The Hebrew writer, asks the question: How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb 2:3) It is a rhetorical question and the answer is an obvious “We won’t!”
There at least four shades of meaning to the word neglect. Do any of them apply to you and your salvation?
Neglecting can mean to “pass by” something.
Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. (Luk 10:31)
This verse from the parable of the good Samaritan uses the words “passed by”. Yet it means that he ‘neglected’ the man lying on the side of the road.
Do we observe the Pass over in some areas of our Christian life? Do we just pass by hard to understand Scripture because we don’t think we will like the outcome? Might some of those areas affect our relationship with God and our salvation? Whether it is examining our own lives to make corrections, or examining Scriptures to understand ‘hard to understand’ passages, we should not pass by (neglect) those things that can affect our salvation and relationship with God.
Neglecting can be done by ignoring.
Another word for neglect is ‘ignore’. Much like you might ignore your shoe laces until they become untied, you can ignore your salvation until it falls into a state of serious disrepair.
The Priests in the days of Nehemiah committed to doing their part for the service of the house of God.
“We also take on ourselves the obligation to give yearly a third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God:…We will not neglect the house of our God.” (Neh 10:32, 39)
I cannot help but think about what Paul wrote in 1 corinthians 3:17 that says “we are the temple of God” when he talks about the congregation. (Chapter 6 says the same thing and talks about the individual Christian). One of the ways you can destroy a house or a temple is to simply ignore it. Perhaps you have noticed that a building structure that is not lived in, will fall apart faster than one that is.
Neglecting can also be done by “forgetting”
Have you ever walked into another room and ‘forgot’ what you went in the room for? Sure, we all have. But what about those times when someone asks you to pick up something in town and, as you head back to the house, you slap your head and go “D’oh!” I forgot that. Sometimes those are very important things that we ‘neglecting’ by forgetting to to them.
Those things that are important to us are the things we will remember to do. In Hebrews 13, the writer reminds his audience to ‘not neglect to show hospitality in verse two and later in verse sixteen, “do not neglect to do good”.
I wonder if the rich man in the story of Lazarus and the rich man simply “forgot” to do good for Lazarus? Either way, he neglected to do anything and look where that landed him! God saved us so that we might walk in good works. Do not neglect by forgetting to do the good works for which we have been prepared. (Eph 2:10 and 2 Tim 3:16-17)
Neglecting can also be done by being careless with something of value.
This I think is the primary thought for this passage. “Pay special attention” to the salvation that you have received.
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 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… (Heb 2:1-3 ESV)
And why shouldn’t we pay more attention and take care to not be careless with the message of the Gospel. This message did not come by man’s doing! It came from God Himself. Jesus, the Son of God, God in the flesh, revealed the message to man. It did not come through a mediator (angels).
In a family with many siblings, the older child(ren) are often put in charge of the younger ones. What they tell their younger brothers and sisters still is something they need to listen to. Yet, it is the same as when the parent comes in and tells them what needs to be done directly. There is a difference, yet it is the same. If you don’t listen to your brother, they are not likely to ground you or spank you but the punishment will happen when the parent gets home. (and sometimes you talk your way out of it) However, when the parent is home, punishments happen quicker and you should “pay more attention” to what you hear.
Question: What are some things that keep us from paying attention like we ought to do? Lord, willing I will have some answers to that question tomorrow.
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