So Great Salvation

Justin Johnson

“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;” – Hebrews 2:3

The author and audience of the book of Hebrews participate in a great salvation that was preached to Israel in their “last days” (Heb 1:2; Acts 2:17).

Their salvation “first began to be spoken by the Lord”, which means it was truly theirs, since salvation was of the Jews in the Lord’s ministry (John 4:22). Gentiles would receive blessing after Israel received theirs (Matt 10:5).

Salvation at that time was found in the house of David, spoken by the mouth of the prophets since the world began (Luke 1:69). It had not yet been sent to Gentiles, and did not concern any mystery kept secret since the world began (Rom 16:25).

Salvation was in the promised “child born” of Isaiah 9:6 which would become the glory of Israel (Luke 2:30-32).

Salvation would follow the judgment of the world in Israel’s kingdom, making it always a future hope if they walked the straight and narrow way (Matt 7:14).

“Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” – Luke 3:5-6

When Zacchaeus gave half his goods to the poor, the Lord rewarded his obedience with declaring salvation…

“This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” – Luke 19:9

The Lord spoke salvation that was promised to the fathers (Rom 15:8), that came through Israel (Matt 15:24), which required faith and obedience (Matt 19:17), and which would come with the kingdom in the end (Mark 13:13).

The author and audience of Hebrews could slip, fall away, and could not escape judgment for sins if they neglected their salvation (Heb 2:1, 6:6, 10:26-31).

This certainly does not sound like Paul, the dispenser of God’s grace toward sinners.

Nevertheless, whoever wrote the epistle, Hebrews does not describe the gospel of salvation without Israel, without the law, and without covenants sent freely to the ungodly. It says nothing about the new creature in Christ, nor the mystery of God’s will.

In short, it does not contain the mystery of the gospel by which all men are saved today, the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery.

Hebrews speaks to those who have been promised salvation in a king and a kingdom and have not yet received them. It explains Christ according to prophecy (Rev 19:10).

Hebrews contains the great salvation prophesied for Israel, but it does not explain the mystery of the gospel wherein we find the exceeding riches of God’s grace for the church today.

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Published: March 19, 2016
Last Modified: February 29, 2020
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