Chapter 2:1-4 (ESV) - Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
Question to consider: What was the purpose for signs and wonders and various miracles?
The “therefore” in this passage refers us back to the superiority of Christ over the angels. The author is saying that because Christ is superior, what he has given us is superior: His message, His covenant, His salvation. The message declared by angels was one of law, and those who transgressed the law were to receive retribution. It proved reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution because Christ kept the law perfectly and took the punishment we deserved upon Himself.
So the author gives a stern warning to not neglect the salvation of Christ by going back to the law, much like Paul warned the Galatian Christians who were considering the circumcision of the Judaizers. Christ declared His message of salvation upon His resurrection, and those who witnessed it passed it down to the early church, including the author of Hebrews. To back up the claims of Christ and of His disciples, God produced signs and wonders and various miracles. Although we can experience the miraculous work of God today, and we still receive gifts of the Holy Spirit, the signs and wonders of the 1st century church were unmatched because they helped establish the church’s foundation and the canon of the New Testament scriptures. The gifts we receive today are in support of the church and to bring grace to God’s people.
Even though we may wish to see miraculous signs to help bolster our faith today, scripture is clear that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation so the best way to grow our faith is through dedicated study and preaching of God’s word. This is my whole motivation for providing to you this blog, that it may strengthen your faith and help you to get to know God better.
Thank you father for providing your unchanging word to establish our faith and sustain us in a world that rages against Christ. Help us to cling to Christ’s superior message, superior covenant and superior salvation so that we may live with you in a world without sin and death. Amen.