The English word escape comes from an old Latin compound word composed of ex-, “out of,” and cappa, “cape” or “cap.” It therefore literally means to get out of your cape; that is, to leave a pursuer holding only your cape while you get away. We use the word primarily of either breaking free from confinement or control (e.g., escaping from prison), or of successfully avoiding something dangerous or unpleasant (e.g., escaping death). The New Testament has a good bit to say about escaping in the spiritual realm.
Our first concern must be escaping divine punishment. “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). The righteous judgment of God calls for wrath against sinners—and that is all of us (Romans 3:23). Thankfully, He has provided salvation in His Son. It is the exclusive means. “And there is salvation in no other; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:13). Therefore, being Jesus’ disciple is serious business; it calls for careful attention. “How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).
Escaping divine punishment involves several other escapes. It begins with escaping our captivity in sin. Sinners often see themselves as free, but in reality they are held captive by the devil to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26). Escape from that condition requires repentance and learning the truth (v. 25). Escaping the devil’s hold on us also requires that we escape the world’s thinking and conduct. Peter emphasized the importance of escaping the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Peter 1:4), the defilement of the world (2 Peter 2:20), and those who live in error (v. 18).
Satan will not leave us alone when we escape to Christ. He will still tempt us. Nevertheless, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
It is up to us to use the way of escape, and it is vital that we do so. “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2 Peter 2:20).
“See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven” (Hebrews 12:25).