Hebrews 2:1-4 ESV
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
I am not going to get into the subject of angels here for I feel that would not add anything to what we need to talk about today with regard to our salvation from sin, and it could be a distraction. Feel free to study that on your own. What I need to focus on today is the great salvation declared by the Lord Jesus Christ and why we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, or to what we should have heard with regard to salvation, and why we have this warning about neglecting such a great salvation.
A Great Salvation
What is the great salvation Jesus Christ declared? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is Jesus’ words recorded in Luke 9 where he said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For, he said that if we hold on to our old lives (of living in sin and for self) that we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for his sake, i.e. if we die with him to sin, then we have eternal life in him (Luke 9:23-26 paraphrased).
The second thing that comes to mind is Jesus’ words when he said:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7:21-23
And the third thing that comes to mind is the passage in John 14 where Jesus said that whoever has his commandments and keeps (obeys) them is the one who loves him. And the one who loves him will be loved by God the Father, and Jesus will love him and will make himself known to him. And if anyone loves Jesus, he will keep (obey) his word, and God the Father and the Son will make their home with him. And whoever does not love Jesus does not obey him, and whoever does not obey him does not have God living within him (John 14:15-24 simplified, condensed).
In summary, Jesus Christ requires obedience to us as part of the faith that is required of us for our salvation, and part of that obedience is dying with Christ to sin so that we no longer live in slavery to sin, but so we now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. And it is not enough to just confess Jesus as Lord and to claim faith in him, but we must be doing the will of God the Father in heaven. For if we do not obey the Lord, we don’t know him, God is not living within us, and we don’t have eternal salvation.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Php 2:12-13]
Pay Close Attention
So, what is intended by the sentence, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it”? First, it is an obvious reference back to chapter 1 which talks about Jesus Christ, God the Son, whom God the Father appointed heir of all things. Jesus Christ is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God the Father even referred to Jesus as God. And Jesus is our creator God. And God the Father speaks to us through his Son, Jesus Christ, God the Son.
Secondly, if we don’t pay attention to “the rules of engagement,” so to speak, of God’s so great salvation, and so we end up drifting away from it, we should expect that there will be judgment for our disobedience. For our salvation is not just forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die. Jesus Christ died on that cross to free us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness and so we would now honor God with our lives and walk in obedience to his commands.
So, what happens if we do drift away? There is a grave danger that we will never return and that we will remain away from our Lord, living in sinful rebellion against him, and that we will hear Jesus say one day, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” For, the Scriptures are very clear that we must forsake our sins and follow Jesus in obedience, but if we walk in sin and we don’t obey our Lord, then if that is where we remain, and we do not repent, we will not inherit eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]
He Lifted Our Burdens
An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7
People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.
Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.
Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.
We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.
Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.
He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.