Who is the “we” in Hebrews 2:3?
The “we” is the congregation of the preacher of Hebrews. He is speaking to the Christian saints in his church. By extension, he speaks to every Christian. The issue he brings up is one of the several warnings throughout the book of Hebrews concerning salvation.
He warns as in other passages like Hebrews 6:1-4 that if we do not pay attention to our walk with God and our salvation, we will drift away. In Hebrews 6, he mentions the word apostasy, speaking of falling away from our faith in Christ.
But here in Hebrews 2:1-4, he uses the word for drifting away. It has the same effect as Hebrews 6. The idea is that if we as Christians do not pay attention to the message of gospel we heard when we became followers of Christ, we will drift away from him.
Jesus never drifts away from us. We are always the ones to move away from him. As in any relationship, we must pay attention to the everyday walk we have with Christ. Not paying attention in relationships makes people drift farther apart.
The author mentions angels in Hebrews 2:2 because he has just spent all of Hebrews 1 talking about how Jesus is superior to the angels. But here he speaks of angels who have brought forth the message of salvation from God. This message proved to be right because God does dual out consequences for every disobedience.
He points out that we will not escape the coming wrath of God if we neglect our salvation in these ways (Hebrews 2:3). We don’t want to be on probation with God when his judgment arrives. He is probably referring to the eschatological judgment at the end of time.
Whether you are a Christian or not, God is a just God who disciplines and punishes those who commit sins. This is why salvation is so precious to us. We escape God’s wrath and instead receive his love and compassion because we have confessed our sin, asked his forgiveness, and repented from it.
He refers to Jesus himself as Lord, declaring to the disciples this message of the gospel first. And we have received it from those who heard first from him. Hebrews 2:4 talks about the confirmation of this great salvation we have received as believers in Christ.
He talks about how God confirms it through signs and wonders and miracles. Then he mentions the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given to us, apportioned by the Spirit. All of these things tell us that our salvation is for real. They confirm that we have been saved from God’s wrath and now serve him.
There are some who teach that Christians cannot lose their salvation. The writer of Hebrews does not teach that. Here in Hebrews 2 and in Hebrews 6 he lays out the case that if we are not careful as Christians to be obedient to the Lord, we will come very close to losing our salvation.
With words like apostasy and drift away, he makes sure that his message is not misunderstood as the great preacher of Hebrews. He wants his congregation to know that they cannot flirt with sin or rationalize sin. They must commit themselves wholeheartedly to Christ and never come back.
Anyone reading the book will admit that he seems harsh at times, as does James, another great preacher of the New Testament. The reason that they are so harsh with us is that they do not want to see us in a place where we are being disciplined or punished by God because we neglected our salvation.