v. 1. 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.
v. 2. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward,
v. 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,
v. 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?
The writer, in the first chapter, has proved the superiority of the Son to the angels, showing Him to be the eternal and almighty Creator of the universe, equal in majesty and glory with God the Father Himself. From these facts he now deduces a warning with regard to the neglect of the salvation as proclaimed by the Lord Himself and attested by God in various miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost: For this reason it is necessary that we attend more closely to the words which we have heard, lest perhaps we drift away. Instead of naming the Gospel outright, he circumscribes the term, reminding his readers of the things that they had heard, of the great salvation preached by the Lord Himself and carried out into the world by the apostles and evangelists. It is not the writer's purpose to bring forward new truths, but to have all men keep those that have been proclaimed by the servants of God from the beginning. For all believers are under obligation to pap the most careful attention to these words, to heed them with all eagerness. For if by any chance we let the words slip away from us, if we drift away from them, we shall be without a hold in life, like the clouds and waves that are driven to and fro by every wind. It is absolutely necessary that we, by the power of God, keep a firm hold on the Gospel and on the salvation which is offered in the Gospel, Php_2:12.
This warning the sacred writer enforces by a comparison between the word of the Law and the preaching of the Gospel: For if the word spoken through angels proved certain, and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? The Law was given to the children of Israel by the disposition of angels, Act_7:53, the Lord employing these servants to make known His will to men amid the thunderings, lightnings, and quakings of Mount Sinai. This word of the Law, moreover, held good, it proved certain and sure, it was God's will that it be kept by His people. In token of this it was by His judgment that every transgression of His holy Law and every willful going aside and neglect every disobedience, met with due punishment, with that reward which justice demanded. Both the refusal to heed a positive command and the neglect to obey were treated by the Lord with the same stern vengeance. But if this was the case with that doctrine whose chief function was preparatory, whose character was transitory, what chances have we to escape the wrath of God and the final judgment, to whom God has spoken through the Son, who have the full revelation of the grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus in the Word of the Gospel? If we should neglect that great and wonderful salvation which was made known to us, the wonderful news of our redemption in Christ, if we should deliberately set aside and despise what we know to be the one way to heaven, there would be no excuse for us when the Lord calls us to account on the last day.
This news of salvation is further described: Which was originally spoken by the Lord, and certified to us by them that heard Him, God at the same time being their witness, through signs as well as wonders and various powers and distributions of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. The inspired author is addressing people that had not seen the Lord Jesus in person, but had received the glorious Gospel-news from the mouth of such as had been fortunate enough to hear Him as He taught the way to everlasting happiness and glory. These men, the apostles and evangelists, had certified to the truth of the message which they proclaimed; they had given the most undoubted assurance of the veracity and importance of the Gospel. They had, moreover, been given such testimony in corroboration of their preaching that the assent of all men was almost demanded; for God Himself had testified in their behalf, had substantiated their claims by signs and wonders and various powers, Mar_16:20. The miracles which the apostles performed were a proof of the presence of God, they calling attention to the power of God which was active through these men. And not only did the Lord confirm the preaching of His servants by such miracles as evidently set aside the course and the laws of nature, but also with such peculiar distributions and gifts of the Holy Ghost, Rom_12:3; 1Co_7:17, as gave undeniable proof of the presence of God in them. ALL these cases of the miraculous confirmation of the Gospel message took place according to God's own will, as He found it necessary to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel, Eph_4:17; 1Co_12:11. Thus the sacred writer spoke to the Jewish Christians that were in danger of neglecting the blessed Gospel of Christ for the sake of the Law, whose subsidiary position was apparent from every angle. See 2Co_3:7-16.