vs. 1 “Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard.”
This is comparing New Testament saints to the Old Testament saints. Old Testament believers had a good covenant, but we have a better covenant. The end of that verse says, “Lest at any time we should let them slip.” The actual meaning of this is, “lest anytime we should drift by them,” and it is a picture of someone in a boat that just happens to drift by the port. They missed their port, they missed the mooring.
vs. 2 “For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,
vs. 3 “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,”
The phrase, “How shall we escape?” is addressed to believers. Because we have been given so great salvation, we have a greater responsibility to the Lord than Old Testament believers had. Hebrews 1 tells us Old Testament saints received the Word of God by angels, by revelation from God, but we have received the Word of God in our time period from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. What we have received is so much greater than what believers received in the Old Testament. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.”
Notice that phrase “so great salvation.” When did “so great salvation” begin? It began when Jesus preached it. He preached things that had never been heard. Salvation was available in the Old Testament, but Jesus came and preached “so great salvation,” something that literally eclipsed what they had in the Old Testament. Yes, we believe in the Lord like they believed in the Lord. Yes, it was accounted to them for righteousness as it is accounted to us, but we have so much more. We have the New Birth. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. No longer does the Holy Spirit live in a temple made out of tents. The Holy Spirit moved out of that temple and moved into you and me on the Day of Pentecost. God saw we were so valuable, the Holy Spirit wanted to move out of a man-made building and move into something created by God. The key word throughout Hebrews is the word “better.” What they had was good, but what we have is better. He says again ” Which at first began to be spoken by the Lord and then was confirmed unto us by them (that is Peter and James and John, the disciples,) that heard Him.”
I want to amplify the phrase “so great salvation.” Salvation is greater than what you received when you asked Jesus to become your Lord and Savior. When you opened up your life and said, “Jesus, come into my life. Jesus, come into my heart. Jesus, be my Savior,” that was an awesome day, but so much more happened. Salvation is much more than the fact that we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Salvation is Progressive
vs. 10 “For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
This verse is saying the way we receive righteousness is by believing. Salvation began with the Lord Jesus Christ, but in our own personal lives, it started when we said “yes” to Jesus Christ. Do you remember the day you accepted Jesus as your Savior?Christians really have two birthdays: the day they were physically born and the day they were spiritually born again. Many remember the day they were born again, salvation for a Christian is not just past tense. There is also a progressive salvation taking place. When this term “so great salvation” is used, it doesn’t just refer to something past tense. It is something working in your life in the present. Jesus began working in your life when you accepted Him as Lord and Savior, but what a blessing to know it continues every day!
In the Greek, there is a tense called the perfect tense. The perfect tense is a mixture of the past and the present tenses. No other language has perfect tense like the New Testament Greek. By combining these two tenses, you have something that began in the past with results that carry over into the present. One example of this is found in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” When this verse says, “For by grace are you saved,” it is the perfect tense. Kenneth Wuest’s translation is the only place I have found this correctly translated. His translation says, “For by grace were you saved in the past with results that keep right on coming up until the present.” Even though your salvation began sometime in the past, without you even thinking about it, it is still working on the inside of you every single day! You are progressively saved daily.
The salvation you received when you were born again is complete, but the work of salvation inside you keeps progressing each and every day. Paul says in Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Notice, Paul did not say to work for your salvation. He said to work out your salvation. What is inside of you needs to come out where people can see it, where people can witness what’s inside of your life. As the Old Testament said, man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. God can see that I’m saved in my heart, but there’s a world out there that needs to see my actions and hear my words, and those actions and words are an outward reflection that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.
You Are the Only Bible Some May Ever See
Many people in the world will never read the Bible, but the Bible says you are an epistle known and read of all men. You may be the only Bible they will ever read. The New Testament should actually be lived out in our lives in a way that others can see God’s Word in you. Salvation is not only past tense, the day I accepted Jesus Christ. Salvation is not only present tense, working in my life each day. Salvation is also future tense, yet to come to pass in my life. One day my salvation will be complete. I will have a brand new resurrection body just like that of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:11).
Romans 13:11 says, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Notice, it seems like a contradictory statement is being made. Salvation is closer now than when we believed. You may have believed many years ago, but this verse says your salvation is nearer today than the day you received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This verse is not referring to your spiritual salvation; it is referring to your physical salvation. One day we are going to rise to meet Jesus in the air and every day we live, we are closer to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are always people who say, “Well, we shouldn’t build church buildings if Jesus is coming soon. We shouldn’t go to Bible school because Jesus is coming back soon.” Folks, it is better to be doing something when Jesus returns than not doing anything and just sitting around waiting for the rapture to come. WhenHe comes back, I want Him to find me doing something for the kingdom of God!
So Great Salvation
So again, not only is salvation past, it is also present, and future. Past, present and future salvation are wrapped up in the one phrase, “so great salvation.” The Lord Jesus Christ began to preach this message andit was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, including preachers and ministers throughout the centuries who have brought us the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s take a look at “so great salvation” through the eyes of God. In Romans 8:29-30 says, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” God lives in a place where there is no time. A million years look just as clear to God as today looks to us. This verse tells us, the plan of salvation was in place before the foundation of the world, and from the foundation of the world
God saw you saved. When the earth and the universe were just being formed, God already had the plan of salvation in place. He saw you saved and He saw me saved. He saw those yet to be saved. And He saw all of it before the foundation of the world. The day you accepted Jesus is the day salvation became real to you, but it became real to God before the foundation of the world. My future was seen by God before the foundation of the world! Notice, God not only saw me justified, (saved); He not only saw me conformed to the image of Jesus Christ; He also sees me glorified and I haven’t even been glorified yet! How do I know I’m going to Heaven? Because God already sees me there. In fact, it is past tense. I have already been glorified!
God Sees You In Heaven
How can you have confidence that you are going to get through the trial you are facing this week or next? How do you know you will come through this problem? Because God already sees you in Heaven at His throne. How do you know you’re going to get through your problem? Because God already sees you through this problem and the next problem, and every problem yet to come. And if Jesus doesn’t return for another twenty years or even a hundred years from now, He already sees you in Heaven shouting and rejoicing around His throne in a resurrection body, already glorified. So what do you have to worry about? Nothing! No wonder it is called “so great salvation.”
My past is covered. My present is covered. My future is covered by God who saw it all beforethefoundation of the world. Once He saw it, He stamped “done” on it. It is done. It is complete. The day God saw you accept Jesus, God stamped “done.” He already sees you in Heaven. What do you have to fear from the devil or demons or the circumstances of life? No wonder you can say to the circumstances of life, “If God be for me, who can be against me?”
What We Have Been Saved From
Usually, if you ask someone to describe salvation, they will say something like, “I have eternal life.” And they do. “I’ve been justified.” And they have. “My name is in the Book of Life.” Yes, it is. “All of God’s blessingshave been given to me.” Yes, they have. Usually, Christians talk about what they have been saved to. I want to discuss what we were saved from.
First, we were saved from sin. Sin is not a popular subject today. Christians enjoy talking about God’s goodness and love, but if we were never in sin, it would have been unnecessary for Jesus to come and save us. If you saw someone drowning and you saved them, they would probably thank you for saving them from death. You and I died and Jesus resurrected us from the dead. We died in Adam. We were lost and dead in our trespasses and sin and Jesus came and died for us. Salvation in all areas is from sin. When you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you were taken out of sin; but your daily salvation also removes you from a life of sin. Why would you want to be sanctified today? So you don’t live under the control of sin. You may be a Christian, but Christians can still be under the control of sin. Your future salvation will redeem youfrom your physical body that still carries the brand of sin. One day, this body will be changed into a resurrection body and on that day, your salvation will be complete.
If we had not been in sin, we would not have to be saved from sin. Adam passed sin upon all men and all women because we are all born into this earth under the control of sin. Jesus came to redeem us from sin. But even though we have been saved from sin and forgiven of sin, we are still surrounded by it every day. God does not want us to be under the control of sin. Daily we are to remove ourselves from the sin that surrounds us, the society we live in, and the lusts of the world. Our future salvation will be removal of the temptations of sin that are a result of the natural body in which we live. We will one day live in our redeemed resurrection body!
Saved from the Pleasure of Sin
Upon salvation, the first area we were saved from is the pleasure of sin. Now some of you may say “Yeah, but you know what? If I sin once in awhile, it’s not that bad.” First, you and I have been saved from the pleasure of sin. Some of you may think, “Well, doesn’t the Bible say there’s pleasure in sin for a season?” It does, but the pleasure in sin when you sin as a Christian is not the same as the pleasure you had when you were a sinner. When you were a sinner, you didn’t walk away with guilt hanging over you like you do now when you sin. As a Christian, you have the nature of God’s goodness on the inside and it is greater than the sin nature in your body, the nature of your flesh. Once you were born again, the true pleasure of sin was removed. There may be momentary pleasure in it, but it is so different than it was when you were a sinner.
I’ve heard some people admit, “I’ve gone back and done some of those old things. I’ve sinned, but now I’m different. There’s something about sin, it doesn’t have the same pleasure it used to have.” For a Christian to truly enjoy sin he must disregard the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If he does it long enough, Timothy says that person’s conscience becomes seared (1 Timothy 4:2). The Holy Spirit in you is always prompting you to follow after God. Proverbs 5:4 says the end of sin is as wormwood and is as sharp as a two-edged sword. Where sin once resulted in temporary pleasure, the love of God now resides in the believer’s heart. To sin, the believer must override the love of God that resides in his or her heart.
Psalms 4:2 says the sinner loves vanity. Psalms 11:5 says the sinner loves violence. Psalm 52:3 says the sinner loves evil. Proverbs 1:22 says the sinner loves lies. Isaiah 66:3 says the sinner delights in their abominations. First John 2:15 says, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” At times, the world may still be attractive to you, but love for the world is gone; and when you dabble in the things of the world, conviction comes on you in a way it never comes on a sinner. The most miserable people on the face of the earth are Christians trying to live their old lives, trying to run from the Spirit of God, trying to smother the love of God on the inside, and trying their best to live like the world.
In the Old Testament we are told the story of the time David committed adultery with Bathsheba, covered it for a whole year, and when that year had ended, he was so dull toward spiritual things and angry inside, that when Nathan the prophet came and told him the story of the ewe lamb, David stood up, pounded the table, and yelled that the man who had done this thing would pay four-fold. David was so spiritually dull he didn’t realize the story was about him. Nathan had to finally say, “You are the man” before David understood.
Find a Christian trying to live as a sinner and you will find an angry person. The pleasure is removed fromsin, yet they are trying their best to continue in it and find the pleasure they once had in sin. But now they have a new nature and the Holy Spirit causes the love of God to be shed abroad in their heart. The sinner loves vanity, violence, evil, and lies. He delights in their abomination. There is a difference between loving sin and committing sin. The world loves it. A Christian can commit sin, but he doesn’t love it because the pleasure has been removed from it.
Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” Proverbs 16:6 says, “By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” Another result of following God is we begin to hate evil and depart from it. The spirit man on the inside of us is the place where the love of God abides. The love of the world is in our flesh but not in our spirit. Your spirit man is greater than the flesh, and that is the reason the Word of God declares greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Greater is your spirit man than your flesh man. Your flesh is temporary. It only exists while you are on earth. One day you’ll have a resurrection body. It will be made out of spirit. The spirit man is eternal and greater than the flesh. The good that is in us fights the evil that is in our flesh so we cannot enjoy sin like we once did.
In Romans 7:2I Paul says, speaking to us, “I find it a law that when I would do good, evil is present with me.” In other words, we desire to do good, but evil is present. Verse 22 says, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” What is in my inward man? A delight for the things of God. Although my flesh would rather go after the things of the world, I delight in my inward man for the things of God. “I delight in the law after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” At this time Paul is describing a carnal Christian and how miserable they are. If you yield to the delight of the inward man not to the lust of the flesh, you’ll be happy. If you yield to the lust of the flesh, you will not be happy. When you are born again, the pleasure of sin is removed. The only true pleasure for a Christian is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ day in and day out. The most fulfilled people on the face of the earth are Christian’s serving God day after day.
Saved from the Penalty of Sin
Not only have we been saved from the pleasure of sin, but we have also been saved from the penalty of sin. In Luke 7:50, Jesus told a woman who had just received Him as Lord and Savior, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” When we have been saved from the penalty of sin, peace overwhelms us. When you wereborn again, a peace came into your life because the penalty of sin was over once and for all. Glory to God!
First Thessalonians 1:1 says Jesus has “delivered us from the wrath that is to come.” The reason we have peace today is because the penalty of sin is spiritual death. The penalty of sin is banishment from God, but you and I have been saved from the wrath that is to come. God will never have wrath toward us? If we sin, He will have displeasure toward our sin. If we have a bad attitude, He will have displeasure toward our attitude, but we will never face the wrath of God because He has saved us from the wrath that is to come. Not only have I been saved from sin and from the pleasure of sin, I have been saved from the penalty of sin. It will never touch my life. I never have to worry about health. I never have to worry about the Lake of Fire. The moment I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, the penalty of sin no longer applied to my life.
There is No Condemnation
Romans 8:1 say, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” The opposite of condemnation is justification. What is condemnation? We’ve been charged with a crime. What is justification? We have been found guiltless and the law holds nothing against us. The law should have condemned us. We were guilty. We were sinners. But Jesus took the condemnation of sin and was justified; and by accepting Him, my sin is transferred to Him and the condemnation of it is gone. I receive His justification. How can I say there is no condemnation? Because I am in Christ Jesus. Jesus took sin and the condemnation of sin and removed it. I stand free. I have been found guiltless of the crime with which I was charged by accepting Jesus. My sin was transferred to Him and His justification was transferred to me. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He who knew no sin (Jesus) became sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
Not only does the law have nothing against me, I’m also entitled to all of its rewards. I’m free from the condemnation and penalty of sin. I am also saved from the power of sin. Does sin have a power? Yes. But I have a Greater Power living in me and I am free from the power of sin. Being free from the power of sin is not only something that was given to me at the new birth; it is also something I grow in each and every day. I learn to overcome the power of sin. Again, provisionally it was given to me at the new birth. The momentI was saved, God gave me the power to overcome sin, but it is something I must walk and grow in each and every day. It is also the most difficult part of salvation to understand because we have a mindset thatsalvation is completely finished and often fail to realize salvation works in our lives each and every day.
Free from the Power of Sin
Not only was I set free from the power of sin, I daily walk free from the power of sin. Just because I was born again doesn’t mean I’ll never have to face sin again. I face it daily, but I grow in His power, which is greater than the power of sin; and I can declare every day no matter how powerful sin is, I have been set free and delivered from the power of sin!
Many preach and believe when they were saved, the desire for sin was removed, but that is not true. God gave us a greater power than the power of sin. God’s power comes through His Word so we can walk free from sin. Paul says to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto yourself, and unto the doctrine [or the teaching]; continue in them; for in doing this you shall both save yourself, and them that hear you.” Notice Paul is talking to a man who is already saved, but still says, “By the power of the promises of God, you can save yourself and those that surround you each day.” There is a salvation that comes by the power of the Word of God. As you walk in the promises, you see the daily deliverance from the temptations of the world around you, daily deliverance from the sins you’ve committed and didn’t resist. You have power to walkaway from those sins by the power of the Word of God.
Psalms 119:11 says, “Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” The power to walk free from sin comes by our understanding of the Word of God. We are to fill ourselves with more of the Word of God, because we know today, tomorrow, and the rest of the week, we’re going to face the temptations of the world. The Word we have heard will cause us to walk in victory.