Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hebrews 2 - Do Not Neglect So Great a Salvation

LINK: Hebrews 2


BACKGROUND


This book has five warnings, and Hebrews 2 contains the first:


We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, 
so that we do not drift away from it. 
(Hebrews 2:1)

We learned  in Hebrews 1 that God had spoken through His Son; and His Son is above the angels, Heir of all things, Creator, Sustainer, Owner, Ruler, and Redeemer of the World (remember from Colossians 2:9 that in Christ all the "fullness of deity [God] dwells in bodily form"). The immature and dull of hearing Hebrews (5:11-12) needed to listen up and not ignore "so great a salvation"! 


What is this great salvation?
Only what is it really—this great salvation? What he's really saying is: Don't neglect being loved by God. Don't neglect being forgiven and accepted and protected and strengthened and guided by Almighty God. Don't neglect the sacrifice of Christ's life on the cross. Don't neglect the free gift of righteousness imputed by faith. Don't neglect the removal of God's wrath and the reconciled smile of God. Don't neglect the indwelling Holy Spirit and the fellowship and friendship of the living Christ. Don't neglect the radiance of God's glory in the face of Jesus. Don't neglect the free access to the throne of grace. Don't neglect the inexhaustible treasure of God's promises. This is a great salvation. Neglecting it is very evil. Don't neglect so great a salvation. 
("Spoken, Confirmed, Witnessed: A Great Salvation" sermon by John Piper)
Jesus came from heaven and made himself a man who was a "little lower than the angels," suffered, and died in order to bring people up above the angels and into the family of God. Jesus became a perfect human in order to become our perfect High Priest who was sacrificed for all of humanity. Because of His suffering when tempted, He is able to come to our aid when we are tempted. This IS a great salvation! So, we need to listen to Jesus since "God has spoken through His Son" (1:2).


REFLECTION


It is so hard to "pay attention" in this world where everything is delivered in 30 second sound bites and different things cry out and say, "Act upon me immediately!" Even while writing this post, I was almost driven to distraction by all the options that I had for my day. I wanted to finish War and Peace on my iPod as I walked around the block, call my friend back on the cell phone, watch that movie I started two days ago, and contact friends on Facebook to arrange meetings or ask questions for important things (and it isn't even frivolous chat). Some of these things are worthy goals (except maybe the movie), but they are still distractions, and this instant electronic world makes them more "in your face" as gongs, musical pieces, beeps, and chimes emanate from cell phones, computers, and iPods everywhere we turn!


Thankfully, I made a commitment over 30 years ago to start my day with the Lord. It helps me to focus on Him and this "great salvation" before getting lost in the myriad options (and distractions) that vie for my attention on a daily basis.  War and Peace can wait, my daily exercise can wait, the movie can wait, my friends can wait, and I can turn off the bells and whistles for these sacred minutes alone with the Lord. There is one thing that is needful and is the better thing: "paying careful attention" to Him like Mary did as she sat at His feet (Luke 10:42). 

APPLICATION


Do you neglect this "great salvation"?  Here are some questions from John Piper's sermon on Hebrews. Dialogue with God about it:
Now this is a sobering word for the world and for the church, because most people do neglect the greatness of salvation. How many people do you know who give serious, sustained attention to the salvation accomplished by Christ—who love it, and think about it, and meditate on it, and marvel at it, and feel continual gratitude for it, and commend it to others as valuable, and weave it into all the lesser things of their lives, and set their hopes on it? Do you live this way? Is it not astonishing how neglectful even professing Christians are of their great salvation? 
Is there a sense of greatness in your mind about your salvation? When something truly great is happening, there is an appropriate response to greatness. Do you respond to the greatness of your salvation? Or do you neglect it? Do you treat your salvation the way you treat your will or the title to your car or the deed on your house? You signed it once and it is in a file drawer somewhere, but it is not a really great thing. It has no daily effect on you. Basically you neglect it. (Ibid. John Piper)
What is your "I will" statement for today?

PRAYER


Lord, focus our hearts and minds on what is needful. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. 



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