You have heard the gospel and believed and obeyed it. You have died to you past life and made a commitment to follow Jesus. But over time, this commitment may weaken and you may slip back into the ways of the world. Don’t let that happen. Hebrews 2:1-4 “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?” The writer of Hebrews talks about drifting away like a boat that is not tied up and just floats away from the shore and out to sea. It could also be translated that we let the things we have heard slip away. Either way, the problem is that we weaken in our commitment to Christ and begin to engage in the ways of the world. The writer wants to encourage us not to let that happen. He describes how that in previous time, under the old covenant, every transgression and disobedience received a just reward. Remember Korah and those with him rebelled against Moses and how the earth opened up and swallowed them whole (Numbers 16). A man gathered sticks on the Sabbath day and was stoned to death (Numbers 15:23-36). King Saul did not obey God to completely destroy the Amalekites and he was rejected as king (1 Samuel 15). The Old Testament is filled with stories of the consequences of disobeying God’s word. The writer of Hebrews continues by asking how shall we escape if we neglect our salvation.
To neglect something is to be careless, not to care, and to not give the attention something needs. For example, consider someone who neglects the maintenance of the house he lives in. If the roof develops a leak, he doesn’t fix it. If a window is broken he doesn’t replace it. The paint is dirty and peeling off. Holes in the walls are not patched. Trees and bushes around the house are not trimmed. Weeds and grass grow wild and are not taken care of. You have most likely passed by such a house that is obviously neglected. But consider what it might mean for someone to neglect their salvation. He would seldom attend the assemblies of the church. He would almost never pick up his Bible to read and study it – it would gather dust. His prayer life would be minimal; most of his prayers would be just to give thanks for food. Rather than serving God and doing good works, most of his time would be spent in pursuing the things of the world. By his speech and actions, he looks like someone of the world.
You can make all kinds of excuses for neglecting your salvation. Look at the excuses used in Luke 14:16-24 “Then He said to him, ‘A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’” The excuses all seemed reasonable, but the master did not accept the excuses. Nor will God accept your excuses for neglecting your salvation.
The writer of Hebrews does not specify the result of neglecting our salvation; instead, he reasons that since those under the old covenant received a just reward for their transgressions and disobedience, how shall we escape if we neglect our great salvation which was brought to us by the Son of God. He later writes in Hebrews 12:18-29 “For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded: ‘And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.’ And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.’) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.’ Now this, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” My encouragement is that you not neglect your salvation but have grace to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.