“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”
Listen to the Son
The writer of Hebrews along with Paul (Galatians 3:19) and Luke (Acts 7:53) gives credit to angels in giving God’s law to Moses. This was a common thought amongst the nation of Israel even though we do not see this written in the accounts of Moses receiving the law in the book of Exodus. We can also read about angels assisting the Lord in giving His message to John in the book of Revelation. Angels also were present at the empty tomb and ascension of Jesus where they then gave messages to the woman and apostles. Because of the emphasis the writer gave in the first chapter to the supremacy of Christ compared to angels, we can assume there may have been undue attention given to the angels. Their also may have been an undue focus given to the Law by these Jewish Christians.
The writer says that the word spoken through angels communicates that every transgression and disobedience receives a just penalty. The Law of God is violent! It says if you do not do what it says you die! No questions asked! There is no forgiveness! It is pretty straight forward. All it takes is just one slip up and we are done. In the Law the only hope of being right with God is perfect obedience or a sacrifice of a bull or a goat. We know that we cannot achieve perfect obedience and the sacrifice of animals is not sufficient in making humans right with God.
Galatians 3:24 reads, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” The writer of Hebrews like Paul is working on getting their readers to focus on the sufficiency of Christ over everything. Paul and this writer no doubt had this struggle in trying to teach their flock that obedience to the Law does nothing for someone’s eternal security. In fact, it may prove that one is not justified if their focus is more on law keeping than faith in Christ. Paul gives the reason for the Law as its intention is to lead us to faith in Jesus.
Chapter two of Hebrews starts with “For this reason.” Some translations say, “Therefore.” Usually what follows is a command and this is no different here. The writer says, “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” The command is to pay attention to what we have heard. The Israelites may have not elevated what they heard about Christ to its rightful place in their hearts. The evidence was trifling over things such as the purpose of angels and the Law.
We have a tendency to do this as well. We will elevate church government, order of service, what songs should we be singing, how the preacher is preaching, over Jesus. Most of our conversations about church may be about the sticks that make up the building. We trifle about our own performance and the performance of others more than we do about Christ. We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. It is so easy to do and all of us are guilty!
Listen! After the first chapter was written to elevate the Son over angels, the first command that the writer gives is to listen. He does not say go do this or die like the law would explain. The command is to listen. The command is to listen to the Lord like Mary at the feet of Jesus. Jesus commended her for her listening. Jesus says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Listening is a lot easier than doing. Allow through the pages of scripture to let the Lord write His life on your page by opening up your ears and listening to Him. When you do this you will start to see His Spirit in your everyday life. Listen to Him with your eyes, ears, mouth, fingers and all of your senses that God created in order for you to worship Him.
The angels are only messengers of the Lord to assist those who are saved. The Lord is the Message and He came and lived among us. Should we listen to the messengers or the Message? Should we listen to other humans or the Lord? Should we listen to the Pope or God almighty? Not only did the Message come but it was made more real by signs and wonders performed by God through the apostles to confirm the validity of the Message.
The Lord will never supersede His own message by supplanting it with those who were created like angels and humans. He is the speech of the world and because of sin it is tainted and hard to understand. He began to reveal Himself by angels in humans in many portions and in many different ways but has left the most important, clearest, reality of Himself to be displayed by Himself through the body of His Son. Let’s honor God by listening!