The Lamb that was slain: How can you reject such a great salvation?

Paris Reidhead has been a great joy and inspiration to me. His “Ten Shekels and Shirt” is the greatest sermon I have ever heard. Here is an excerpt.

“You see, salvation is not in a plan, salvation is not in scripture verses, salvation is not in ordinances or a scheme of theology, salvation is not in decision, salvation is not in the pronouncement of an evangelist or a pastor. Salvation is a person. This is the cardinal truth of our day. Salvation isn’t from a person only, but salvation is a person. You understand therefore that salvation is Christ. He is our life; he is our salvation. He didn’t die to send it. He died to become it. The Lord Jesus died therefore to set his people free. Now can you see the folly of a person who says I don’t want to go to hell when I die but I’m quite content to be in bondage to the world; to its aims, to its goals to its interests, to its rewards….Can’t you see what a total contradiction of terms this is. How unthinkable it is. No wonder the writer of Hebrews says: ‘How can we escape if we neglect so a great a salvation.’ And God’s salvation intended deliverance not only from the penalty of our sin and from the certainty of hell, but included deliverance from the power of the world, its grip and its hold and its hold upon us. It included deliverance from the flesh, the personality, the nature, the traits of the individual. It included deliverance from the power and control of Satan himself and the demons of darkness. And for a person to say, “Well, all I want from Christ is to go to heaven anyway. Why, it’s unthinkable, its inconceivable. It can’t be; it just can’t be that anyone can discern the grace of God, and the mercy of God, and the love of God manifested in the essence of his Son to set His people free and go on in bondage when He has already paid the price for their deliverance.”

Paris Reidhead is one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century. I also agree with almost all his theology. The piece above needs to be heard. However, even without Reidhead’s wonderful voice and delivery, the words are very powerful. There is just one point on which I differ with him, which is an important one. This difference lies in his last sentence, where he says that a person (a saved person?) can willingly remain in bondage to the world when he knows that Christ “has already paid the price for their deliverance.” Reidhead, a Wesleyan, uses a stock text of Arminians/Synergists (those who hold that a believer cooperates with God in becoming born again/saved) to show that it is possible to be saved and fall away: ‘How can we escape if we neglect so a great a salvation’ (Hebrews 2:3). In the monergistic view (Augustinian/Calvinist) Hebrews 2:3 is – as synergists would agree – referring to apostates. The difference between the synergistic and the monergistic views is that for the former, an apostate is someone who truly believed but fell away, whereas in the monergistic view, an apostate merely professed to believe but really didn’t. As Lewis Johnson puts it: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?”  What does it mean to neglect?  A failure to appropriate the truth that we have professed or to apostatize; to say we have believed but not really believe and then to turn from it, to become cold to the truth that we say that we have believed.”

“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (1 John 2:19).

The most moving part of “Ten Shekels and a Shirt” is at the end where Reidhead describes two young Moravian missionaries who leave the world for good to go and live on a leper colony. Once you’ve heard their fervent cry – through the visceral timbre of Reidhead’s marvellous voice – how can you reject such a great salvation? (See this excerpt on youtube) – a question both Wesley and Calvin can legitimately ask; after all, it’s in the Bible:


8 thoughts on “The Lamb that was slain: How can you reject such a great salvation?

  1. “Salvation IS a person”

    Yes yes and amen. A VERY important – and profound – distinction often lost in this day and age.

    From this post I would say that I hold to a monergistic view. And I would certainly gravitate towards 1 John 2:19 as a powerful affirmation of this reality.

    Just my opinion.

    • “Salvation is a person” is ontologically, and also linguistically true, for, as you know, Stuart, “Jesus” means “saviour.”

      • Absolutely.

        Coincidently – and I feel relevant to this – I was having a discussion earlier on ‘grace’ and I was putting forward the line that Jesus didn’t come to JUST bring us grace, he IS grace.

        The same can be said for truth, love and all of the attributes of G-d.

        So, when I read this post – by extension – I felt somewhat vindicated in my earlier proposition.

        • I visited one of your links

          I read the following:
          “When I realized what the Mass really is, I went daily while I waited for another year to complete the process. I learned that in time I would finally be in full communion but until then, once I realized what the miracle of Transubstantiation is, I knew I couldn’t stay away even if it only meant I got to be in His presence. That presence means something. That presence IS Catholic identity.”

          On that website, i clicked on an internal link, which brought me to more on “real presence. I posted the following comment there, which is relevant to your “Jesus IS grace.” For the Roman Catholic, the highest experience of Christ’s “ISNESS” on earth is, as Thomas Aquinas says (see below) eating “not only His flesh, but also His bones, and sinews, and other things.”

          Here’s my comment:

          I was once a Catholic (converted from Judaism at 19 years old). After 22 years in the CC I left. One issue was the Mass that you, and all devout Catholics, hold so dear. After studying the book of Hebrews, I understood that Jesus died once for all time. As you know, there are no priests (who sacrifice) in the NT or the early Church. The NT speaks of believers being a holy priesthood full stop.
          The CC teaches that every Mass is a real sacrifice (that’s why the CC has priests, because that is what a priest does – he sacrifices).

          I, as you do now, accepted anything the CC taught because I believed that the Pope had the “keys” to the Holy Spirit.

          My main point is that if the Mass is not a real sacrifice, then what is on the altar cannot be – as Aquinas says: “It is not only His flesh, but also His bones, and sinews, and other things.”

          If I am not telling you the truth, let my words turn to dust in my garullous mouth

  2. Pingback: A few good links | eChurch Christian Blog
  3. Putting my cards on the table, I’m journeying into the Catholic church and don’t yet have full understanding of such things. However, I love the spiritual depth of Catholicism which I have been lacking in my evangelical walk and I can see a richness and reverence and holiness I’ve never really seen or experienced before.

    I don’t know if I’ll believe as others do, however, I’m certainly finding that things are much deeper than I was led to believe from the outside.

    • Stuart, I think I understand a little of what you are going through. Have you read any of my posts on my experiences as a Catholic and studies of Catholicism. If you are interested, here’s the link –

      By the way “monergism” (which you seem to consider seriously) is the opposite of the “synergism” of Catholicism. I discuss this difference in several of my “Catholic” blogs.

    • Stuart, have you read/heard any of Martyn Lloyd-Jones? I haven’t found a deeper or truer teacher than him. You can download some of his podcasts at There are many more than those you see on this site. Once you’ve subscribed to the podcast, I think all the others will be available to you, such as “Christ in the heart” (3 parts). If you can get hold of his books on Romans and Ephesians, please read them. We both know that we should not neglect such a great salvation. This might hurt you and maybe you’ll give up on me, but I have to say this: Roman Catholicism is at best a dead-end. You don’t need all that stuff to experience Christ in your heart and be a faithful witness. What is dangerous in the RCC is that their doctrines such as faith plus works (both are required for salvation- Council of Trent), Mary as mediatrix, purgatory, the so-called “sacrifice” of the mass, and many more accretions contradict the Bible. I hope it’s au revoir, and not adieu.

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