Letter to the Hebrews, Part 4 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

An Exposition

Hebrews 2:1-4: “The Worse Kind of Neglect”

“Therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the LORD and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will” (Hebrews 2:1-4, NKJV).

I do not know how much clearer the Scriptures can be when it comes to the issue of salvation. From Genesis through Revelation, the central figure of the Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Bible describes as the “Author and Finisher” of our faith, and that He and He alone is the ONLY way to God the Father (John 14:6).

The New Testament is without meaning or relevance if all it did was to list the accomplishments of a good man, noble teacher, and pious example for people to emulate and admire yet ends in a grave. There would be no New Testament at all. The entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) would be a deceptive, insignificant record of an ancient nation and its claim to be chosen by God for His purposes. Without the salvation provided by the work of Jesus Christ, any message of redemption and an afterlife is a waste of time, and humanity is doomed (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

It is pride and arrogance within our wicked and ungodly being that we hatch the idea that we can do alright without the intervention and grace of God, that we can make ourselves righteous by things such as works, good behavior, obedience to the local laws, and a nod to the Ten Commandments to sound better than the average pagan. We neglect to read the Bible or even take it upon ourselves to search through it and see that anything we do in our own power to make our lives acceptable in the sight of the favorite deity of the day is as useful as nailing gelatin to the wall and still does nothing to rescue us from a possible post-mortem worm feast or a dark afterlife if it even exists (John 8:33-34, 9:41; Romans 3:10-18; 2 Peter 2:14; Romans 6:23).

Scripture says that it is Jesus Christ who saves and keeps us (John 10:28-30). He is our only substitute from sin (Isaiah 53:5, 11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). He is our sin-bearer, something we cannot do for ourselves (1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:5). He is the final sacrifice for our sins, and by saying “it is finished” (John 19:30) on the cross, He assured us once and for all and that anything we do in our own strength will not be accepted by God as payment for our iniquities (Isaiah 64:6). There is no need for anything else, period.

The LORD has used various means to speak to His people, as was written in the opening sentences of Chapter 1. We read of His audible voice as He both instructed and warned His people about the direction of their country and their individual relationship with Him (Exodus 19:19; Numbers 33:50; Psalm 29:4, 62:11, 108:7; Isaiah 48:15; Daniel 4:31: Matthew 17:5; John 12:28-29; 2 Peter 1:17). The words that God spoke were written down by the prophets and statesmen of Israel over the centuries and became Holy Scripture, inerrant and all-sufficient (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).

The preaching and teaching of the Lord Jesus were spread by the apostles throughout the Roman Empire and later written down as they grew older and realized that what had been taught by them concerning the Lord Jesus needed to be written down. This would become the New Testament.

Most of its contents were completed before 70 A.D, save for the three letters of John and Revelation, which most Bible experts believe were written around 85-90 A.D. Afterwards, the Canon of Scripture was closed. The Church Fathers (100-400 A.D.) all agreed that the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament were the authentic and complete word of God due to apostolic confirmation and authorship and the use of the Scriptures over the centuries as the foundation of all teaching and preaching.

Any other “gospel,” such as the Gnostic writings found in 1945 at Nag Hammadi in Egypt, had been condemned by the Church Fathers in the progression of Christianity as heretical due to their outlandish content, contradictory records of Christ’s life and work, and the denial of His true nature. What we possess is the authentic, inspired, inerrant, and God-breathed Word, and that has not changed in thousands of years.

Verses 1-4 of Chapter 2 tell us that God used angels, signs, wonders, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to spread and verify His word. Before the composition of the Gospels and other writings of the New Testament, the apostles were given the ability to perform miracles of healing and deliverance from demons as proof that what they were teaching was from Jesus and could be trusted. Every sign, wonder, gift, and miracle were to demonstrate the power and saving mercy of God through the work of Christ and in the power of the Spirit, never for personal notoriety or to promote a type of spiritual “snobbery” that seems to be a bad trait of some churches today.

The signs and wonders from the LORD were also a sign of judgment on anyone who thought that they did not need the intervention of Christ to gain access to heaven and eternal life with God. The sinner was faced with the undeniable power of God before them, and many opened their eyes to the need for redemption through Jesus alone and not of their own accord. The Holy Spirit used these signs and mighty works to draw the lost to Christ then, and uses the Scriptures through the preaching and teaching of the Word to the lost today. I will agree that He can perform mighty works today if He so desires, as He is God and has all things under His rule, but it is a rarity in terms of what occurred in the time of the apostles.

We live in an age, not of serious inquiry and study of the Word of God, nor of heartfelt prayer for the lost, nor for a genuine renewal of love for Christ and the edification of His church, but of grabbing the next spiritual thrill, or emotional experience, or newest trend that will be a sure-fire means of getting the people to come to worship. Shows, dramas, concerts, coffee bars, and pep talks that substitute for sermons seem to be the norm in this apostate age.

I have heard a generation of folks wishing for the “days of the Book of Acts,” essentially recreating the time where the “tongues of fire” (known languages) came on the Apostles. They want a “rush” while blinded to the fact that we ARE in the days of the book of Acts, complete with persecution, false doctrine, false teachers, church disagreements, fallouts with brethren, hazardous journeys made to spread the Gospel, and a constant threat of danger from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

I am warning you, whether you are rolling in the aisles on Sunday mornings, or reading from a prayer book for the umpteenth time, or not even trying to comprehend the deep treasures of the Word of God and the person of Christ because of a good excuse you can muster so as not to go to the house of God. Many of you reading this message need to wake up and face the fact that you either need to be renewed in the Spirit and repent of your coldness towards the LORD or be convicted of your sin and bow the knee – not to society, political ideologies, lifestyles, opinions or the idol of self that you keep polished on the mantle of your ego — but to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, Savior, Redeemer, Deliverer, and Coming Judge to establish HIS eternal kingdom.

He will exercise absolute control over this world and will rule with a rod of iron without anyone’s opinion or input. He will NEVER compromise with a sinful world that hates Him, and He does not bow or cater to what YOU think should be done or said. If you refuse His offer of salvation, not only you but every reprobate sinner who rejects Him will face Him, bow to Him (Philippians 2:9-11), and be condemned to eternal punishment (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 12:13-21, 16:19-31; Revelation 20:11-15).

You are a blithering fool if you walk away from the gift of mercy, life, and forgiveness freely offered to you by the Lord Jesus Christ. The wrath of God that is to be poured out any day now on this wicked and perverse world will not be delayed or set aside. To refuse salvation ensures that you will suffer through what will be, according to the Bible, hell on earth leading to the hell of the afterlife, if you live at all.

Jesus Christ is THE only way of salvation, no one or nothing else. Period. Deal with it TODAY, one way or another, but you are without excuse as of reading this message. Please come to Him today. Your temporary excuses and arguments are not worth an eternity in hell where there will never be another chance or opportunity to be saved. So, make your decision.