to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
December 12, 2019 – Thursday
Hebrews 2:1-4 NIV
1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.
2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment,
3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.
4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.
The therefore in verse one references paying the most careful attention to what we have heard, so we do not drift away because of what was learned in chapter one. What was learned? Specifically, what Jesus had to say was more important, superior to what the angels told Moses. Bottom line: Jesus, the Son of God is superior to angels and we cannot drift away from that knowledge and truth.
But wait a minute, if the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment (emphasis added) then what are we to think about disobeying Jesus who is superior to the angels? The author of Hebrews puts the question to us this way [H]ow shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? Guzik provides context by stating A greater word brought by a greater Person having greater promises will bring a greater condemnation if it is neglected. The greater promise is referred to in verse three as so great a salvation. Thus we need to remain aware Hebrews was written to followers of Jesus, Christians, who were beginning to drift away because of the harassment and discrimination they were facing – especially Jewish Christians.
Nonetheless, salvation was such a great promise that it was first announced by the Lord Himself and then later it was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. But was it real, truly real? Verse four clearly states that it was because God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.
If God testifies to it, how much more concern should there be about the punishment associated with disobedience especially when He testified with signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit? Matthew Poole’s Commentary writing of the signs, wonders, and miracles adds they were above nature’s reach, signifying God’s being in and approving the gospel law, which they attend. More numerous and glorious were these than they which confirmed the law; such strange works as raised admiration in all that saw them, and are prodigious to those that hear of them, or read them. [M]iraculous works, such as are compassed only by a Divine, supernatural power; and variety of these, as healing all diseases, raising the dead, ejecting devils; works of as great mercy, as wisdom or power.
Bottom Line: The great promise of Salvation was not to be ignored nor was it to be drifted away from or we might hear from Jesus Himself in Matthew chapter seven:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name drive out demons and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’
We need to be exceedingly careful on how we treat the great promise (reality) of our salvation.
(to obey is better than sacrifice /obedience is better than sacrifice)
* To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)