How Shall We Escape

By J.M. Beatty

Hebrews 2:1-4 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. (2) For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; (3) 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; (4) 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? (KJV)

Earnest Heed

"...Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed...."

We are admonished by the author of Hebrews to give earnest heed to the things they have heard. How do we give "earnest heed" to a doctrine?

heed - prosecho (prose/xein - pros-ekh'-o/4337); from 4314 and 2192; (figuratively) to hold the mind (3563 implied) towards, i.e. pay attention to, be cautious about, apply oneself to, adhere to: KJV-- (give) attend (-ance, -ance at, -ance to, unto), beware, be given to, give (take) heed (to unto); have regard.

prosecho- (Thayer Greek/English Lexicon)

1) to bring to, to bring near;

to bring a ship to land, and simply to touch at, to put in

2) to turn the mind to, to attend to be attentive;

to a person or a thing: of caring for, providing for

3) to attend to oneself, that is, to give heed to oneself;

to give attention to, to take heed

4) to apply oneself to, to attach oneself to, to hold or to cleave to a person or a thing

a) to be given or addicted to

b) to devote thought and effort to

To give earnest heed to a doctrine we must pay close attention to the topic. We must be caution about what we have learned, and we must apply the truths presented to us. Simply stated we must be Doers of the word not hearers only. It's important we understand the mind set needed in order to give earnest heed to the doctrines of Christ. Let's ponder this concept in the Bible.

In order to maintain a sober mindset we must watch in prayer for the deceptive wiles of the Devil operating in our lives. We must put on the whole armour of God and allow our minds to think clearly (1Thes 5:5-9 1Pet 4:7 1Pet 5:8-9)

Walking circumspectly (cautiously, prudently) in regards to our faith is another though we should consider. Foolish men and women give little or no thought to their relationship with Jesus. Their lives are filled with worldly pursuits, but a circumspect Christian will redeem their time for the work of the kingdom because they know that the days are evil (Eph 5:15-16)

We all understand the importance of maintaining a single-minded attitude in our relationship with Jesus, but usually this is not the case. It's sad to admit that the normal Christian condition in America today is one of being double-minded. This is evidenced by our wavering in our faith. In order to give earnest heed to our position in the kingdom of God we must discipline our double-minded attitude (James 1:5-8 4:7-8)

The book of Proverbs teaches that fools despise (to disrespect, to hold as insignificant) the wisdom and instruction of the Lord. We think that only ungodly sinners despise the wisdom of God, but how wrong we are. When we apply the extended definition of the "Buwz" - the word translated "despised" - we learn that we despise the wisdom of God when we hold it as being insignificant in our lives and worldly pursuits. (Prov 1:7, 22)

The New Testament also admonishes us on several occasions not to be ignorant of God’s ways or the wiles of the Devil. The only way we can overcome our ignorance is to give earnest heed to the doctrines of Jesus Christ. (Rom 1:13; 10:3; 11:25; 1Cor 10:1; 12:1; 2Cor 2:11; 1Thes 4:13; 2Pet 3:5, 8)

Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (35) For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. (36) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (KJV)

We honestly don't realize the seriousness of the hour. Our worldly pursuits will become our snare. All the earth will be overtaken by the folly of human reason. We are admonished to watch and pray that we might be accounted worthy to escape the snare of the devil, and to stand before the Son of Man. We can only accomplish this mission when we give earnest heed to the teachings of Christ.

Things We Have Heard

"...to the things which we have heard,..."

Continuing with the same theme, the author of Hebrews wanted his readers to give earnest heed to the doctrine they heard from the Apostles of Jesus Christ. The author used a theme common to the Old Testament. In the book of Deut. Moses admonished the children of Israel to take serious heed of themselves, and to keep their souls diligently so they do not forget:

Jesus taught that knowing the truth is the path to freedom, but truth is much more than the doctrines we learn. Truth is not facts that never change, because facts are interpretive based upon the perceptions of human thinking. The New Testament teaches that truth is the person of Jesus Christ. (Jh 8:32; 14:6)

Let Them Slip

"...lest at any time we should let them slip..."

let slip - pararrhueo (pararuw=men - par-ar-hroo-eh'-o/3901); from 3844 and the alternate of 4482; to flow by, i.e. (figuratively) carelessly pass (miss): KJV-- let slip.

pararrhueo- (Thayer Greek/English Lexicon)

to glide by: lest we be carried by; to pass by

a) lest the salvation which these things heard show us how to obtain, to slip away from us

b) a thing escapes me

c) it slips my mind

The author of Hebrews sternly warned his readers not to let the truths they had learned to slip from their memories. We allow the truth of Christ to slip when we allow his holy presence to drift by like a boat in the night.

Drifting is a mark of death. For example, should a boat be allowed to drift with the tide, eventually the tide will destroy the boat. During storms a drifting boat is destroyed by wind and wave, but a ship traversing dangerous waves only indicates that the pilot is giving earnest heed to guiding the ship. When we allow our spiritual lives to drift it only reflects the fact that we are being eroded by carnal death. We are warned in the Bible that "..to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Rom 8:6). We must give earnest heed to our thought life, and allow every though to be captivated by Jesus (2Cor 10:5).

Eph 4:14-15 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (KJV)

Heb 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (KJV)

We are admonished on two different occasions not to be carried about with strange doctrines. This can only occur when we allow the truth of Christ to slip in our memories. We follow strange religious doctrines when we serve God in our religion not our relationship. We also can allow the truth of Christ to slip when we forget that truth is not doctrine it’s the person of Jesus. When we build our faith on pet religious doctrines and not on the person of Christ we frustrate the flow of truth. The first principle we must learn in order to not let our faith slip is to build our relationship with God on the person of Jesus, not on the doctrine about Jesus Christ.

Word Spoken By Angels

"…For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast…"

The Mosaic law was conveyed through the mediation of angels.

Acts 7:37-39 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. (38) This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: (39) To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, (KJV)

Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (KJV)

The fact that the Mosaic law was conveyed through angels only manifests it legal limitations. The dispensation of the Mosaic law was a dispensation of the flesh. The law was added because of the sin and transgression of God’s people. In order for a new dispensation to be established the legal requirements of the law must be fulfilled. We read in Matthew’s gospel that Jesus Christ didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfil it (Mt 5:17). In order for humanity to regain its legal sovereignty over the angels, the old dispensation must be replace by a new covenant. We find that covenant established in the blood of Jesus Christ.

Transgression and Disobedience

"…every transgression and disobedience…"

In the Old Testament and in the writings of Paul and the book of Hebrews disobedience and transgression is associated with "Not hearing the Word of God", or letting things drift by. Its interesting to note how often in the Old Testament obedience is described as hearing, and disobedience as refusing to hear.

Rom 2:23-29 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? (24) For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. (25) For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. (26) Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? (27) And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? (28) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: (29) But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (KJV)

Paul taught that being a Jew is not determined by adherence to legal requirements of humanistic religion. To be a true Jew we must allow the Holy Spirit to circumcise our hearts. Our relationship with Jesus Christ must be built on a spiritual relationship not on the letter of human religion.

Exod 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. (KJV)

Exod 19:5-6 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: (6) And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (KJV)

The desire of God since the creation of Adam was to have a kingdom of priests who would rule and reign with Him. Its obvious the first offer of authoritative priesthood was made to Adam, who was to have dominion over God’s earthly creation (Gen 1:26). The second offer of authoritative priesthood ministry was made to the children of Israel at Mt Sinai. God told Israel that obedience to His voice and covenant were the only conditions required in order for them to be a peculiar treasure, a holy nation, and a royal priesthood. The stiff necks and hard hearts of Israel resulted in the royal priesthood offer being offered through Jesus Christ to all nations, kindreds and tongues. (1Pet 2:9 Rev 1:6; 5:7)

Exod 23:22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. (KJV)

God promises to fight the battles of those who obey his voice.

Josh 1:18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage. (KJV)

Isa 28:12-13 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. (13) But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

Isa 30:9-10 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: (10) Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

Isaiah understood that God wanted his people to rest in the power of His holy presence, but their refusal to respond to the written word. The desire of God has not changed over the centuries. He still wants His people to enter into His holy rest, but in order to do this we must respond to His voice and His new covenant. Nothing has changed with God; He still hungers for a people who will respond to His voice. But, we must never forget that disobedience and transgression will not go unnoticed.

Just Recompence of Reward

"…received a just recompence of reward;…"

just recompence - misthapodosia (misqapodosi/an - mis-thap-od-os-ee'-ah/3405); from 3406; requital (good or bad): KJV-- recompence of reward.

misthapodosia- (Thayer Greek/English Lexicon)

payment of wages due, a recompence

We are admonished by the author of Hebrews that every sin and transgression shall receive a just reward.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)

We must understand that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Col 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (KJV)

The just recompense our sins deserved was nailed to the cross with Jesus. Lets us never forget that the just recompense invoked because of our sins is atoned for by the cross of Jesus.

Gal 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (KJV)

Paul wanted his readers to understand one simple truth. He wanted his readers to not be deceived. Because we are redeemed we cannot mock God with continual sin. A spiritual principle exists even though our sin is atoned for at Calvary. We shall reap what we sow. Should we live a lifestyle that sows seeds of human carnality, then we shouldn’t be surprised when we reap corruption and spiritual frustration. The opposite is also truth. Should we sow seeds of the Spirit, then we shall reap a harvest of eternal life. Even though we are Christians we must never forget this basis spiritual principle.

Neglected Salvation

In these verse we are cautioned about the consequences that might occur in the lives of Christians who neglect the work of God: lets study.

How Shall We Escape

"…How shall we escape, …"

The Bible warns us about our need to escape the corruption of the world. Lets study this concept.

escape - ekpheugo (e)kfeuco/meqa - ek-fyoo'-go/1628); from 1537 and 5343; to flee out: KJV-- escape, flee.

ekpheugo- (Thayer Greek/English Lexicon)

to flee out of, to flee away

a) to seek safety in flight

b) to escape

Prov 19:5 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. (KJV)

In this verse we are warned that those who speak lies shall not escape. What are we not to escape from? Matthew 12:36 teaches us that every idle word we shall give account to God. The Bible is filled with references about the power of the tongue. We must not deceive ourselves into thinking that our lying lips will not reap a harvest.

Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (35) For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. (36) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (KJV)

Jesus sternly warned us about a demonic snare coming on all who dwell upon the earth. He warned us about being overcome with the carefree party lifestyle and the cares of this world. Jesus commanded his disciples to watch in continual prayer for His 2nd coming. Only those who take serious Jesus’ admonishment will be able to escape the evil snare of the devil and to stand before the Son of Man.

Rom 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? (KJV)

Paul also warned us that we shall not escape the judgment of God should we judge and condemn our fellow Christian for the same sin we commit. Recently major ministers, who open condemned ministry for sexual immorality, were exposed as being also involved in sexual immorality. God judged them with the same judgment they issued.

1 Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (KJV)

Jesus promises that He will provide a spiritual escape for every temptation we should encounter.

2 Pet 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, (3) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (KJV)

The world is full of corruption and lust. How can we escape? There is only one way to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. That way is to be a partaker of God’s divine nature. How can we be a partaker of God’s divine nature? We can only accomplish this feat by take heed to God’s holy word. We must allow the word of God to prune, nurture, and change us.

2 Pet 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (21) For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (22) But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (KJV)

Peter also sternly warns us about the fearsome entanglements that can come upon those who have escape the pollution of the world through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Lets remember these concepts as we examine the next phrase in our current theme verse.

Neglected Salvation

"…if we neglect so great salvation; …"

neglect - ameleo (a)melh/sante$ - am-el-eh'-o/272); from 1 (as a negative particle) and 3199; to be careless of: KJV- make light of, neglect, be negligent, no regard.

ameleo- (Thayer Greek/English Lexicon)

to be careless of, to neglect

How can we escape should we neglect so great a salvation. What does it mean to neglect an item. According to the Greek, the word "Ameleo" has the application of an item treated in a careless fashion. All things will erode and decay should we not provide care. For example, should we fail to properly maintain a vehicle – change the oil, do preventive tune-ups - the vehicle will slowly erode and eventually break down. The author of Hebrews applies this same concept to our personal salvation: lets study.

Matt 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: (KJV)

In this verse we see the Greek word "Ameleo" used to indicate that farmers in Jesus’ parable "Made Light" of the king’s offer. Consider with me the possibility that we don’t take our personal salvation serious, but we treat it in a "light" fashion. To treat a person or thing in a "light" fashion is to not give the person or thing serious thought. Is it possible we carelessly treat our personal salvation is a light fashion, not giving it much serious thought? The answer to this question is an obvious "Yes".

1 Tim 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (KJV)

We neglect our personal salvation by neglecting the gifts given to us by Jesus Christ. Its vitally important we understand that neglecting our spiritual gifts will only cause them to erode and decay. We must change our perception. Our spiritual gifts must be perceived as spiritual muscle; should we exercise the muscle it develops strength and character. But should we neglect our spiritual gifts they atrophy. The same can also be said of our personal salvation.

Testimonies

"…which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;..."

The author of Hebrews wanted us to not neglect or let slip the doctrines they were taught by our Lord Jesus Christ, and the His personal disciples.

Signs and Wonders

"…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?…"

Why does God use signs and wonders? Lets seek to answer this question, and apply the answer to today.

Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (KJV)

John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. (KJV)

2 Cor 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

All these verses have the same theme in common; they establish the reason for signs, wonders, and miracles. God never uses miraculous events for foolish display. Signs and wonders are used by God to confirm the preaching of His word. Should we chase the miraculous from church to church, we have missed the prime reason for these miracles. So often Christians want to see miraculous shows but they don’t hear the preaching of the word.