How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
The book of Hebrews offers two great thoughts: one, this great salvation we have been given and all it brings to us, and two: the dangers of neglecting it. Chapter One begins with this great salvation itself and Chapter two tells us this great salvation could slip away unless we give the more earnest heed to what we have heard.
Apostasy is defined as abandonment of ones religious belief and neglect is defined as the failure to care for something properly. It is possible for the things we once believed to be so challenged by our circumstances that we alter our beliefs. The ongoing, consistent pressures of life push against us challenging the hope, trust and faith we have in HIM. The longer you live, the more opportunity you have had to see something not work, prayers not be answered and conditions remain unchanged. The temptation to deny God and His word is constantly before us as Satan works to sow seeds of doubt. Wasn’t it Job’s wife who encouraged him to curse God and die? These are human conditions when we are faced with circumstances we don’t understand.
The book of Hebrews warns us that the potential for apostasy is great. The Lord uses the picture of the children of Israel in the Old Testament as an example of this evil heart of unbelief, causing one or all to depart from the living God.
Jack Hayford's Spirit Filled Bible Study Notes record, “It is commonly understood that the book [Hebrews] was written primarily to the Jewish Christians…. There were two well-known times of persecution for Christians during the first century AD that may have impacted Hebrews' original audience, at least indirectly. In AD 49, the Roman Emperor Claudius expelled Jews from the city of Rome. And around AD 64, Emperor Nero persecuted Christians in the vicinity of Rome. As we read through the book of Hebrews, it becomes evident that the original audience had already faced persecution in the past, some of them were suffering in the present, and the author's expectation was that more of them would suffer, perhaps even more severely, in the future.”
The need to keep heart, mind and body firmly fixed and sanctified today is as great a challenge as it was when Hebrews was written. In comparison to much of the world, our North American culture lives in and remains at ease. My concern is for the casual believer as our world grows darker. Casual church attendance and the occasional podcast will never replace the need, the vital need, the one thing that is needful, to sit at the feet of the Father and feed upon His word. “He who holds nearest communion with Heaven can best discharge the duties of everyday life”. D. L. Moody
Failing to care for the spirit begins by simply removing ourselves from the place of prayer and feeding on the word of God. Jesus said my words are spirit and they are life and we are instructed to feed on them daily to nourish our inner man. Paul prayed that we would be strengthened with might in our inner man so we would walk worthy of the Lord fully pleasing Him with fruitful lives.
The psalmist wrote, “How can a young man cleanse His way? By taking heed according to your word.” He goes on to say, “Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you”. The busyness of life is a snare to spiritual health. This great salvation can slip away if neglected.
Hebrews is filled with admonitions and reminders of what we have been given; a new covenant, and how we are to live now: stedfast, faithful, patient and obedient. We are exhorted to remember the new covenant with new promises, to remember our High Priest and His sacrifice, keeping our eyes on Jesus so we can finish our race.
How can we escape if we neglect this great salvation?