Notes on Hebrews 2:1-4


Give Heed to the Gospel

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let [them] slip1. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation2; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him]; God also bearing [them] witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost3, according to his own will?

  • 1 Jn 8:31; Rom 11:22; 1 Co 15:2; Heb 3:6,14, 4:1,14, 10:23, 12:25, etc.
  • 2 Heb 12:25, Jn 8:31-32, Acts 13:43, 14:22, 2 Jn 1:9
  • 3 Acts 2:14-21, 1 Cor 12:8-11, Jn 2:23, 3:2, 6:2, 7:31, 9:16, 20:30

Therefore…

  • Therefore (ie, “for this cause”)… – The argument in Chapter 2 is a conclusion drawn on what has been said before (ie, the 7 OT quotations about Christ)
  • “In the opening verse of chapter 2 the apostle is making a practical and searching application of all he had said in chapter 1, where he had shown the superiority of Christianity over Judaism, by proving the exaltation of Christ—the Center and Substance of Christianity—over prophets and angels.” (AW Pink)

we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

  • Given all Scripture has said about Christ (God’s Son, Heir of all things, etc.), we should make every effort to cling to what He has taught us (the gospel) – Matt 7:24
  • “ought” (means “must”). It is a duty. It is the duty of every Christian to be faithful to the Word of God
  • To “give heed” is to apply the mind to and obey
  • Hearing is not enough, “there must be prayerful meditation, personal appropriation.” (AW Pink)
  • “The duty here intended is a serious, firm, and fixed settling of the mind upon that which we hear; a bowing and bending of the will to yield unto it; an applying of the heart to it, a placing of the affections upon it, and bringing the whole man into conformity thereunto. Thus it comprises knowledge of the Word, faith therein, obedience thereto, and all other due respects that may any way concern it”

    (Dr. Gouge)

  • “cling” = “Hold fast” in Hebrews, see 3:6, 4:14, 10:23

For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward

  • Another reason to take head of the gospel is because of the fearful vengeance of God.
  • “word spoken by angels” = Old Covenant Law
    • Acts 7:53 – [the Jews] “have received the law by the disposition of angels”
    • Gal 3:19 – [the law was] “ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator”
  • The Word of God is stedfast. According to Webster, stedfast is “Fast fixed; firm; Constant; resolute; not wavering”
  • “just recompence”: all sin will be punished, either in the cross of Christ, or in the eternal state. See Rom 2:5-13
    • God’s justice is in proportion to the weight of sin – see Matt 11:24, Lk 12:47-48, Mk 12:40, Heb 10:29

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…

    • Neglecting God’s Word under the gospel dispensation (Word spoken by Christ) is of far greater consequence than under the prior and lesser dispensation (Word spoken by Angels)
    • The present dispensation is called the “Day of Salvation”, see 2 Cor 6:2
    • “So great salvation” = the gospel; see Eph 1:13, “…the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation…”
    • The gospel is not just a great salvation, but ‘so’ great salvation
    • The gospel must be received, ie must not be neglected

The Gospel is more than a publication of good news, more than an invitation for burdened souls to come to Christ for relief and peace. …it is a Divine mandate, an authoritative command, which is disregarded at the sinner’s imminent peril.
– AW Pink

    • The gospel is a command:
    • And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness…
      – Acts 17:30-31

    • escape…neglect; The necessity to persevere in grace: see John 8:31-32, Acts 13:43, 14:22, 2 John 1:9
    • What does one fail to escape who neglects the gospel? Hell. Mk 16:16

…which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will

  • Contrary to popular dispensationalism, Christ preached the gospel and was the first gospel preacher
  • The purpose for signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts was to confirm the initial preaching of the gospel – Jn 2:23, 3:2, 6:2, 7:31, 9:16, 20:30
  • The gospel was ‘worthy of acceptation’ based simply on the nobility of the One who preached it; but in a further acts of mercy and grace, God confirmed the gospel with miracles and signs that could not be denied
  • See Acts 2:14-21: “…I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath …[and] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
  • Gifts: 1 Cor 7:17, 12:8-11, etc.
  • Will of God: Matt 6:10, Eph 1:9-11, Rom 12:2
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