Do you take Christ’s finished work on the cross lightly and neglect salvation? If so, then you really don’t understand what He did for you. The sin in your life condemned you to eternal damnation separated from God. There is no way for any person to be sinless, but by human standards, you were probably a good person. God’s standards are very different than human standards.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
The Jewish Law was established, and many rules of conduct were established. The law was a schoolmaster and very works-oriented. Even the most faithful person who followed the law to the best of their ability couldn’t obtain the perfection needed to enter heaven. Praise God! He had a better plan. He stepped into His creation as a baby born in Bethlehem to be one of us…human because His mother was human. Still, He didn’t have the sin nature, and His blood was pure and untainted by sin…His father was God, the Holy Spirit. When John the Baptist first saw Jesus, he recognized exactly who He was.
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him and saith Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Jesus would fulfill the Jewish feast of Passover, where a lamb was sacrificed to cover sin. Jesus would offer Himself as the one-time sacrifice to take sin away when He allowed Himself to be crucified. Old Testament saints looked forward to the coming Messiah, and today we can look at history and know that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Works can never bring salvation; only faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross can take our sin away and bring eternal life. Knowing what He did for you, shouldn’t you be thankful? Salvation should not be neglected.
Christians have a tendency to drift away from His word and take our salvation for granted. Other things become more important to us and get in the way. The kids have soccer games or football camp; we work overtime in our jobs because we need the extra money to pay for the frivolous things we desire; we devote time to hobbies, watch television, and much more. The list of what comes between us and studying God’s word is long. None of the things we devote our time and effort to is as important as not neglecting salvation. Have you ever seen a garden with weeds growing taller than the tomatoes? A neglected garden doesn’t produce good fruit, neither does neglected faith.
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (Hebrews 2:3).
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews holds many lessons for us today. It was written at a time when Christianity was first beginning. Those first believers were Jewish, and they faced losing everything by accepting Christ for salvation. They were no longer welcome in the Temple, which, in addition to worship, was a very important gathering place to make business deals and find support in times of need. Choosing Christ meant you were no longer a part of your family, inheritance was forfeited, and jobs were lost.
It was a life-changing decision to follow Christ. It should change a life today, too. Those brave men and women were tempted to go back to their old ways and be welcomed back by family and friends rather than face the troubles that came from following Christ. The writer of Hebrews encouraged them to stay strong, not neglect their faith, and form new bonds with fellow Christians.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Fellowship with fellow Christians is important. Whether you sit in a pew on Sunday morning or get together with Christian friends, be sure the fellowship is centered on Christ. Study God’s word and apply it to your life. God’s word is an anchor, and it keeps us from drifting away. Neglecting to study His word will most certainly allow us to drift away from our faith. Many Christians have been drifting in the sea of despair, setting themselves onto the currents of the world and of the flesh because of a simple neglect of God’s word. By neglecting their salvation, they embrace the world and the carnal things therein.
In Hebrews 2:3, cited above, the Greek word “ameleo” is translated neglect, and it means to be “careless of, to neglect.” It’s the same word used in Matthew’s Gospel to show indifference.
“But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise” (Matthew 22:5).
The “they” in this verse, which is from a parable Jesus told regarding the Kingdom, refers to those who were invited by a king to the marriage of his son. They were offered a wonderful opportunity but ignored it, disregarding what was freely offered to them. They made light of this invitation. Parables always teach a deep truth, and in this one, a king (representing God the Father) sent out an invitation (through prophets) for His subjects (Israel) to attend the wedding of His Son (Jesus). The nation rejected the invitation. They “neglected so great salvation.” The invitation was then extended to Gentiles. Paul wrote to Timothy, a young pastor, and reminded him,
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery” (1 Timothy 4:14).
We all have different gifts, but if we neglect our salvation, the gifts will be neglected also. Stay in God’s word, and put a high priority on honoring what He has done for you.
It’s easy to slip into neglecting our salvation when we spend more time in worldly pursuits and with worldly people. There’s nothing wrong with your son playing football, but when his games consistently fall on Sunday morning or when football camp becomes more important than Sunday school, there’s a problem. Paul wrote many letters to many congregations that were established in very pagan cities. Sadly, these congregations found it easy to slip back into pagan ways. For example, there were many things wrong in Corinth, and Paul encouraged them to break ties with unbelievers.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17).
It’s easy to neglect our salvation when we only fellowship with unbelievers or worldly Christians. Ladies, if the man you “love” isn’t a Christian, why are you dating him? If you yoke yourself with a non-Christian, you will soon neglect your salvation, and he will lead you away from God. The same is true with business relationships. If God isn’t your main concern, then how can you honor Him in all you do? If salvation is neglected, then God is second in our life, and we know we aren’t to have any god before Him.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about losing your salvation. If you have made an earnest confession of faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sin, then you are saved by His grace. You cannot do any works to save yourself. Jesus paid the ransom on the cross. When you confessed that you’re a sinner and accepted His free gift of salvation, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit. The faith you professed should have changed your life and attitude.
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12-14).
The Holy Spirit is sealed within each Christian, and our salvation is secure. When we neglect our salvation and ease back into the old ways of the world, that’s when we feel as if He has moved away from us, when in fact, it’s us who moved. He’s still sealed within us; we’ve just put our fingers in our ears.
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
Christ did His part; now we have to respect Him and walk in His way.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Neglecting our salvation can and does bring swift reckoning. To be in fellowship with our Father in Heaven means we stay in His word…we read, we study, we do whatever we can to keep in fellowship with God. In this way, we keep the joy of the Lord within us and are not overcome by evil fleshly desires. Fellowshipping with God means we aren’t neglecting Him but heeding His words.
“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:21-25).
God needs to be first in our life. If we neglect our salvation, it’s easy to forget how ugly sin is and slip back into old ways. If we become doers of the word, we form the habit of putting God first. We remember the price that was paid for our salvation. God’s love for us should never be taken for granted but treated as the valuable treasure it is.
There are consequences for every decision we make. Deciding to neglect Gods’ word is a sure way to bring about unpleasant consequences. The Bible is His word, and it is given to us to study and learn who He is, why He came, and what He expects of each one of us. If we neglect His word, we are telling Him that we take our salvation with a grain of salt…that His sacrifice was a nice thing for Him to do, but other things are more important to us. Jesus Christ paid a price that we cannot possibly comprehend. As Christians, our gratitude should show in everything we do, and Christ should be first in our life. Never ever should we neglect salvation. Salvation neglected is Christ rejected.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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