff).When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they had gone their own way. They had lived according to their own plans, and done what was right in their own eyes Gen. 3:1-7. They had willingly broken fellowship and communion with God. Rather than truly listening and learning from their wonderful Creator and LORD, they chose to do their own will. Yet God graciously came to our first parents, and sought them out, even when they were not looking for Him! The Bible tells us that God came “walking in the garden in the cool of the day”(Gen. 3:8). Rather than join God for fellowship as would have been their normal practice and delight, Adam and Eve actually sought to hide from God because of the fear and shame that sin produces. Sin may cause us to hide from God, but in His mercy God seeks after His own.

Adam’s reaction to sin is the same reaction of man today.  The moment an individual is out of communion with God, he/she wants to hide from Him. When God originally placed Adam and Eve in the garden, they were in communion with their Creator.  Moses writes that God talked with Adam. But now that he has fallen, Adam has no desire to see his Creator; he has lost communion with his God, he cannot bear to see Him, and he runs to hide from God. But to his hiding place his Maker follows him. “Where are you?”

Several thousand years have passed away since the creation of the heavens and the earth, and yet this text in Genesis 3:9 has come rolling down the ages.    This verse has resonated through the ages, especially the question that God asked Adam: “Where are you?”  It is well for individuals to pause and to ask themselves the same question that God asked Adam and Eve.  Where do you stand in your relationship to God?  One must come to grips with his/her spiritual status. Have you asked yourself the question that God asked Adam? If not, why not? Whether you are an old man or young, you will soon be in another world.  Since this is so, then one must reconsider his or her life by confronting the question head-on: “Where are you?”

Satan, sin and shame may drive us away from God, but God intends by grace to draw His dear children near to Him! (John 6:37, 44; James 4:8).John Calvin wrote: “No one will dedicate himself to God until he be drawn by His goodness, and embrace Him with all his heart. He must therefore call us to Him before we call upon Him; we can have no access till He first invites us…allured and delighted by the goodness of God.”What grace we behold in God coming to speak to the hearts of our first parents- -and to our hearts today!

God comes to us and asks us the question “Where are you?” so that we can see our need for Him and turn to Him and be restored from our sinfulness. God graciously promises His people that if we will turn to Him, He promises that He will have mercy on us and forgive us. God desires to restore His relationship to mankind that was broken by the fall. God desires to restore you to communion with Him right now. God asks us the question “Where are you?” so that we will be brought to see our sins and repent of them, finding grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:14-16).

Love is what we all want. To be loved is the most amazing thing that can happen to you. Where can you go to feel completely accepted? Where can you look to find unconditional love? There is only one place where love never disappoints. The picture of pure, passionate love is caught in the frame of Jesus loving you while hanging on the cross. God made His love visible in Christ. And Jesus showed that love is measure not merely by feeling, but by sacrifice. How can you know pure love? Imagine asking Jesus, “How much do you love me?” He would stretch out His arms, with His nail-pierced hands, and say, “This much”. You can experience His pure love. You can’t deny it or make up for it. So how do you get free from your guilt? Can anyone help? Your sin and guiltiness had to be punished and paid for. That’s how serious God is about your guilt. Jesus was brutally beaten and killed because that is what it took for us to be forgiven of our sins. It was an enormous cost that He was willing to pay for you.

Ask to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift that Jesus freely extends to you- but you must accept it for it to be yours. You can experience complete forgiveness. Where can you turn to experience ultimate wholeness? What has God done to make it possible for one to be saved from sin:  God seeing that man was in sin, lost, and without hope, then He sent His Son into this world to die on the Cross that man might be saved.  
No one who is not saved from sin here can be saved from hell hereafter. No one can see the kingdom of Heaven above, unless the kingdom of God be in him below. Whoever will reign with Christ in heaven must have Christ reigning in him on earth. Therefore let our whole life flow out in a trend with the word of God, until it wears a channel in holiness and Divine communion and character. If you are born of God, if God has planted in you divine life, which, in theology is called regeneration. If there has been a birth from God, there will also be growth from God.

Why Salvation is found only in Jesus?

 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."(Mathew 1:21)

The birth of Jesus in a little town of Bethlehem forever changed the history of the world. This was not an ordinary birth! The remarkable signal and subsequent proceedings were the evidence that Jesus Christ is the most unique personality ever lived in all history.The Old Testament prophets predicted Christ’s coming.  The Angel Gabriel announced His arrival. The Angelic host sang a chorus for Him at his birth.  The brightest star marked His presence.  The Wise men came to worship Him. The Shepherds came to honor Him.  The Priests knew from the Scripture that He was coming. Jerusalem was troubled at His coming.  Simeon, the just and wise man in the Jerusalem temple took Jesus in his arms and blessed God and said “Lord….my eyes have seen your salvation…which you have prepared before the face of all people. However, His coming into the world was not the beginning of Jesus. He was the word that was in the beginning. He came from eternity. He always was and is eternal God. He came from glory, the glory that was before the world ever was (John 17:5). He temporarily laid aside His glory and took a body, through the Virgin Mary, to live in long enough to die for the sins of the world. C. S. Lewis said it well: "The Son of God became a man that men might become sons of God." God became a man so that you might become God's child.

God’s wrath against our sin is the fundamental problem the gospel addresses. Jesus died on the cross as a propitiation, a sacrifice that turns away God’s wrath (Rom 3:25:1 jn.2:2, 4:10) in order that we would be saved through faith in him.

After acknowledging and confessing of sins the sinner must realize that he needs salvation and Jesus is the only One who can save him. (John 14;6; Acts 4;12).The shedding of blood and sacrifice was legally necessary to atone for man’s sins. God chose crucifixion to break man’s heart over his sin and show the seriousness of his sin. Through the Cross, God is just in that he rightfully discourages sin, but at the same time, he extends the opportunity for mercy and forgiveness.

The Bible tells us that sin came into the world when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God's commandment. Romans 5:12 says “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned”- and since then only one person was able to claim that he was without sin. The scriptures are very careful to present Jesus as sinless at all times 2 Cor.5:2; 1 Pt. 2:22; 1 Jn.3:5. Bible says in Heb.4:15: "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin."

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all men.”  (1 Tim. 2:5-6).

With regards to the concept of salvation, there are several underlined facts in the concept of the man. One of the concepts is that he is capable enough to save himself. In other words, he can save himself by his own efforts.  Let me make it very clear here that no man is able to save himself. Example -- You may suppose that I had slept and fell into a deep river and I do not know swimming. For some time, I fell in the water and there I attempt to catch my own hair in order to save myself. As you know it is practically impossible for me to catch hold of my own hair and lift myself.  In this manner, a miserable man who is sinking in drunkenness, drugs, unrighteousness, superstition, immorality, terrorism, corruption, half truths, wickedness, adultery, idolatry, dead traditions, brainwashing and evil imagination. Man who is sinking in the evil and sinful sea, you cannot save yourself from the trap you are caught in. Now a rat that fell in a trap, how much struggle and efforts it makes even though blood and water come out, it cannot escape from the trap. As a matter of fact, you are by the things that defeats you, and you get defeated and the things that subject your body, mind and soul, you know it well that you are the slave of these things, those things, neither can you save yourself nor you can save by the various efforts of your own body that which is inferior. Jesus Christ, the son of God,  loves us and gave Himself up for us, that He might redeem us from all wickedness.(Eph.5:2, Titus 2:14).

Scripture also teaches that no amount of human goodness, human works, human morality, or religious activity can gain acceptance with God or get anyone into heaven.  The moral men, religious man, immoral and non-religious are all in the same boat. They all fall short of God’s perfect righteousness. After discussing the immoral man, the moral man, and the religious man in Romans 1:18-3:8, the Apostle Paul declares that both Jews and Greeks are under sin, that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom. 3:9-10). No amount of human goodness is as good as God. God is perfect in righteousness. Because of this, No sinner can ever enter God’s holy heaven (Rev.21:27) through our own good works or by trying to be good we cannot take away even one sin (Isa. 64:6). The punishment for sin is the lake of fire, the second death (Hell).  Rev.21:8; 20: 11-15  A place of eternal suffering. Mat. 13:41,42.In the Bible God gives us the plan of how to be born again which means to be saved. His plan is simple! You can be saved today. But God loved each of us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to bear our sin and die in our place. “God demonstrates His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Although we cannot understand how, God said our sins were laid upon Jesus and He died in our place. Jesus became our substitute.

Jesus came to do more than forgive you of your sin, He also came to make you whole. Jesus’ forgiveness shows that He loves you as you are. Jesus’ healing shows He loves you too much to leave you as you are. He wants to make you whole. Jesus said, ”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”(John 14:27) A person may almost be known by the person he admire most and the books he reads. The Bible is the light that shines the image of Christ upon the soul. The way of the Bible is the way of God, and is therefore the true path of life. Our desire and prayer should be, “let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,” (Psa. 90:17).  “What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah.6:8).

Jesus came to be the forgiver of your soul and the leader of your life. He can put your life back together. He can help you trust, dream, and love again without fear. He will take you hole-hearted life and turn it into wholehearted passion. Confident hope for eternal life is only found in the One who died and came back from the dead- Jesus. Now he holds the keys of death and can raise you- and those you love- from the dead too! Because of Jesus, our “goodbyes” can be changed to “See you again!”You can experience everlasting life. Jesus is knocking at your heart’s door. He is extending an invitation to you to open your heart and let Him come in. You can open your heart and experience pure Love, Complete forgiveness, Absolute Wholeness, and Everlasting Life.

How, then, shall we escape if we pay no attention to such a great salvation?

 "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" The author places a large responsibility upon the reader. He says 'we must pay much closer attention. Now this is a sobering word for the world, because most people do neglect the greatness of salvation. (Hebrews 2:1-4)

Salvation;--the very term imports safety or deliverance from great impending evil. If there be no such evil, there is then no meaning to this term--no real salvation. The writer is speaking of the salvation declared in the gospel; and the idea that immediately suggested its greatness is the greatness of its author and revealer. It is because Jesus Christ by whom this gospel came is so great, compared with angels that the writer conceives of this salvation as pre-eminently great and glorious.

 What is it really—this great salvation? What he's really saying is: Don't neglect being loved by God. Don't neglect being forgiven and accepted and protected and strengthened and guided by Almighty God. Don't neglect the sacrifice of Christ's life on the cross. Don't neglect the free gift of righteousness imputed by faith. Don't neglect the removal of God's wrath and the reconciled smile of God. Don't neglect the indwelling Holy Spirit and the fellowship and friendship of the living Christ. Don't neglect the radiance of God's glory in the face of Jesus. Don't neglect the free access to the throne of grace. Don't neglect the inexhaustible treasure of God's promises. This is a great salvation. Neglecting it is very evil. We will not neglect our eternal joy in God—which is what salvation is. We will gouge out our eyes rather than be lured away from eternal life.

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? There are at least two reasons you might neglect something. One is that it is not really great, and so you neglect it and spend your time and energy on something that you think is really great. The other is that, even though it might be really great, you may not have access to sufficient evidence that it really is great. In the first case, you may know the salvation, but you don't think it is so great. In the second case, you neglect it because you don't know the salvation. How many people do you know who give serious, sustained attention to the salvation accomplished by Christ—who love it, and think about it, and meditate on it, and marvel at it, and feel continual gratitude for it, and commend it to others as valuable, and weave it into all the lesser things of their lives, and set their hopes on it? Do you live this way? Is there a sense of greatness in your mind about your salvation? To neglect our great salvation is to come into judgment and there will be no escape.

There are four stages of witness:"It was at the first spoken through the Lord," it implies that God the Father was the first speaker of this salvation. Then the second witness is the Mediator, the go-between, Christ Jesus. "It was at first spoken through the Lord," that is, through Jesus. This is a reference to the earthly ministry of Jesus as he taught and healed and cast out demons and preached the kingdom of God and died and rose again. So the great salvation was spoken by God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. Therefore whatever stamp God the Father leaves on this testimony bears witness to its divine origin and whatever stamp the Lord Jesus leaves on it bears witness to its endorsement by the Son.

The third witness in the sequence is mentioned "those who heard." Heard what? Heard what was spoken by the Lord. In other words, he is referring to the eyewitnesses, the apostles, those who had spent time with Jesus and heard him teach and heard him tell the storm to be still and heard him command demons to come out of people and heard him stump the Pharisees, and heard him teach the incomparable words of the Sermon on the Mount and heard him interpret the Old Testament, and heard him make stupendous claims about his own resurrection and his purpose to ransom many from sin, and heard him speak from a resurrected body and command them to go and make disciples of all nations.

These were the ones who had come to preach to the readers of this letter. The readers had heard the stories of Jesus from the very mouths of eyewitnesses. They had heard God and they had heard Jesus by hearing the very witnesses who were there when God spoke through his Son, Jesus Christ.

So the great salvation was "confirmed" by these eyewitnesses. Without these witnesses there would be no faith. These witnesses are the indispensable link to the speaking of God the Father and of Jesus Christ. The firmness of our faith rests on these witnesses. Without them there would be no rock to stand on. These are the foundation. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ—but a word mediated by personal eyewitnesses.

The fourth witness in this series is again God himself. The sequence begins with God and ends with God. "God also bearing witness with them [that is, with the eyewitnesses], both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will." God spoke the great salvation into being through Jesus, and now God comes in again to witness to his own word and work.

The way he witnesses is through signs and wonders and miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit. In other words, when the apostles came to preach and witness to what they had seen and heard, God enabled them to do miracles and he poured out on the new believers gifts of the Spirit. This was God's added testimony to the message of his great salvation.

Now here's the key question. How do all these witnesses give a firm foundation to our faith in God's great salvation? Two things have to happen to move from skepticism to a well-grounded faith: first, a testimony has to make clear something real—the historical and moral and spiritual quality of the reality has to be portrayed clearly; and second, the mind of the listener has to be careful and clean and humble enough to perceive and embrace what is real. In other words, coming to a valid conviction about truth from a testimony is ultimately the coherence or harmony between the mind's view of trustworthiness on the one hand, and the witness's embodiment and presentation of reality on the other hand.
It is great in its very nature. It is salvation from death in sin.

One of the great facts is given us by human consciousness--that men are dead in sin. Every man knows this. We all know that apart from God's quickening spirit, we have no heart to love God. Each sinner knows that, whatever may be his powers as a moral agent, yet, left to himself, there is in him a moral weakness that effectually shuts him off from salvation, save as God interposes with efficient help. Hence the salvation that meets him in this weakness and turns him effectually to love and to please God, must be intrinsically great.
Again, it is great because it delivers from endless sinning and suffering.

Observe again, this salvation is not merely negative--a salvation from sin and from suffering: it has also a positive side. On this positive side, it includes perfect holiness and endless blessedness. It is not only deliverance from never-ending and ever-accumulating woe;--it is also endless bliss--exceeding in both kind and degree, all we can conceive in this life. This is not the world to realize the full bliss of unalloyed purity. There will be sin around us;--there will yet be some sad traces of it within us. Yet who of us does not sometimes catch a distinct view of that purity and blessedness which we know reigns in heaven? Most blessed views there are, yet no doubt dim and weak, compared with the great reality. When that bliss shall be perfect--when nothing more is left us to desire, but every desire of our soul is filled to its utmost capacity, and we shall have the full assurance that this blessedness must increase with the expansion of our powers and with our advance in knowledge as we gaze with ever growing interest into the works of the great God;--this will be heaven! All this is only one side--the positive side of that blessedness which comes with this great salvation.

Now set yourselves to balance these two things one against the other; an ever-growing misery and an ever-growing blessedness. Find some measuring line by which you can compare them.

According to the Bible, this blessedness of the holy is the full fruition of God's love. Hence the bliss which it involves can be nothing short of infinite. It can have no limit. A really comprehensive view of what it will be would be overpowering. This salvation is life's great work. If not made such, it had best be left alone. To put it in any other relation is worse than nothing. If you make it second to anything else, your course will surely be ineffectual--a lie, a delusion, a damnation! Are you giving your attention effectually to this great subject? This is the message that demands our closest attention. People have all degrees of attention. Some people pay very close attention, some people pay less attention, and some people pay no attention at all. We have all been in a situation where we were in a conversation, and suddenly our mind wanders off. Instead of listening to the person talking, we begin to think about what we did last night, or what we are going to have for dinner. Then, just as suddenly, we come back to the conversation and realize we haven't heard a word. We have no idea what that person has just said because we haven't been listening.

This is what the writer to the Hebrews is concerned about. He is disturbed that people will hear the material presented, but they won't pay attention. He is warning us to pay attention 'lest we drift away from it.' This phrase literally means to 'slide past,' or 'drift past' something. The picture is of a boat that drifts by the safety of the harbor because the crew is not paying attention to where they are sailing. Suddenly, the boat drifts by the harbor, and the boat, with nowhere to go but into the open sea, is doomed to destruction.

Now the question remains, 'How do we know this salvation is true? How do we know that Christ died for our sins, and God will forgive us if we believe?' The reason people do not believe is because people do not pay attention to the revelation. God has given the authority for the message of salvation. The author says, 'After it was at the first spoken through the Lord...' The unmistakable message of salvation through Christ was not spoken by men. It was spoken for the very first time, through our Lord Himself. Luke 19:10 declares this truth. Jesus says, 'For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.' In like manner, Matthew 20:28 declares '...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.' Jesus Christ Himself announced that He came to earth to pay the price for the sins of those who will believe in His work and person.

All of these facts point to the fact that the Gospel is the superior message from God. It supersedes all other revelation given through the prophets or through the angels. Furthermore, the revelation of Christ is God's final revelation. When Christ sat down at the right hand of God, it was a clear display of the finality of the revelation that God has given to us. We have all we need for salvation and righteousness.

Where are you? Have you come to realize that the message of Christ is superior? Have you placed your faith in His person and work? If you have not done this, is there a reason? Or are you one who does not pay attention to the message of Christ? Remember, if you do not pay attention now, you are putting yourself in grave danger of drifting by His safe harbor. When that happens, there is no place left to go but to eternity in a very real and very horrible hell.

 If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior. Jesus Christ is our living, breathing sign of the immeasurable love that God has had for all of us from the very beginning. Christ is the living promise that we are never ever alone.  No matter where we are in life, no matter in what condition we find ourselves, no matter how far we might stray away, or how unfaithful we are, God, the supreme lover, will pursue us in love for eternity! It’s a love that never stops shining. Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin. Only through him can we find true love and hope for this life and the life to come. This hope of eternal life can be yours today simply by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour.

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