Over the last four weeks, I have sought to read and reflect on twenty of the most important questions asked in the Bible. God has asked me questions. I have asked God questions. Indeed, I feel like this exercise has been a rather probing experience, challenging me on a whole number of different fronts and pushing me to evaluate what it is I believe and where I stand with God. The journey has taken me across the pages of both the Old and New Testaments and forced me to consider a wide range of topics–from sin and salvation to second birth and sanctification. What’s more, I have encountered a few surprises along the way. As is the way with a good teacher, I feel like God has been using these great questions from the Bible to teach me valuable lessons–lessons about who He is, about who I am, about where I need to grow, about where my passions lie, about what my understanding is, about what I need to explore further. It has been quite a time-consuming project that I set myself, but I hope and I pray that God would use it to encourage a constant prayerful dialogue, in which we are always asking questions of each other. I want to ever be searching after Him, but I also want to be made ever more open to the ways He searches me.
“How can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” This final question seems an especially appropriate note on which to finish this series given what I have just said. If I am indeed to grow in my relationship with God, as those able to converse freely with one another, then I will need to become more and more attentive to Him. God has so graciously offered me a way out of my life of sin and into the life He made me for, life with Him. I want to make sure I don’t miss out on that abundant life because I’m not paying attention. A very wise friend of mine said that discipleship simply means spending time with Jesus. Well, that’s what I want to do. And as the author to the letter to the Hebrews points out, spending time with Jesus means spending time with “the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being.” Jesus Christ is the One through whom God has definitively spoken and it is for that reason that we must be very careful not to neglect His message. If God spoke His message of salvation through lesser messengers than Jesus and expected people to take action accordingly, how much more so ought we sit up and take notice when the message of salvation comes straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak)?
“How can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” What hope of rescue do we have from a life of insecurity, fear and alienation from God, if we reject the One who comes to rescue us from all of those things? If you’re drowning and the lifeguard throws you a line, you take it, or else you can’t expect one to come from another source. How often does a free pardon for sin and the offer of new life with God come along? If we turn our backs on it, we have only ourselves to blame. The fact is that there are very real consequences for neglecting the great salvation before us in Jesus Christ. By grace, God allows us make of His Good News what we will, even though He will never stop going after us. The point is, however, that God could not have made His message any clearer than it is now. Jesus is as much of God as we can ever hope to see; He is the ultimate revelation of who God is and what God is about. If we are waiting for something or someone to make the message of God more concrete, we will be waiting a very long time because Jesus is it. The necessity, therefore, of paying attention to Jesus is paramount.
“How can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” The answer is: we can’t. The word ‘neglect’ implies carelessness, lack of diligence, the simple failure to focus on the task at hand. A garden may look neglected if we don’t spend time and effort outside cultivating it. Are we doing that with our salvation? Are we neglecting the great salvation before us in Christ simply because we’re being careless, because we’re ignoring what’s most important, and because we’re failing to spend time with Jesus who is the Author of our salvation? Salvation is, first and foremost, an encounter with Jesus. Therefore, let us seek to encounter Jesus more and more, and then we may learn first-hand that He is indeed “the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being.”
Lord Jesus, you know how prone we are to wander from You. Give us grace not to neglect Your Presence in our midst, for You alone are our salvation. Amen.