“If We Neglect So Great Salvation…”
In Hebrew 2:1-3, the writer says that we need to be diligent in paying attention to the things that we have heard. What are those things? They are, first and foremost, the fact that Christ came to “give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, cf. Hebrews 2:9). In other words, He “died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3) so that we would not have to experience death (Romans 5:10). Second, because Christ died for our transgressions and, therefore, paid the price for sin He now has a God-given authority to forgive our sins, as forgiveness of sin requires an adequate payment. And the blood of Christ provided that payment (Hebrews 9:28). Consequently, Christ can command us, and does indeed command us, to be baptized and be saved (Mark 16:16, cf. Acts 2:38). Third, the things that we have heard include the promise of the blessings that the death of Christ procures for our souls (Ephesians 1:3). Among those blessings are forgiveness, salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the hope of heaven (Ephesians 1: 5-13). At the heart of them all is salvation.
The reason for having our mind centered on the salvation message is introduced by the word “for” in verse 2. The writer warns in a rhetorical question that there would be no way of escaping punishment if we neglected salvation. And he explained that the Mosaic law, which was conveyed by angels, carried penalties for those that violated it in disobedience. Of all the adult Israelites who left Egypt for the Promised Land under the leadership of Moses only Joshua and Caleb made it; thousands of them perished in the wilderness. God said that they would not enter the land (Numbers 14:28-33). God’s people of old may have died for failure to obey His commandments, but Christians risk perishing because of negligence of their salvation. Negligence therefore is not necessary obstinate rebellion; it is the act of abandoning something which is precious.
Christians that entangle themselves in sin and live immoral lives judge the blood of Christ which cleansed their past sins as insignificant. The Hebrew writer said, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (10:29). Then he warned those who persistently choose to live in sin that there will be no more sacrifice for sin neither another operation of salvation. What awaits us instead is the prospect of a terrifying judgement (10:26). It does not matter how dishonouring one’s opinion about salvation may be, God says that is it “great.” It is great because it was announced by Christ Himself, then by His apostles and confirmed by miracles (Hebrews 2:3-4) and by the giving of the Holy Spirit. So you can count on your salvation; don’t neglect it.