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Hebrews 2:1-4 Don’t Neglect Salvation

Hebrews 2:1–4 (NKJV) 1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 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, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

  • 2:1 “For this reason” or “Therefore we must” This refers to the truths of chapter 1…
  • By way of exhortation – strongly encouraging us
  • The writer adds strong motives to enforce the exhortation.

We will LOSE the great truths we have been given if we are not diligently heeding them and making sure we are not drifting away from them

  • They will leak, and run out of our heads, lips, and lives, and we shall be great losers by our neglect.
  • It causes inconceivable loss when we let gospel truths, which we had received, slip out of our minds;


  • Since the Son is so supremely great and is destined for final triumph over His enemies, the readers would do well to pay more careful attention to these realities.
  • The danger is that, if they would not, they might drift away

Proverbs 3:21–23 (NKJV)  My son, let them not depart from your eyes— Keep sound wisdom and discretion;  So they will be life to your soul And grace to your neck.  Then you will walk safely in your way, And your foot will not stumble.

  • Therefore we must give the more earnest heed      “we must” This is the term “dei,” which means moral necessity.

“give the more earnest heed”

  • NASB “pay much closer attention”
  • NKJV “give the more earnest heed”
  • NRSV “pay greater attention to”
  • TEV “hold on all the more firmly to”

The Greek means to give special and complete attention and care to something or someone

“lest we drift away”

  • It literally means “to flow by” or “slip away.”
  • There is an element of contingency caused by an unstated outside agent (something that might happen because of an outside influence or event)
  • CONTINGENCY:   an event (as an emergency) that may but is not certain to occur; something liable to happen as an adjunct to or result of something else
  • (be careful that something on the outside of YOU – false teachers, worldliness, sin, etc – doesn’t cause you to drift away from the truth; it doesn’t HAVE to happen, but it COULD happen).

There are three ways of viewing this warning:

  1. referring to those who refused to respond to the gospel
  2. referring to those who had believed but not matured
  3. referring to those who had believed and were in danger of not holding on to their original profession/confession
  • The meaning of verse 2 & 3: if the truth given through angels was met with a punishment and loss when neglected, how much more will the truth spoken by Jesus be met with punishment and loss if neglected?

“the word spoken through angels”

This is referring to the Mosaic Law. The Jews believed that angels acted as mediators between GOD and Moses

“proved steadfast”

  • NASB “proved unalterable”
  • NKJV “proved steadfast”
  • NRSV “was valid”
  • TEV “was shown to be true”

“every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty” Covenants are based on obedience! Willful disobedience has clear and immediate consequences (cf. 10:28).

2:3 “how will we escape” The book of Hebrews has many severe warnings about neglecting God’s truth

  • 2:1–4 – “every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,”
  • 3:7–4:11 –    “‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath,    ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
  • 5:10–6:12 “if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”
  • 10:19–39 “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,”
  • 12:14–29 “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;”

“if we neglect so great a salvation?”

The term “neglect” (ameleō) means “to pay no attention to” or “to be unconcerned about” something or someone

Is this referring to (1) a rejecting of the new covenant (the gospel) or (2) a neglecting of the new covenant?

  • The contemporary usage of the term implies #2.

“which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord,”

  • Jesus is called by GOD’s OT covenant title “Lord”
  • This is one of the ways it shows the deity of Jesus
  • GOD Himself bears witness to the truth of Jesus’ message

4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

  • Signs and wonders were intended both to encourage believers and to help unbelievers accept the truth
  • There was an intensification of both evil and spiritual gifts surrounding Jesus’ first coming, as there will be surrounding His second coming.

“and by gifts of the Holy Spirit”

  • Every believer has at least one spiritual gift
  • This spiritual giftedness of believers is one of the contemporary evidences of the gospel’s validity

“according to His own will”

  • The Spirit chooses and distributes gifts
  • Gifts are not based on personal merit or personal choice
  • If the spiritual gift relates to a natural talent, it is energized and so directed as to bring honor to Christ, not the individual Christian.

Six Signs of Drifting Spiritually

Loss of Focus

Your heart changes from the things of God to the things of this world.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Loss of Priorities

You are more concerned about yourself than others, including God

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Loss of Passion

You no longer have a passionate love for God or His word

Loss of discipline and holiness

Your lifestyle becomes more sinful

Loss of Commitment

Meeting with the Lord’s people becomes less important to you and you FORSAKE it

Loss of Conviction and Emotion

You no longer respond to the Holy Spirit – it’s just not a big deal to you anymore

A Call to Repentance

Hosea 6

Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us;

He has stricken, but He will bind us up.

2      After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up,

That we may live in His sight.

3      Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.

His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain,

Like the latter and former rain to the earth.