Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Are You Neglecting the Gift of Salvation?

1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. ~ Hebrews 2:1-4 (English Standard Version)

Hebrews is a curious yet sophisticated canon of the Bible. The author of Hebrews, still being debated, although it is titled “The Letter to the Hebrews”, it is not really an epistle of letter and was certainly not written to the Hebrew-speaking Jews because it was written in Greek. Some say because of its form and subject matter that is may be an extended sermon. What we can agree this message delivered to a people that had drifted away from their faith and this is a warning of the dangers it will bring.

These first four verses begins a series of five cautions that implore and encourage us to pay attention to God’s Word that includes correct and godly teaching. These five cautions start with our need to hear God’s Word, the following verses through the end of chapter two included our need to see God, trust God, believe God and obey God, then repeated 3:7-4:13. These five disciplines are the basics for Godly discipleship and growth in Christ. These basic disciplines also fortified with strong warnings, when we do not fear and trust in God we disable our call and bring disorder to ourselves and to those around us.

The people this message was first delivered to a mislead church that thought angels were preeminent beings and their messages were binding and faultless beyond that of the Prophets and even that of Jesus. These beliefs were not from the Torah or Writings but a heresy infecting Jewish and Christians alike. This is important; we cannot confuse the role of Christ with that of the angels who are an inferior part of the creation. We today face the same challenges of the people of the early church and must not compromise Christ’s status as the Son of God, a part of the Trinity. We cannot change God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit to appease others; if we do, we are no longer worshiping the One True God!

The teaching of Hebrews makes clear that Jesus Christ if the All in All, Christ Word is infallible and binding, more than the angels of any other thing in existence. Using a Jewish writing technique of lesser to greater (“qal vahomer” or “easy and hard”) using the images if Sinai to strengthen his point to those whose faith and knowledge of Christ was drifting away. This message also confirmed by the first eyewitnesses, primarily the apostles who had given their word that the message true and authenticated by the signs and wonders of prophecy. (See Hebrews 3:12-14; 4:1; 11:5; 11:11-12; 6:11-12; 10:22-25; 12:1-13; 12:25-29) The important message is that we must trust in Christ and Christ alone! Not His creation or messengers for they are fallible, in doing this Christ will send us angels to serve us when we need them, most of the time we won't even be aware. (Deuteronomy 32:43; Samuel 7:14; Psalm 2:7; Psalm 97:7)

32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, "'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.' 34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, "'I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.' ~ (Acts 13:32-34 ESV)

We must safeguard our faith with trust in Christ and not neglect the gift He has given us! the gift of salvation and everlasting life with Him Who Loves Us! Amen. <><

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