As we begin chapter 2 of the book of Hebrews, the practical reason for the author’s comprehensive theological argument proving that, “Jesus is superior to the angels,” comes to the surface: he is concerned that his audience might drift away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The glorious message of the Creator God, becoming flesh in order to die for man the creature’s sin, pardoning and reconciling human beings to God, is great indeed! Further the idea that this is a gift of grace and cannot be attained by law-keeping, makes it even more amazing. In our text, the author conveys the magnitude of the Gospel message in two ways: first, he warns his audience that to neglect God’s Word of grace in the New Testament is a worse transgression than to disobey God’s law in the Old Testament. If the penalty for sin against God’s law is just, then to ignore His grace sustains and even greater penalty. If the consequence for sinfulness was not bad enough, compounding it by disregarding this freely offered gift of salvation becomes catastrophic. Secondly then, he magnifies the Gospel message by calling it “such a great salvation,” reminding us that it was spoken by the Lord Himself and confirmed by God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Having magnified the glories of Christ’s deity in chapter one, the author is about to explore the glories of His humanity; but before he does, he issues this solemn warning that as great as this Gospel is, it is possible for someone to know about it and yet still miss salvation and be eternally lost. To hear the Gospel message and understand it is not enough; we must personally take our stand and actively believe in God’s Word. The grave danger expressed in this text is not for those individuals who reject the Gospel outright; danger, as it often is, is more insidious. The warning he issues is to those who do not pay careful attention to the Gospel, and as a result drift away from it. Such is the condition of many professing Christians in our world today. They may be Christian in name, but their full and faithful commitment to the Gospel is missing because it was never embraced by faith.
Baptism, which God willing we will witness on Sunday, is a picture of a full and faithful commitment and immersion into the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When a person goes down into the water, it portrays the death and burial of the old person with their carnal nature. Having been buried with Him in baptism (Col 2:12a), all who have been baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into His death (Rom 6:3). Coming out from the water illustrates a new and resurrected life that will be lived out in Christ in obedience to God’s Word … in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead (Col 2:12b), Water baptism is a powerful sign pointing to the even greater truth of salvation. The greatness of salvation then is portrayed in the transformed life of the baptized believer. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Gal 3:27).
As we witness the great symbol and sign of our great salvation, may it remind us and concentrate our attention on the great Gospel-work in the heart of every true believer. May this remind us of the great price that our great King and great God paid for us to be saved, so that we would never drift away from it.