Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The subject of this message is “so great a salvation” (2:3). Many people have preached on this subject about going to heaven. According to their opinion, going to heaven is the “so great a salvation.” This concept is too low. The “so great a salvation” is not that low. Why do people use such a high subject to preach the gospel with such a low concept? Because their experience of salvation is low. Although they have the term “so great a salvation,” they do not realize the depth of this term in Hebrews. In order to get into the depth of “so great a salvation” we need to cross the river from the traditional understanding of God’s salvation to a deeper realization of God’s great salvation.
The basic concept of the book of Hebrews is crossing the river, passing over from one side to the other. It is firstly to pass over from the side of Judaism to the side of “so great a salvation.” The old Jewish religion had become the old country, the other side of the river which we all must leave. Although we are not Jewish believers, in a very real sense we might be in that region called “the other side.” It might be the other side of old Christianity. I am concerned that some of you reading this message are still in the region of old Christianity or are still clinging to the old concepts of Christianity. Perhaps you have come into the church where you have heard something better, but you still think that you have many good things from the past and find yourself unable to forget them. Perhaps even now, at this very moment, you are staggering, asking yourself, “Shall I go forward, or shall I stay here?” You may not be going backwards, but you are considering whether or not to stay where you are. You need the book of Hebrews. You need to be encouraged to cross the river, to cross over from the other side.
We need to cross rivers every day. At the least we must cross a small river. You may need to cross a river after having offended your wife. After you offended her, you found yourself in an old region. You must cross the river. If you are unwilling to pay the price, you will stagger back and forth. You need to cross that small river. Although that river is small, it separates you from the holy of holies, from the enjoyment of “so great a salvation.” Every river you cross becomes a salvation to you, but every river that you do not cross becomes a veil. As long as you are on the other side of the river, you are outside of the veil. You are not in the holy of holies, participating in “so great a salvation.” If you cross the river, you will enter within the veil and share in the great salvation.
In studying the book of Hebrews in the past, I used two slogans. The first, “outside the camp,” is found in 13:13, which says, “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” Although the King James Version says, “without the camp,” the Greek is better translated “outside the camp.” We all must go outside the camp. What is the camp? Originally, the camp was Judaism. Today the camp may be Christianity, Catholicism, or anything, religious or worldly, that separates you from the enjoyment of God’s great salvation. Let us go forth therefore outside the camp. Then where shall we go? This brings us to the second slogan, “within the veil,” that is, within the holy of holies, found in 6:19-20. Jesus, our Forerunner, has entered within the veil. He is there now in the holy of holies. He certainly is not in any camp.
Some Christians are fond of camping in their analytical mind. Their mind becomes their camp. In fact, it might even become their Chaldea, their Mesopotamia, where Abraham was before he entered into the good land. As long as you are not in the good land, you need to cross the river. How much you need to cross the river into the good land! What is your Chaldea? Nearly every Christian has some kind of Chaldea. Some Christians cling to their Bible knowledge. They hold on to the matter of Bible study, thinking that they know the Bible. However, their Bible knowledge becomes their Chaldea. Some brothers among us have had to cross over the river from the side of traditional Bible knowledge, some from the side of their religious background, and some from the side of their past experiences. Oh, how we all must realize that Hebrews is a book of river crossing! Never hold on to anything that is not up to the standard of “so great a salvation.”
Years ago I had a good number of co-workers. At first, they were fine because they were not stuck to anything. However, after a few years some of them got stuck to certain things. Although those things were good, they became their Chaldea. If they had been with Joshua when he led the Israelites across the river Jordan, some of them probably would have stopped him, saying, “Don’t do this. When we came out of Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, no one ever told us that we would have to cross the Jordan.” The old knowledge and experience that those co-workers had became their Chaldea, and they would not cross the river. Nevertheless, day by day the Lord is going on. He is not standing still. None of us should stay with what we have experienced in the past. You must go on. Keep going on. A Hebrew is one who goes on.
Now we need to see what is “so great a salvation.” This salvation is not great in the matter of going to heaven or even in the matters of forgiveness and justification by faith. I treasure both forgiveness and justification by faith, but the book of Hebrews, the book that covers “so great a salvation,” speaks of something higher. Forgiveness and justification by faith are salvation, but they are not “so great a salvation.” The “so great a salvation” is not even great in the matter of regeneration. In what, then, is this salvation so great?
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