“Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 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; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Heb. 2:1-4).
Having completed the main thought in chapter one of Hebrews, whereby the author declares the superiority of Christ over the angels, the second chapter begins with the word, “Therefore.”
It has been said that when a Bible student sees the word “therefore,” in the text, it is a signal to pause and ask what is the word there, for? The word points back to some argument being made so that a conclusion can be drawn.
What the author of Hebrews is attempting to establish is the perfect relationship between belief and behavior. All doctrine should be practical, and all practice should be doctrinal. If what has been declared in the first chapter is believed, that belief should result in giving heed to “the things which we have heard.” What is believed has radical implications as to how a life is lived.
The author of Hebrews exhorts the Christian to pay the most earnest attention to what has been heard, lest the heart drift away from it.
There are some people who go fishing, and they do not pay much attention to what they are doing. The anchor is not set down. The boat is allowed to drift with the current.
The Bible is to be an anchor for the soul, which is the hope the Christian has. “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:19).
Christian, do not allow yourself to drift aimlessly from what you have heard about the superiority of Jesus over the angels, and over all created things. Pay the closest possible attention to the Lord, and keep in mind this fact.
In the Jewish economy, the angels were held in high esteem, because when Moses received the Law, there were thousands of these “saints” present (Deut. 33:2; Acts 7:53). Nevertheless, it was to no avail for the people did not respect the Law, or the angels enough to keep it, and so “every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence [retribution, punishment] of reward.” How much more responsible are Christians who have received revelation, not from Moses, or the angels, but from Christ Himself!
Those who do not respect what has been received from Christ shall not escape judgment, or imprisonment, if we neglect the great salvation to be found in Christ. People have tried to escape from Alcatraz, Devil’s Island, and the Hanoi Hilton, but no one will escape the final imprisonment of God’s eternal Hell. It is a dreadful imprisonment beyond imagination reflected in the agony of the Rich Man who lifted up his eyes in Hell and cried, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24).
When the question is asked, “How shall we escape God’s wrath if we neglect such a great salvation?” The answer reverberates through time, “There is no escape!” There is no escape from Hell. You cannot dig under it, for Hell is like a bottomless pit. You cannot climb out of it, for there is nothing to grasp at but flames. No guard can be bribed, for the Demons are in Hell with The Beast, the False Prophet, and all who love and make a lie. The sentence cannot be commuted for the punishment is everlasting.
Let those who hear what the Spirit has to say flee to Christ for salvation. Let those who hear the gospel understand what is meant by salvation. The word in Hebrews 2:1 is soteria, and refers to being rescued. Those who put their faith and trust in Christ are rescued from the wrath of God which is to come. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18).
The person who is saved is the person who is brought to safety from the clear and present danger of being cast into the Lake of Fire.
Have you ever been saved, Biblically? Have you ever considered the greatness of salvation?
Salvation is great because of the One who planned it. In eternity past, before the world began, God the Father planned to save sinners. “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4).
Salvation is great because of the One who executed the plan of the Father. It was Jesus Christ who was born of a Virgin. It was Christ who came into the world. It was Christ who went to Calvary and bore the sins of the world in His own body. It was Christ who bled and died so that others might live. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
Salvation is great because of the One who applies the plan of the Father and the work of redemption wrought by Christ, to the hearts of individuals. The One who does this is the Holy Spirit. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
“Oh, spread the tidings ’round, wherever man is found,
Wherever human hearts and human woes abound;
Let every Christian tongue proclaim the joyful sound:
The Comforter has come!
The Comforter has come, the Comforter has come!
The Holy Ghost from Heav’n, the Father’s promise giv’n;
Oh, spread the tidings ’round, wherever man is found—
The Comforter has come!”
Having considered this great salvation, and having embraced it by faith, have you neglected it Christian?
The author of Hebrews is not talking to pagans, who not only neglect the gospel, but despise it. No, no. The author of Hebrews is talking to “we”, “us,” those who profess Christ as Lord and Savior.
If we neglect our so great salvation, we will not escape judgment. Christian, seek after the Lord with the same intensity of the Psalmist who said, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psalm 63:1).
To neglect something is to take it lightly.
Our great salvation is neglected, it is held lightly when theology is reduced to a pitiful saying such as, “Once saved, always saved.”
Our great salvation is neglected when the Lordship of Christ is separated from His saving work of redemption. Foolishly it is taught, in a large part of Christendom, that people can “make” Jesus their Savior today, and the “Lord” of their lives in the distant future.
Our great salvation is neglected when we do not study to show ourselves approved unto God, when we forsake the assembling of ourselves together, and when we fail to engage in corporate and private prayer.
Our great salvation is neglected, it is held with less esteem, when sin is not mortified, or put to death, but loved, embraced, and provided for.
Let us not neglect our so great salvation as the Jews neglected to remember their great salvation from Egypt. For 400 years the Hebrew people lived in bondage to the Egyptians. In that state of bondage the people suffered to the point they cried out to the Lord in pain and agony. Heaven listened. God sent a deliverer named Moses. Then, “with a strong hand, and with a stretched-out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever” God delivered Israel (Psalm 136:12).
The years passed, and Israel forgot to remember the miracles God performed on their behalf. Many turned to idols. Others became careless with the sacrifices they offered in the Temple. “Wherefore the Lord said, forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” (Isaiah 29:13). Their so great salvation was neglected.
Oh Church, do not let history repeat itself. Do not let the professing people of God neglect the great salvation whereby God has brought us from spiritual Egypt. Let the Church never forget that God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son to bring us salvation, not just for time, but for eternity. It was Jesus, not the angels, not the prophets, not the Law, and not Moses who gave us the gospel.
Christian, are you neglecting salvation? You know the answer. “I pray with all my heart that God will awaken each one of us today to the sweetness, the loveliness, the glory of the gospel declared by Christ” (R. C. Sproul, final sermon, November 26, 2017).