how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?… (2:3).
The writer continues his sermon with his theme of “the better things” of Christ. And to those Hebrew believers who were struggling with reverting back to Judaism, the writer includes several Old Testament Scriptures demonstrating the Superiority of Christ over everyone and everything the Jews had come to revere as he presents the gospel of Jesus Christ as the absolute and final fulfillment of God’s plan of His Great Salvation revealed in His Word.
From NIV Study Bible:
A striking feature of this presentation of the gospel is the unique manner in which the author employs expositions of eight specific passages of the OT Scriptures:
- 2:5-9 Exposition of Ps 8:4-6
- 3:7 – 4:13 Exposition of Ps 95:7-11
- 4:14 – 7:28 Exposition of Ps 110:4
- 8:1 – 10:18 Exposition of Jer 31:31-34
- 10:1-10 Exposition of Ps 40:6-8
- 10:32– 12:3 Exposition of Hab 2:3-4
- 12:4-13 Exposition of Pr 3:11-12
- 12:18-24 Exposition of Ex 19:10-23
Through his exposition of Psalm 8:4-6, the writer points to Jesus; and though He is seen for a just little while as lower than the angels, He is Superior. And because He chose to lower Himself, the grace of His Great Salvation was granted through the death He endured for every man, woman, and child.
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone, (2:9).
Oh, so Great a Salvation!
Consider His Great Salvation
His Salvation is Great because of Who He Is and what He willingly gave for us. So Great a Salvation could only be accomplished by Jesus, our Superior Savior, Who Is Greater than all.
- His Great Salvation was Spoken by Him and confirmed by those who had heard Him speak.
- After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, (2:3).
- His Great Salvation was Substantiated by God through the miracles and gifts of His Holy Spirit.
- God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will, (2:4).
- His Great Salvation was Accomplished as He shared in flesh and blood to render both death and the devil powerless.
- Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (2:14).
- His Great Salvation was Given to free those enslaved to the fear of death.
- and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham, (2:15-16).
- His Great Salvation was Fulfilled when He, our merciful and faithful High Priest, willingly became the propitiation for our sins to perfectly satisfy the wrath of Holy God.
- Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people, (2:17).
How do we respond to His Great Salvation?
This chapter begins by laying out our needed response. As we considered yesterday, His Great Salvation was completed and finished by Him Who Sat Down. There is nothing else needed, there is nothing we can do to add to His finished work. But we must pay close attention to His gospel message, that we would be planted in our faith and not swayed from His Great Salvation of grace.
For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it, (2:1).
The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish believers who were being tempted by the Judaizers (those who regarded the Levitical laws of the Old Testament as mandatory requirements to be observed by all Christians). These new converts were in danger of drifting away from His Great Salvation through grace alone and landing on the erroneous idea that the Superior Sacrifice of Him Who Sat Down was not enough.
But let’s be real, we are no different. Although we may not believe we have to adhere to the Levitical laws, we affix our own laws on ourselves, and others, as to what else we must do to be assured of His Great Salvation. We erroneously assume that what we do or don’t do will have some bearing on our standing before Holy God. And if we would just do more, join a church, serve on that committee, give more, spend more time volunteering; or just do less of those temptations we fall to, then we will feel secure that He accepts us.
Most of the book of Romans is dedicated to proclaiming the power of His Great Salvation; and it has nothing whatsoever to do with us or anything we do or don’t do. It is all His work to be received as His gift; and It is only as we place our faith in in His sacrificial death for our sins, that we will receive His righteousness revealed in His Great Salvation.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith,” (Romans 1:16-17).
As the writer of Hebrews explained, His Word is unalterable. All that He had decreed from the beginning has not changed; He will judge sin.
For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, (2:3).
And the bad news is, we have all sinned; therefore, our sin must be judged. If we depend on ourselves and reject Jesus Christ, we are destined to receive His wrath.
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him,” (John 3:36).
But the good news is, when we trust His sacrificial death, our sin is judged with Him on the cross; and by His grace He redeems us to a restored relationship, justifying us before Holy God.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith… (Romans 3:23-25).
It is only faith in His Great Salvation that provides our escape from His Holy Wrath and Judgment. It is only His work. And we must begin with the question posed in this book.
how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?… (2:3).
We must agree with His Word that there is no escape from His judgment apart from His Great Salvation through faith in the finished work of Christ.
Have we acknowledged our need for His redemption and bowed in faith to receive the justifying grace of His Great Salvation?
His Great Salvation is our only security for eternity. And He has also told us that in His Great Salvation, He provides His Peace for our present.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33).
The tempter will come to bring tribulation and discouragement. Oh, let us take courage in His Peace granted through His Great Salvation that has overcome the trials of this world.
And because He shared in flesh and blood, because He endured every temptation known to man, He understands our need. Oh, His Great Salvation that is able to save us for all of eternity and also comes to our aid in every temptation; including that gnawing temptation in every human heart to do something to earn His Favor.
For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted, (2:18).
Truly, the only reasonable response today is that we come to the place of trusting nothing other than His Great Salvation. And then let us spend our lives praising Him for His great mercy that obtained so Great a Salvation through His death and resurrection. Oh, that we would be filled with ceaseless praise for His power that keeps us until that day when He will bring us to the place where we will have the glorious privilege of living forever in the full revelation of His Great Salvation.
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time, (1 Peter 1:3-5 HCSB).
As we live by faith to bring Him all the glory and praise, He will work in us, to do or not do, according to His good pleasure through the perfect work of His Great Salvation.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure, (Philippians 2:12-13).