2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
The failure of the wilderness generation is also a warning for Christians today.
The thoughts of verse 2 relate to verse 1. God’s promised rest is still available to the readers of Hebrews. This supports the reason why believers need to be careful to claim God’s promises. What befell Israel can happen to believers today.
indeed the gospel [good news] was preached to us
The “us” is first-century believers to whom Hebrews was addressed (and by implication those of us in the twenty-first century).
We can translate this phrase “we also have had the gospel preached.“ This emphasizes the lasting effect of hearing the message (periphrastic perfect indicative) of God’s rest for believers. God’s work was completed in the past and the finished results persist to the present. There is no possible excuse to not accept and apply God’s Word to our experience.
“Gospel was preached” means to bring good news. The “gospel” here is not the proclamation of initial salvation; it has no reference to what we as evangelicals call the “gospel.” The “good news” for believers here is to claim God’s present rest for them.
as well as to them;
This phrase links believers in Israel’s day to Christians. In the Old Testament the “good news” was the promise of rest for Israel. The “good news” that Israel heard was the promise to obtain their inheritance in the Promised Land, their rest. Israel failed to obtain all that God had promised them. It is possible for believers today to experience the same failure.
but the word which they heard did not profit them,
The “word” that was “heard” is the promise of rest. The message of Caleb and Joshua did not influence Israel when they “heard” it. They preferred to yield to their fear of the inhabitants of the land. This rendered God’s promise of no value or benefit.
not being mixed [commingled] with faith in those who heard it.
The word “mixed” means to combine the “word” with “faith.” The reason God’s promises do not work with or benefit some people is because they do not engage the promise with faith.
Israel failed to mix God’s promises with faith. The promise needs to be combined with faith for it to be effective. Neither the promise nor faith should stand alone. Israel’s unbelief was the cause of their failure to claim God’s promise. They did not appropriate God’s promises by faith.
The principles of Scripture need to be applied by faith.
Faith is the prerequisite for claiming God’s promises. Believers are to unite the promises of God to faith. We need to make God’s promises our own by faith. God’s individual promises to the believer are dependent on him believing them.
Faith carries different ideas in different contexts of the New Testament. We can speak of our “faith” as the corpus of what we believe. Faith in Hebrews rests on the validity of its object; faith is tied to truth. Believers know their future; they know what is coming because they believe God’s Word. Christians can apply this principle to their daily lives as they did for their initial salvation. Believers today may not experience God’s rest if they do not mix their faith with the promises of God.