Tag Archives: salvation

The Land of Spiritual Rest

Learning the Epistles – Study 168

from Pastor Dan Parton | Timberline Baptist Church | Originally presented January 26, 2011 |

Hebrews 2:1-4

Introduction:  These verses contain the first of the five parenthetical warnings found in Hebrews.  We must pay careful attention to these warnings if we are to make it to spiritual Canaan, the land of spiritual rest.

We must keep in mind that no book in the Bible is addressed to the unsaved.  The books of the Bible are always addressed to the people of God, those who are born again.  Therefore, the warnings found in Hebrews are not warnings to the lost but warnings to the saved.  Heresy has come from teaching that the five warnings in Hebrews are parenthetical warnings written to the lost.  Two false doctrines in particular have come from Hebrews being taught out of context:

– That you can lose your salvation.

– That you can sin away your day of grace.

These warnings are to the saved and give a strong message to the backslider.  This particular passage deals with the neglecting of the salvation that every Christian has already received, not the rejecting of the salvation God is offering unbelievers.  It is a sin committed by the saved, not the lost.  We can understand this passage better if we examine four phrases carefully:

“Therefore we ought.”  The phrase “we ought” emphasizes the fact that “we must.”  The writer is, no doubt, speaking here of essentials, not incidentals.  This passage speaks what a Christian must do, not what he may do.

“Give the more earnest heed.”  This phrase means “to pay careful attention.”  No one becomes a good Christian automatically or accidentally.  If you are to become a good Christian, you will do so on purpose.  It will demand concentration and effort on your part.  “More earnest heed” refers to hard work and diligence.

“The things which we have heard.”  This phrase refers to the Word of God, teaching, and preaching.  We must heed God’s Word or experience God’s judgment.

“Slip” is a nautical term and refers to “drifting away.”

“How shall we escape.”  Here, we are reminded that carelessness about our spiritual growth and spiritual matters in general will result in judgment from God.

  • Does God judge His people?  Yes, but not in the same way that He judges the lost.  A Christian needs to distinguish the judgment that God’s people experience from the judgment that the lost experience.
  • The difference is found in two words:  condemnation and chastisement.
  • Condemnation, that is, eternal death, refers to God’s judgment of the lost and results in spending eternity in Hell.  Chastisement refers to God’s judgment of the saved, and suggests the pictures of a father carefully and lovingly disciplining his children.
  • Hebrews 12 is a key chapter in the Bible that deals with the chastening of the saved.

– To “neglect so great salvation” refers to carelessness on our part in caring for the essential things in the Christian life.  (And there are a number of essential things in the Christian life!)

All five of the parenthetical warnings in Hebrews have to do with our relationship to the Word of God.  In this lesson, we will see the first warning for God’s people.


1.            Drifting from the Word of God through neglect.


– 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. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 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; 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?”

– For most of us, drifting away from the Word of God goes unnoticed.  It happens slowly.

– The following illustration is nearly worn out, but it fits so perfectly here.  When I lived in Minnesota, I was the camp director at Camp Patterson in Mankato for four years.  Camp Patterson was located next to beautiful Lake Washington, one of the more than 10,000 lakes of Minnesota.


One day, while the campers were having their horizontal time, I went fishing in a canoe with another counsellor.  It was a windy day, and we didn’t have an anchor.  Before I knew it, our canoe had drifted close to the shore.  We neglected to anchor ourselves down and drifted away from where we needed to be.  So, we had to paddle back out to the middle of Lake Washington.  We did this several times, because we never put an anchor down.  We could have caught more fish if we hadn’t spent so much time paddling back to where we needed to be.


– This is clearly illustrated in Hebrews 2:1, “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.”

– Those, away from the Lord ask “What happened?  I was so close to God, and now I am so far away.”

– It is always a series of events and never just one thing that happens.  Proverbs 6:10-11 and 24:33-34 say, “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.”

– The end result of this neglect is that we get further and further away from the Lord because we are further from His Word than we once were.

– This neglect is easily recognized though oft-ignored.  We need to stop neglecting:

  • Our walk with the Lord.
  • The Word of God.
  • Our prayer life.
  • Our witness.
  • Our faithfulness to church.
  • Our service for God.
  • Our tithing and other giving.
  • The godliness of our language and habits.
  • The control of our anger.
  • The guarding of our hearts.
  • Our response to the preaching of God’s Word.
  • The cleaning up of our lives.
  • Our Christian testimony.
  • Our lives as children of God and the making of excuse as to why we can’t live like Christians ought to live.

Conclusion:  Every Christian has been or is presently practicing the neglecting of their great salvation and, therefore, not growing.  If you have been neglectful, you can make it right starting right now.

This is why Peter wrote, And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue… (2 Peter 1:5) and why the author of Hebrews wrote, 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.

Bible Types in the Story of Abraham Offering of Isaac

Bible Types in the Story of Abraham Offering of Isaac

Genesis chapters 22-24

John 8:56: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.”


No doubt Abraham had many tests of faith from the time in Ur of the Chaldees, when the true God spoke to him as he lived there among his people, who made and worshipped idols. Monotheism, while once known and practiced in the days of Adam, had diminished as Paul describes in Romans from the worship of the Creator God to a worship of the creature more than the creator, exhibited in the worship of gods of wood and stone. In Abraham’s day the godly line of Abel had about died out, until God in his sovereignty chose to speak to Abraham. The Scriptures declare that Terah, the father of Abram, was a maker of idols. Abram’s revelation of the one true God was an act of sovereign grace as no preacher or missionary imparted it to him, and God’s choice of Abram to receive the revelation cannot be described any other way.

The revelation set Abram on a new course and called for a new direction in which he looked for a city, whose builder and maker was God. Abram’s faith was imperfect, growing, learning and we see this exhibited in his taking with him from Ur his father and his nephew Lot, both in direct violation of the command of God to get away from his kinsmen. So they came to Haran and there they stayed until Terah was dead, and this event seems to have once again spurred Abram to action.

But of all the stories we could cite of Abram’s journey of faith, and in light of the statement of Christ concerning Abraham’s revelation of Jesus Christ himself, we have to ask the question—where in Abraham’s life did he come to understand the truth that as Savior—Jesus Christ himself was coming into the world to die? I believe Abraham was taught this truth in the offering of Isaac. Those of us who look at Bible Typology understand that God would sometimes teach great truths by allowing them to be lived out in a story. There is none greater than the story of Isaac’s sacrifice. Of course, a type is never perfect and as we know, Isaac did not die, but what is portrayed in the account certainly allows us a great look into the heart of God and showed Abraham a glimpse of the coming of which Jesus declared that “Abraham rejoiced to see my day and was glad.” Let’s pick up the great story and see what Abraham saw so many years before the advent of Jesus Christ on the earth.

Genesis 22 begins with God testing Abraham and asked him to offer his son, Isaac. The King James word is “tempt” and requires that we think beyond how we usually define the word “tempt.” The Holy Spirit in the Holy Writ is careful to tell us that Isaac was Abraham’s only son. The writer of Hebrews says that in Isaac resting all the blessings and promises of God not only to Abraham himself, but those who would come after him. And the Holy Spirit reminds us also in 22:2 that Abraham loved Isaac. We get a glimpse in type here of a heavenly Father foreshadowed in Abraham, and his love for his son who was about to become a sacrifice.

Notice first the significance of the place of sacrifice. It was on the peaks of Mt Moriah. This was not accident. In later years this is where the Temple would be placed. In fact, even in the mosque which today covers the site is a large stone used in the sacrifice of all the animals and you can still see the drilled holes were the blood of more than one million lambs would drain off the altar and out into the Kidron Valley during the Passover celebration. But there is one other point worthy of consideration here. Calvary, the place of the Lord’s offering was also on the same peak. God ordered Abraham to offer Isaac on the same hill top that later his Son would hang and die for the sins of the world.

Abraham arose early the next morning and taking wood, and two of his young men and with Isaac when to the place God had appointed. Beginning in verse 4 the transaction of sacrifice began. First, it says they traveled three days and there Abraham stopped and left the two young men. Now, it might be stretching typology, but it seems the significance of three days is no accident of inspiration. Why was Jesus three days and three nights in the grave? Abraham leaves the two men there. If you will, think for a moment of the cross. There were three men there as well, but the two thieves never entered into the transaction of what God was doing there. In fact, the transaction was so private that God put his handkerchief over the sun and darkness ensued for three hours while Jesus paid the debt and make an end to sin forever.

But look in verse 5 at the faith of Abraham. “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Do you see that? Abraham had already given Isaac up in his heart. Isaac was already dead and yet Abraham is talking about both of them returning. Hebrews 11:17 (remember that the Scriptures are always the best commentary on themselves) tells us that Abraham already believed that if God was to take Isaac that he would raise him up from the dead—because in the son were all the promises of God.

But then notice the next verse of our text. Genesis 22:6—Abraham takes the wood (which is a picture of sin—remember Jesus died on a cross of wood) from off the back of the donkey (which is a picture of the sinner) and places it on the back of the son. Abraham (a picture of God the Father) takes the fire in one hand (the judgment of God against sin) and the knife in the other—and “they went both of them together.” This great phrase in the KJV is mentioned twice here (verses 6, 8) underlining as it were the importance that the sacrifice to come was agreed upon by both the father and the son. I remind you of the Biblical phrase which says that “Jesus was slain from before the foundation of the world.” Jesus’ death was not accident. He was not a martyr. He did not get killed trying to reform the world. He died willingly, purposefully for you and me and he carried our sins and nailed them to his cross. God the Father and God the Son in the eons of eternity past before the first mudsill of this world was ever laid and worlds spoken into existence, God knew that if he made man that man would sin and require a Savior and Jesus stepped up and said—Father, I will go and redeem them! What love it this? What great grace? What sovereign power? He loved us even when we were unlovely.

Verses 7-8 are some of the greatest verses of the Bible. Isaac says to Abraham—but dad—where is the sacrifice. Abraham replies—“My son, God shall provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” How interesting that Abraham should use those words—a burnt offering some 1,000 years before Moses and the Tabernacle would institute a burnt offering for sin.

And of course you know the rest of this story. Abraham builds an altar and laid the wood and tied his son and was ready to plunge the knife before stopped by an angel. God provided a substitute, and atonement was made, but there is a final point of the story to be made. Isaac came down off that mountain that day on resurrection ground. Hebrews 11 says that he was as good as dead in Abraham’s mind and Abraham believed that if he died God would raise him up. But it was the resurrected Isaac who became the reason in Genesis 24 for the searching out of a bride. Because of the resurrection of Christ the need for a bride, composed of the body of Christ—those Christians from Jesus’ death and resurrection up until that last soul saved before the Rapture are part of what the Bible calls the bride of Christ.

We will leave Genesis 24 for another day to talk of those things, but I believe it was here that Abraham saw His day and rejoiced and was glad. Thank God for the cross and the sacrifice and the redemption, prefigured in Isaac and consummated in Isaac’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus.