There are a lot of things that people can escape from—work, responsibility, slavery, abuse, prison… The first thing I think of, and is kind of what inspired this title is Escape from Alcatraz, a movie title from 1979 based on the true story.
Then there was the more noble escape attempt from a German POW camp in 1944 during WWII, that has become known by another movie title The Great Escape. The camp was deep in the heart of Nazi occupied Poland.
It seems pretty much the entire prisoner population was in on the escape and they spent a year digging nearly 400 feet of tunnel to get past the outer fence and guard towers—but they didn’t quite get far enough.
This, their third attempt at tunneling out, got them just past, but dangerously close, to a guard tower where they popped out. But once they broke the surface they were committed—it was now or never— so they went for it.
76 prisoners made it through the tunnel and into the woods before the 77th man was spotted emerging from the ground, sparking a massive man hunt and prison shakedown. All but 3 of the prisoners, were recaptured and, sadly, 50 of those were executed. The other three, with help from forged papers and sympathetic civilians, made it into allied territory and lived to tell the story of their harrowing and daring escape from the clutches of the enemy.
Their story would become the inspiration for the popular ‘60’s sitcom called Hogan’s Heroes. A show I loved as a kid by the way. In the TV show version the Germans are all bumbling idiots who have prisoners coming and going at will via their underground network of tunnels by which they pull off all sorts of espionage and sabotage against the Nazis.
Of course the hapless commander of the camp, the monocle wearing Colonel Klenck, believes his camp to be unescapable and delights in declaring so to anyone and everyone, usually just after a caper has been pulled off right under his nose by the unflappable American saboteur and supposed prisoner—Colonel Hogan—’There’s no escaping Stalag 13!‘
Que the credits and play the music. Leaving the audience laughing to themselves—”’No escaping Stalag 13?’ That’s what you think!”
That is of course what anyone who holds someone else against their will wants their captives to think.
It doesn’t matter the type of captor, prison camp commandant, prison warden, jail guard, abusive spouse, drug pusher, porn peddler, the devil himself—if they can convince you that there is no escaping, their job of keeping you enslaved and imprisoned in much easier. Because a hopeless captor is one who is much easier to manage.
“he has given us, … his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption”— Peter here is largely talking about us escaping the most destructive captor of all—our own flesh, a flesh corrupt and all but dead by virtue of our having been enticed and ensnared by the lust for things the enemy throws in front of us to lure us to our destruction.
The enemy wants us imprisoned in the hopelessness of the corruption of our flesh so that we either cannot, or believe we cannot, be freed. He wants us to believe that even if we were free there would be nowhere for us to go and to be ignorant of the potential for greatness we have by virtue of us being created in the image of the creator himself, an image that was corrupted by sin.
The enemy, and those he uses to speak for him, wants to keep us excluded from participating in the divine nature that we should be a reflection of. Paul said much the same thing to the Church in Corinth.
If we accept the redemption, the forgiveness available to us by the blood of Christ and strive to be those who live in the freedom of the spirit rather than in the bondage the flesh would keep us in, we will one day be free of this corrupt flesh entirely and be resurrected just as our Lord was—incorruptible.
We will be changed in an instant from spiritual beings living in a dying and depleted body and into eternal beings that are now clothed with eternal, regenerated and perfect bodies of flesh and blood—just as Jesus now is—the heavenly Man who has gone before us to prepare the way for us in his Father’s house.
Yes Colonel Klenck, there is escape from your Stalag, it happens all the time and we are in the process ourselves.
God’s grace is our exoneration and our pardon all at once, and in that our peace is multiplied. And we have it in writing.
This promise that we can escape from the world’s corruption, through God’s divine power and partake of the divine nature, is a promise that is ours by virtue of the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Knowledge is power. Especially when that knowledge is of God.
And how do we get that knowledge?
Primarily from the scriptures. The Holy Scriptures are our official pardon, signed, stamped and dated by the Supreme Judge of the universe and we need to know what is in those papers because the enemy of our souls does everything he can to keep us from reading and knowing what is written there. And if we do, he wants to recapture or at least dishearten us so that we cannot lead anyone else into the light of freedom.
The Germans executed those 50 recaptured prisoners of war, against the laws of the Geneva convention, to send a message of discouragement to all the rest, that attempts to escape are not worth the consequences of failure. But it had just the opposite affect because the knowledge that three men had gotten free inspired the entire POW population and word spread like wildfire.
The story of escape to freedom of even one person can inspire thousands to keep hope alive. We who know Jesus have those stories. And if you do not, you need to know the story—the message of freedom and hope found in the scripture that can and will set you free as well—free from the prison of corruption so that you can write yourself into that story.
The enemy, the devil, has and is slaughtering thousands— millions—of freed prisoners to stop them from spreading the message that there is escape, but his attempts to silence have always served to inspire others. If one is willing to die for something then it must be greater than this life or anything it offers, it must be eternal—and eternity is worth dying for—and living for.
Just the irrational killing of so many simply to stop a story being told tells you how dangerous and powerful they think that story is. We have a dangerous faith—dangerous to those who would control and enslave us because it reveals and releases us to our true nature—the divine nature.
If you are to be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, you have to know the words of life. The words the enemy is bent on destroying and discrediting.
We have to know, know and believe, that everything we need to live a life of freedom, to live a life of purpose, peace and meaning—all that we need to live a life of godliness—free from the corruption that would destroy all of that—can be found in the scriptures—the very words of God.
We have the words of freedom, we have the hope and the assurance of final victory, we have been declared free and we must live as those who have that hope and that promise and not give up and give in. We should rejoice and find great comfort and hope in the words of freedom that are ours to claim.
Our redeemer lives–and so shall we.