So Great Salvation!

by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 15 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Salvation is More than Being Saved)

Hebrews 2:3, "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."  The above verse is one of the most misinterpreted in the Bible.  The usual interpretation is that if one neglects being saved, he will not escape the wrath of God.  The truth of the matter is that this verse does not primarily apply to the unsaved.  The book of Hebrews was written to Hebrew Christians admonishing them to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is a book exhorting them not to turn back but to go forward and be all that their potential would allow them to be in the will of God.

The illustration that is used in Hebrews is that of the Israelites.  They were in the land of Egypt, which is a symbol of the natural man, the unsaved man.  Through the Passover lamb and the crossing of the Red Sea they entered into the wilderness, which is a picture of salvation.  Their journey across the wilderness symbolizes the Christian who is not yet Spirit-filled, but the fact that they would journey across the wilderness as they were going from Egypt toward the Promised Land symbolizes growth in grace.  Then the Promised Land is a symbol of the Spirit-filled life.  These three places-Egypt, the wilderness and Canaan represent three types of people in the world as far as their relationship with God is concerned: the natural man (unsaved), the carnal Christian, and the spiritual Christian.

I Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."  I Corinthians 3:1-3, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?"

The Israelites had crossed the Red Sea.  Now they are saved from Egypt and they are marching through the wilderness toward the land of Canaan.  They come to a place called Kadesh-Barnea.  Twelve spies are sent out to view the land of Canaan and to bring back a report concerning the feasibility of the Israelites entering into the land and conquering it.  These twelve spies return with glowing reports of the magnificence of the land.  They tell that it is a land that flows with milk and honey.  They bring back samplings of the grapes and pomegranates and speak glowingly concerning Canaan's land. However, they bring a negative report.  They declare that the people are giants in the land of Canaan and that the Israelites are grasshoppers in comparison.  The report is that they cannot possess the land and the recommendation is that they not attempt to do so.  The people followed them and accepted their recommendation.  Because of this, all the people over 20 years of age were consigned to the wilderness for the rest of their lives, and only those under 20 would ever have a chance to see the Promised Land.  There were two exceptions to this, however.  Those exceptions were Joshua and Caleb, for they were the only two of the twelve spies who felt the land could be possessed!

Because the Israelites refused to enter into the land, God sent them in the wilderness to wander for 40 years and then to die without ever seeing their dream fulfilled of entering into the land chosen for them.

This is what God called "neglecting" so great salvation.  These people had so great a salvation--so great that they had been delivered from Egypt with the Passover lamb; so great that they had crossed the Red Sea on dry ground; so great that the armies of Egypt had been drowned in that same Red Sea as they pursued the Israelites; so great that God gave them manna from Heaven daily; so great that God gave them water from the rock in Horeb as it was smitten by the rod of Moses; so great that they were led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; so great that God came to the Holy of Holies in the form of the Shekinah Glory and dwelt with His people over the mercy seat in the tabernacle. It was a "so great salvation."

However, they neglected that salvation!  Because they did, they never entered into the land of Canaan.  This is the illustration that God uses to warn us.  He is reminding us that if we neglect the salvation that we have, we will never be what we could have been.  He is reminding us that there is only one chance to be our very best.  This is not to say that God does not still love us and cannot still use us if we do not seize upon the one great opportunity that is ours.  Though the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and never got to enter into the Promised Land, they still were led by the pillar of fire by night and the pillar of cloud by day, and they still ate the manna that came each morning from Heaven.  God still loved them.  They were still His children.  They never entered back into Egypt (natural man), but they never achieved that great purpose for their lives.

The same is true with the child of God today.  When he receives Christ as Saviour, he enters into the life of growth in grace.  He is a Christian, but he is still somewhat carnal and a babe in Christ.  He continues to grow as he reads the Bible, prays, fellowships with God's people, is faithful to church, etc.  Then the big opportunity presents itself He can either become the Spirit-filled Christian God intended him to become and the success that he wants to be, or he can refuse his one big opportunity and go back into mediocrity.  He has neglected so great salvation.

This neglecting of so great salvation is not that of the unsaved man neglecting being saved; it is that of the saved man neglecting the salvation that he has.

When our oldest daughter, Becky, was a freshman in high school she asked me if I would buy her a Hammond organ.  Of course, I could not afford such an expensive gift.  It was Christmastime; it was hard to say, "No," but I could not afford a $1600 gift just for one child.  During her four years of high school Becky asked me each Christmas for a Hammond organ.  Finally, during her senior year at Christmastime, I bought her a Hammond organ.  I paid $40 down and promised to pay $40 a month until it was paid in full.  On Christmas morning the door opened and in came a beautiful Hammond organ.  "Oh, Daddy, I love it!  I love it!  You are the best daddy in the whole world!" she cried.  She was so happy.  I then sat down and said to her, "Puddin', this organ is yours.  It is a gift from your dad, but woe be to you if you neglect it!  You practice.  You keep it dusted and polished, and if you neglect it, there is punishment awaiting."  God comes to the Christian and says to him, "Salvation is a gift.  It is the greatest gift ever given to mankind.  I want you to have it. It is yours to enjoy and to keep forever, but woe be to you if you neglect it.  You will not escape My punishment, My chastisement or My wrath if you neglect the salvation that you have."

When our youngest daughter, Cindy, was seven years of age she came to me at Christmastime and said, "Daddy, would you buy me a new bicycle for Christmas?"  I went to the best bicycle shop in the Calumet region and picked out the best bicycle for a seven-year-old girl.  At that time the best bicycle for a seven-year-old girl cost $69.95, and at that time my salary was less than $ 100 a week, so it was a great investment.  On Christmas morning the door was opened and the bicycle rolled in. "Oh, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!  That's the prettiest bicycle in all the world.  I love you!  I love you!  I love you!" she said. (I guess there is not a happier time humanly speaking in a person's life than the time he gets his first brand-new bicycle.  Most of us still remember the day when we fixed our eyes upon our first brand-new bicycle.)  We had a wonderful Christmas. It was a warm day for the Midwest, and we enjoyed riding Cindy's bicycle.

Two weeks passed.  I was preaching one night in Denver, Colorado.  I flew back during the night and got back to my house about three o'clock in the morning.  It was 20' below zero, 20 inches of snow had fallen, and the drifts were much higher than that.  As I drove in the driveway guess what I saw sticking out of the snow!  You guessed it!  A little bit of the handlebar of the best bicycle for a seven-year-old in Lake County, Indiana.  Did I dig the bicycle out of the snow?  Not on your life!  I ran upstairs, opened the door to Cindy's room, turned on the light, grabbed her by the nap of her pajamas, held her eyeball to eyeball and said, "Young lady, how should you escape if you neglect so great a bicycle?  I paid sixty-nine hard-earned dollars and ninety-five hard-earned cents and bought for you the best bicycle that I could find for a young lady your age in this county, and you have neglected that great gift.  Now get out of bed, get on your boots, your coat, your hat, go out in the garage, get the shovel and dig that bicycle out of the snow!"

That is exactly what God is saying to us.  He is saying, "I have given you such an amazing, marvelous gift of salvation.  How dare you neglect it!  How dare you rob Me of the tithes and offerings!  How dare you leave your prayer closet empty day after day!  How dare you leave the Bible unread and unloved!  How dare you be unfaithful to God's house!  How dare you live as the world, speak as the world, sing your rock music, and follow the unisex movement in your dress!  How dare you drink your liquor, smoke your cigarettes, have your heart filled with envy, covetousness and bitterness!  How dare you not give your all to Me in the light of the so great salvation that I have given to you!"

Now just how great is this salvation?  It is so great that before the world began, God in His foreknowledge looked down and saw the fall of man.  In eternity's cabinet meeting, Jesus volunteered to leave Heaven and come to earth to become a man, to fulfill and fill-full the law, to go to Calvary and pay the penalty for our sin, and to rise again for our justification 72 hours later, to ascend to the right hand of the Father as our Intercessor, 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.

How great is this salvation?  So great that for 33 homesick years Jesus lived away from the Father.  Foxes had their holes; birds had their nests, but He had no place to lay His head.  He was expelled from His own synagogue, forced to leave the city of His birth.  He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  He was betrayed by one of His twelve, wrongly tried by Pilate, scourged by the cat-o'-nine-tails until Isaiah tells us that one could not even tell that His body was that of a human being.  How great is this salvation?  So great that after His scourging, a cross was laid on His back, and He was forced to carry it up Calvary.  So great that when He bent beneath the load, Simon of Cyrene carried His cross to the top of the hill.  How great is this salvation?  So great that He was placed on that cross and nailed to it as a common criminal.  How great is this salvation?  So great that the cross was lifted between Heaven and earth, one point pointing to the Hell from which He saves us, another pointing to the Heaven to which He saves us, the other two pointing to the east and the west saying that everybody that way and everybody that way can be saved from Hell to Heaven by what is transpiring on the cross.  How great is this salvation?  So great that on the cross He cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"  He dipped His own soul into the torments of Hell and paid the penalty for your sins and mine!

How great is this salvation?  So great that Jesus was laid in Joseph's tomb and rose after three days and three nights.  How great is this salvation?  So great that He ascended back to the Father and even now sits on the fight hand of God as our Advocate, our Intercessor, our Mediator, our Daysman, our Go-between, our Attorney, our Lawyer!

How great is this salvation?  So great that He is preparing a home in Heaven for us now, a home where the streets are paved with gold and the gates are made of pearl, where no crepe shall ever darken the doorknob, no brow shall ever furrow, no face shall ever wrinkle, no crow's feet shall ever adorn the eyes, no hand shall ever be palsied, no foot shall ever walk an unsure step and no back shall ever bend. There will be no cancer, no heart attack, no leukemia, no sadness, no sickness, no sin, no heartache, no loneliness, no sorrow, no broken hearts or broken homes or broken lives or broken dreams or shattered air castles, and we shall live in His presence forever and ever and ever until forevers become forevers and forevers become forevermore!

How great is this salvation?  So great that someday the trumpet shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise and we which are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and we shall forever be with the Lord.

How great is this salvation?  So great that we shall be with Him in the air for seven years enjoying the marriage of the Lamb and facing the judgment seat of Christ, where we shall be given rewards for our work on earth.  We Christians shall receive crowns for their labors of love.  We shall then take those crowns and hurl them at Jesus' feet, shouting that He alone is worthy to receive honor and praise and glory!

How great is this salvation?  So great that after seven years we will join Him in a cavalry trip on white horses back to the earth.  He shall ascend the royal stairway of Mt.  Zion and shall be King of all the earth!  Jerusalem shall be the headquarters and the capital city.  Washington will bow before Jerusalem; Moscow will lay at its feet. London, Paris, Berlin and Cairo shall be paralyzed in obeisance to Jerusalem and the King, Who will reign for 1000 years on the earth. How great is this salvation? So great that ...

"Jesus shall reign where'er the sun Does his successive journeys run;

His kingdom spread from shore to shore, Till moons shall wax and wane no more!"

We shall rule and reign with Him for 1000 years in a kingdom of peace where righteousness shall conquer unrighteousness, good shall conquer evil, justice shall conquer inequity; where the wolf and the lamb will lie down together peacefully; where the child shall play at the cockatrice' den, and the serpent shall be tame and offered as a pet for children's enjoyment.  Someone who dies at the age of 100 will be just a child dying prematurely.  How great is this salvation?  So great that at the end of the 1000 years we will see the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband!

How great is this salvation?  So great that earth was not big enough for its display, nor the heavens large enough for its platform.  It can be housed only in eternity.

How great is this salvation'?  So great that it cost Heaven its crowned Prince!  So great that God gave us a Book to tell us of Christ.  In Genesis He is the Promised Seed.  In Exodus He is the Passover Lamb.  In Leviticus He is the Scapegoat. In Numbers He is the Brazen Serpent.  In Deuteronomy He is the great Lawgiver.  In Joshua He is Prophet, Priest and King.  In Judges He is the great Judge of the earth.  In Ruth He is the kinsman Redeemer.  In Samuel He is the anointer of kings.  In Kings He is King of kings and Lord of lords.  In Chronicles He is the great Historian.  In Ezra He is the temple Builder. In Nehemiah He is the wall Builder.  In Esther He is the Saviour of Israel.  In Job He is the great Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  In the Psalms He is the Song of the ages.  In Proverbs He is the Truth.  In Ecclesiastes He is the great Preacher.  In Song of Solomon He is the wonderful Lover.  In Isaiah He is Wonderful, Counseller, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. In Jeremiah He is the weeping Prophet.  In Lamentations He is the street Preacher.  In Ezekiel He is the Rebuilder of the millennial temple.  In Daniel He is the Stone cut out without hands that will someday come back to earth and break in pieces the kingdoms of this earth and establish a kingdom that will cover the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.  In Hosea He is the spurned but forgiving Lover.  In Joel He is the Trumpet.  In Amos He is the One standing upon the altar.  In Obadiah He is the Great Vision.  In Jonah He is the One buried for three days and three nights.  In Micah He is the One coming out of Bethlehem of Judah. In Nahum He is our jealous God.  In Habakkuk He is the burdened Prophet.  In Zephaniah He is the great Counseller.  In Haggai He is the Encourager.  In Zechariah He is the great Motivator.  In Malachi He is the Son of Righteousness.  In Matthew He is King of kings. In Mark He is the suffering Servant.  In Luke He is the Son of Man.  In John He is the Son of God.  In Acts He is the Power of the church.  In Romans He is the Dynamite of the Gospel.  In Corinthians He is the Restorer of the carnal nature.  In Galatians He is the rent Veil. In Ephesians He is our Heavenly One. In Philippians He is our Sufficiency. In Colossians He is the Shadow of the One to come again.  In Thessalonians He is our coming Saviour.  In Timothy He is our great appearing God.  In Titus He is our blessed Hope.  In Philemon He is the Forgiver of a wayward slave.  In Hebrews He is the Best of all.  In James He is the Fulfiller of the law.  In the epistles of Peter He is the Rock of our salvation.  In the epistles of John He is our Assurance.  In Jude He is the One Who is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.  In Revelation He is the One coming on a white horse to establish a kingdom on earth where Jesus shall be King of kings and Lord of lords and shall rule and reign for 1000 years!

How great is this salvation?  So great that it is built around the Person of our lovely Christ.  In Matthew 17:8 we are reminded they saw no man save Jesus only "And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only."  In Luke 4:20, we are told that "the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him." The Greeks came to the disciples and said, "Sirs, we would see Jesus." The first name given Him was brought by the angel Gabriel to the humble home of Mary, when the angel said in Luke 1:31, "Thou shalt call His name JESUS."  Isaiah looked down through the telescope of prophecy and said, "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."  In 24 of the 27 books of the New Testament, He is in the first verse.  The name "Jesus" is the seventh word of the New Testament.  His name is the seventh word from the end of the New Testament.  His name is the first name mentioned in the New Testament and the last name mentioned, and between those two times Jesus is mentioned 700 times.  In the Bible He is called “the young Child, the holy Child, the Nazarene, the Lord, the Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord from Heaven, the Lord of glory, the Lord of righteousness, the Lord and Saviour. He is called Christ Jesus, the Lord's Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, our Lord. He is called Saviour, Emmanuel, Teacher, Rabboni, Governor. He is called Lawgiver, Redeemer, Messiah, Shiloh, Deliverer, Mediator, Intercessor, Prince of Peace, the King of glory. He is called the Banner, the Ensign, the Captain, the Desire of the nations, the Judge, the righteous Judge, the Author, the Finisher, the First-fruits, the Advocate. He is called the Peace, the Ransom, the Passover, the High Priest, the King of Righteousness, the King of Salem, the King of Peace, the King of kings, the Just One. He is called the Holy One, the Faithful Witness, the Commander, the Consolation of Israel, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the first Begotten of the dead, Elect of God, the second Adam. He is called the King of the Jews, the King of Zion, the King of Israel, the King of saints, the King eternal. He is called the Vine, the true Vine, the Root of Jesse, the Offspring of David. He is called the Door, the Door of the sheep, the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Angel of the Lord, the Lamb of God, the Water of life, the Living Water, the Living Bread, the Bread of Life, the Word of Life, the hidden Manna. He is called the Way, the Truth, the Life. He is called the Tree of life, the Light of life, the Prince of life, the Day Star, the Day Spring. He is called the tried Stone, the living Stone, the elect Stone. He is called the Temple, the sure Foundation, the Rock, the Rock of Ages, the Spiritual Rock. He is called the I Am, the Resurrection, the Life, the Messiah, the Son of man, the Son of God, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Son of Righteousness, the Son of the Highest. He is called the Anointed. He is called God's dear Son, the beloved Son, only begotten Son, Almighty, Man of sorrows, Friend of sinners, Gift of God, unspeakable Gift, the Power of God, the Wisdom of God, the Image of God. He is called the First, the Last, the Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning, the End, the Ancient of days, the Lord of lords. He is called God with us, our elder Brother, the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother, the Firstborn, the Master, the Good Master, your Master, Lord and Master, the Passover.  He is called the Fulness of the Godhead, the Bridegroom, Wonderful, Counseller, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  He is called the Lily of the valley, the altogether lovely One, the Fairest of ten-thousand, the bright and morning Star.  He is called the Rose of Sharon, that Prophet, the High Priest, the Priest after the order of Melchizedek.  He is called Ruler, the Stone cut out without hands.  He is called Servant, Servant of servants, lowly One, the Desire of the nations, Lamb of God, the Lamb, the Com of Wheat, He is called the Lamb of the altar, the Door of the tabernacle, the Light of the candlestick, the Bread of the table, the Incense of the altar, the Veil to the Holy of Holies, the Shekinah of the mercy seat.  He is called the bleeding Lamb, the cooing Dove, the lowing Oxen, the red Heifer, the brazen Serpent.  He is the Juice in the cup and the Bread in the tray at the table of communion.  He is all of this and more, and our great salvation is built around Him!

More pens have written of His name than all the names of history combined. More chisels have sculptured Him, more orators have described Him, more institutions have been named after Him, more brushes have painted Him, more lives have been changed by Him, more choirs have sung of Him and more poetry has been penned of Him than of any other person who ever lived on the face of the earth.

This so great salvation must not be neglected.  It is so great that it takes eternity to hold it and to describe it.  How dare feeble creatures of earth, frail, lost, depraved and condemned be the recipients of this marvelous salvation and then receive it, only to neglect it and not give it our best!

Now the question comes-how do we neglect this salvation?  There are two ways we neglect it. Hebrews 12:1, 2, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Notice we are to lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us in order that we may run with patience the race that is set before us.  The way that we neglect this so great salvation is by not running the race that God has set before us; that is, not doing His perfect will in our lives.  This race cannot be adequately run if we carry weights and sins with us.  God through His Holy Spirit with the pen of His men reminds us that we neglect this salvation first if we do not lay aside our sin.  However, there is something else that is seldom mentioned in the preparation for this race in order that we will not neglect so great salvation.  That something else is the laying aside of our weights.  What is a weight?  A weight is something that is not wrong to do, but it hampers us in running the race that God has set before us.

Let us suppose that a runner is running a 100-yard dash.  He lines up at the starting line, preparing for the race and awaiting the starting gun.  Somebody notices that he is drunk or that he is high on dope, and someone reminds the crowd that he spent the night in sin.  Will he win the race?  Of course not.  Sin will keep him from it.

Now let us suppose that right beside him there is another runner.  That runner is sober.  He rested for the night, watched his diet, exercised and is prepared for the race.  He is on his knees ready for the start, waiting for the starter's gun.  He buttons his overcoat around him, laces up his combat boots, straightens his hat on his head.  Will he win the race?  No.  Because of sin?  No.  Because of weights!  The overcoat will do the same thing to him that the sin would do to the runner beside him.  Neither will win the race.  One will lose because of sin; the other will lose because of weights, but as far as the outcome is concerned, the weights are as much a handicap as are the sins.

Many fundamental believers make an honest effort to live a separated life.  They have confessed their sins and forsaken them as much as is possible, but they are still not winning the race that God has set before them because they are encumbered with weights.  The great tragedy of a person being where he should not be is not that he is where he should not be; the great tragedy is that if one is where he should not be he cannot be where he should be!  The great tragedy of sin is not what sin does to us, but it is what sin keeps us from doing!

Because of this, the altar at church should be not only a place to forsake sin but a place to forsake weights. What is it in your life that is hindering you from running the race, thereby causing you to neglect so great salvation? Is it sin or is it a weight?  Whatever it is, lay it on the altar so you can run with patience the race that is set before you, so you can avoid the neglecting of so great salvation.

"Okay," you say, "show me my weights."  I wish I could, but I cannot, for your weight is not my weight and my weights are not your weights.  Now sin is the same for all of us.  Drinking alcoholic beverages is a sin for you and a sin for me.  Immorality is a sin for you and a sin for me.  Lying is a sin for both of us, yea, to all of us.  Cheating is a sin for everybody.  I can tell you your sin, but I cannot tell you your weights, for your race is not my race and the will of God for your life is not the will of God for my life.

Suppose that I were preaching at your church, and suppose that you had never seen me or met me.  You had heard of the First Baptist Church of Hammond and of Hyles-Anderson College and of Dr. Jack Hyles.  You had a desire to meet me and see what I looked like. Suppose that you got there early on the night I was preaching at your church, and suppose you waited outside to see me as I drove in the parking lot to be the first one to shake my hand, and then you were surprised to see me ride up on a motorcycle.  I am wearing a helmet, goggles, turtle-neck sweater, leather jacket, blue jeans and boots.  Would you be surprised?  Of course, you would!  Would you be disappointed?  I think so.  Now is there anything sinful about a motorcycle?  No.  Is there anything sinful about a turtle-neck sweater?  No.  Is there anything sinful about goggles?  No.  Is it a sin to wear a leather jacket?  Of course not.  Is it a sin to wear blue jeans?  Certainly not.  Is it a sin to wear boots?  No.  But if you saw me dressed like that coming to preach for you, and if others likewise saw me dressed in that manner, I would not be able to run the race as effectively as I could otherwise. If someone in the congregation rode up on a motorcycle, it would not affect their race for that night.  My race would be to preach the Gospel and the Word of God.  The layman's race would be to hear me.  For me to ride up on a motorcycle would hinder my race.

One of the deacons in the First Baptist Church of Hammond is a doctor, and he paid $30,000 for a brand new Mercedes Benz automobile, called me out in front of the church building and said, "Pastor, I want you to have it. It's a gift."  Of course, I told him I could not accept it because the driving of a $30,000 Mercedes Benz would be a weight for me.  I cannot live above the lifestyle of my people, and folks would be surprised to see me driving such an expensive automobile.  The doctor kept the car.  It was not a weight to him.  No one lost confidence in him or was disappointed to see him drive it.  It was a weight for me; it was not a weight for him.

Years ago I was a softball pitcher.  It became too much of my life, and to be quite frank, I was a little bit too tense in my suggestions to the umpires concerning their failures!  So when I became Pastor of a Baptist church as a 21-year-old man, I gave up softball.  It was a weight to me.  Now the truth is, many of our members play softball, and it does not become a weight to them, but to me it is a weight.

What is it in your life that is a weight?  What is that something that hinders you from running the race that is set before you and thereby causes you to neglect so great salvation?  Lay it on the altar right beside your sins!  Turn from it so that you may not be encumbered as you run the race that is set before you, so that you may not neglect so great salvation.

'Tis true—salvation is a gift.  God comes to us after He has given us that gift and says, "Don't neglect it.  Keep it out of the snow.  Keep it polished.  Work on it."  This is not in order that you might be saved, but because you are saved with so great salvation!


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