Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Hebrews: Don’t Neglect the Gift

 

The book of Hebrews was written by a pastor who had a deep concern for Jewish Christians. He wanted them to continue to follow Jesus and not give in to the temptation to change the Gospel in order to avoid persecution.


At the start of chapter 2, the pastor gives this warning:

"For this reason, we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation had its beginning when it was spoken of by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us by those who heard him. At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to his will." (Hebrews 2:1-4, CSB)

In these verses, the pastor urged the readers to pay attention to the message of salvation that they have received and to not allow themselves to drift away from it. He reminded his friends that the Gospel was not just any ordinary message, but it was the message declared by Jesus, the Messiah, and confirmed to be true by the first disciples. God also bore witness to the truth of this message by performing signs, wonders, and miracles through Jesus and his followers by the power of the Holy Spirit.


This warning comes after the pastor's defense of Jesus's superiority over the angels in chapter 1. In Judaism, it was a common belief that the Law came to Moses through the angels. If people are determined to be guilty based on whether or not they keep the Law, which came to people through angels, how much greater will the guilt be for ignoring the Gospel that came to people through God's Son?


We should not ignore this warning.


What can we learn from these verses?

First and foremost, we need to pay attention to the message of salvation that we have received. This message is not something to be taken lightly or ignored. It is the very message that has the power to save us from our sins and give us eternal life. We cannot afford to neglect it. This means we have to study it, meditate on it, pray over it, and obey it. We become good stewards of the Gospel when it influences our lives.


Secondly, we need to recognize the incredible privilege that we have in being the recipients of the Gospel. Many of us have heard the Gospel our entire lives, and that familiarity makes it easy to take it for granted. Remember, the Gospel is the message that Jesus came to proclaim: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." (Matthew 4:17; CSB). God confirmed the truth of Jesus's message not only through the miracles that he performed but most importantly for us today, through his resurrection. The Gospel is a great gift, and we should treat it as such.


Finally, we need to be aware of the consequences of neglecting this great salvation. The pastor to the Hebrews reminds us that every transgression or disobedience received a just punishment. If the people under the old covenant did not escape the curses of breaking the Law, then we should not expect to escape the consequences of neglecting the Gospel. We need to take it seriously and live our lives in light of its truth.


Hebrews 2:1-4 is a powerful reminder that we need to be good stewards of the Gospel. It is not enough for us to simply hear the message of the Gospel; we have to live the message. We cannot afford to neglect it or take it lightly. After all, this is the very message that Jesus came to give us.

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