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Read Introduction to Hebrews

3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

There is consequence to ignoring the Son’s superior salvation. The first warning passage comes to a climax in verse 3. If believers failed to come to grips with Old Testament revelation given by angels, how much more is the failure not to believe the revelation given by the Son.

3 how shall we escape

The “escape” has to do with the “just” reward or recompense of the previous verse. God does not give the specifics of what He will do in this passage.

if we neglect [ignore]

“Neglect” can mean ignore. This word is used of Israel ignoring God’s covenant in Hebrews 8:9, which is a quotation from Jeremiah 31:31-34 (the New Covenant). There is no escape from discipline if believers neglect or ignore God’s Word (1 Ti 4:14). The issue here is not rejecting what God has said but neglecting or ignoring it.

so great a salvation [deliverance],

The concept of “salvation” is the link between chapters 1 and 2. “Salvation” occurs seven times in this book of the Bible.

“Salvation” here is not salvation from hell. It is eschatological salvation dealing with Christ’s ultimate salvation. Most occurrences of “salvation” in the Bible do not refer to initial salvation of the soul but to danger, such as when Peter shouted “Lord, save me” from drowning in the Sea of Galilee. Noah was saved from drowning in the flood (He 11:7). The word is used for salvation at the coming of Christ (He 9:28; 1 Pe 1:5). The context determines which idea of salvation is at stake.

The “salvation” mentioned here is the same as that of Hebrews 1:14. Believers will share in the Son’s triumphal future kingdom (He 2:5). It is possible for believers to neglect the future blessing of their participation in Christ’s kingdom. If believers become indifferent to their future kingdom inheritance, there will be consequences that they cannot “escape.”


It is possible to lose our inheritance but not our salvation.


Drifting from God’s Word is even more egregious when we view all the means of God’s revelation.

There is a difference between rejecting and neglecting salvation. Our verse does not claim that a person can lose his or her salvation. The problem with some of the original readers of Hebrews was that they ignored or neglected what God had to say to them.

It is possible to drift from the hope of prophetic salvation. If so, we will not escape from the “just” recompense that God has in store. This is divine disciple (1 Co 11:27-34; 1 Jn 5:16).