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.
- Because Christ is so much greater than the angels we must pay closer attention to what we heard regarding salvation.
- We may drift away from what we have heard about Christ.
- The message provided by angels proved to be reliable.
- Every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution.
- If we reject salvation, there is no escape from the retribution for our sin.
- Salvation was declared first by the Lord.
- Salvation was attested to us by those who heard it.
- God bore witness to salvation by various signs, wonders, miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- The gifts of the Holy Spirit are distributed according to the will of God.
Verse 3 indicates that Hebrews was not written by Paul. The author says, “it was attested to us by those who heard.” Paul was always clear he received his knowledge of the Gospel through revelation directly from God, not through anyone’s preaching. The apostles witnessed what Jesus said and did during His ministry, death, and resurrection. The writer of the Hebrews along with his readers heard the gospel through them.
The Law was given through the prophets and angels. Any transgression of the Law was subject to sever punishment. So the author asks, how much more severe will the punishment be if we ignore what has been given by Christ Himself. The author has already shown how much greater Christ is than the prophets and the angels. Christ’s words, deeds and promises carry much more weight. The conclusion is this, the higher the dignity of Christ over the angels, the more reverence is owed the Gospel than the Law. And the author has just proven Christ is supremely superior to the angels.
It is interesting that the author says, “How will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation.” It is not just the rejection of the Gospel but its neglect that brings punishment. We generally understand that to ignore or reject Christ’s gift brings punishment. But we ignore the fact that to take for granted, or treat carelessly the gift Christ has paid for with His own blood also brings punishment.
The writer of the Hebrews along with his readers heard the gospel through the Apostles. The apostles not only preached the words they received from the Son of God, they preached by miracles. Those who not do receive the Gospel reject not only the words of God but also His works.
Here we see how miracles are used by God. If someone is miraculously healed it is not to simply heal that person or to honor them, nor is it to reward their faith. The purpose of any miracle is to advance the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. Any claim to a miracle that does not advance the Gospel is either no miracle or a false miracle. So called healing ministries are examples of such false miracles. The healings are performed to bring glory to the so called evangelist at worst and at best they are performed to bring honor to the recipient of the healing. While Jesus’ name is used, salvation is not brought nor preached.
The gifts of the Spirit are also given to advance the Gospel. They are given to declare salvation. God gives us different gift as He pleases. We should be satisfied and grateful for what he has given us. Often though we act childish and whine about not having a gift like brother or sister so and so.
This passage reminds us of the words of Christ. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33a) Seeking is an active verb. If we are active in seeking the kingdom we will not take for granted our salvation. When we seek the kingdom of God we will realize the price that God paid of our sin. With that realization neglect is not even possible. Too often we forget how sinful we are. We forget how holy and righteous God is.
God works His will according to His pleasure. He gives different gift of the Spirit based on His will. Be satisfied with the gift you have received and do not try to seek others. Exercise your gifts and you will be working the will of God.