How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord…
I. The word of the gospel which is preached to us, is THE WORD OF SALVATION.
1. It reveals and announces salvation. It tells us of God's method of recovery for lost, guilty, sinful man. The gospel is the only revelation of saving mercy. Reason could never have discovered it. Philosophy never could have descried a scheme like this. Nature could never have given us any just conceptions of this subject. We see much of the goodness of God in the brightness of the sun, and in the descent of the shower; in the flowers which cover the earth; but not one word of salvation; not a syllable which relates to the restoration of man, and his deliverance from the deserved wrath which his apostasy has incurred.
2. Instrumentally it effects salvation. It brings salvation near, both to the understanding and to the heart.
3. It is the ordained means of perfecting and preparing the soul for the enjoyment of consummate bliss.
II. This salvation, announced and revealed and brought near in the gospel, is inconceivably GREAT. The apostle does not attempt to describe its greatness; but he wraps up the whole magnificence of his theme in this expression, "so great salvation."
1. Think of the stupendous contrivance in which it originated; and it will be found a great salvation.
2. Look at the methods which have been adopted in order to render this salvation sure. Nothing less than the achievements of the eternal Son.
3. Think of the agency employed in securing the application and saving efficacy of this salvation — the Holy Spirit.
4. Think of the all-sufficient credentials and Divine attestations, by which the gospel is recommended to us; and you will easily perceive that it is, ill my text, most justly described.
5. Consider the richness and amplitude of its provisions.
6. I only refer, finally, to the ultimate end which it proposes to effect on behalf of all who are interested it, its benefits. That end is the resurrection of the body from the dust; the glorification of the entire Church; the subjugation of all evil; an eternity of unimaginable bliss.
III. I am to prove to you that THOSE who NEGLECT IT have not the remotest prospect of escape from the entire and hopeless ruin which such neglect inevitably involves.
1. Everything in the reason of the case forbids the hope of escape. Because God Himself has devised this method of recovery; He has revealed it; He has offered it; He has told us plainly, "Neither is there salvation in any other" than Christ. They who neglect this salvation, then, most perish, upon every principle of equity, and upon every principle of reason. There is a storm gathering. Divine mercy has provided a shelter. You neglect it; and the thunderbolt strikes you prostrate to the ground.
2. Everything in the character of God forbids the hope of an escape. He is a God of justice; and will never compromise the claims of equity in complaisance to the negligence and unbelief of His creatures.
3. There is, moreover, nothing in the Word of God which affords the slightest ground of expectation that this method of salvation discarded any other will be provided. (Hebrews 10:26.) Lessons:
1. Admire and adore the riches of Divine grace in having provided such a salvation for lost man.
2. How full of terror is this subject to you who are neglecting this salvation.
3. How happy are they who have reached the final end and ultimate enjoyment of that salvation of which we have been hearing; who have "believed to the salvation of the soul."
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;