See that you refuse not him that speaks. For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke on earth, much more shall not we escape…
I. THE DOCTRINE IS THIS: THESE HEBREWS RECEIVED A KINGDOM WHICH COULD NOT BE MOVED. And it is first to be explained, and the difficulty lies in this phrase of receiving a kingdom. For —
1. There is a kingdom.
2. This kingdom cannot be moved.
3. They received it.
(1) There are many temporal kingdoms, but this is spiritual and Divine. The King is God; the Administrator-General is Christ, who, in the administration of this kingdom, is so one with God, that He is King as He is; the subjects, believing saints; the rules of government are the doctrines of the gospel; the privileges and benefits of this kingdom are the blessings of grace and glory.
(2) This kingdom cannot be moved, or is not moveable or alterable, because Prince, people, laws, and administration continue for ever.
(3) They had received this kingdom. A kingdom may be received either by a prince to govern it, or by subjects to be governed; the former is not, the latter is intended. For subjects to receive a kingdom, may be either duty or a benefit. As a duty, it is to submit unto the power and laws of the sovereign; as a benefit, it is to be admitted as a subject to enjoy the privileges, peace, and happiness of the kingdom. Both may be here meant, and the benefit presupposing the duty fully and finally performed, may be, and shall be, that we shall be kings and priests, and reign with Christ for ever.
II. THE EXHORTATION FOLLOWETH, WHERE THE DUTY IS TO HAVE GRACE TO SERVE GOD.
1. By grace may be meant the doctrine of grace, which is the gospel so called (Titus 2:11).
2. Faith and belief.
3. The profession of this faith.
4. The sanctifying power of the Spirit, which all true believers and professors have; and this presupposeth all the former, or infolds them. To have this grace is to have this sanctifying power, and to hold it, keep it, exercise it more and more. The end why we must have and hold it is, that we may serve God. This implies that God is the Sovereign in this kingdom, and we are the subjects, and our duty is continually to serve our Lord and King. To serve Him, is not only with all humility to adore His excellent Majesty, but also sincerely, wholly, and absolutely to submit unto His power and obey His laws. This implies —
(1) That in this kingdom we are not our own masters, or at liberty to do what we would. But God is our Master, and we are bound to obedience by His laws.
(2) That without the grace of God continued and held fast we cannot serve our God constantly; without grace we cannot serve Him; without grace held fast we cannot serve Him to the end. The manner how we must serve God is to serve Him acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. In general, our service must be acceptable; in particular, it must be reverence and godly fear, which render it pleasing to God, and without which it cannot be accepted. Men may fear God — that is, perform some religious service to God — and yet it will not prove acceptable. For some serve God, and not with a pure and sanctified heart; some serve God in outward circumstantials and rituals, not in substantials; some serve God with a profane and wicked heart; some serve Him ignorantly or negligently, without fervency and due affection. Reverence in God's service looks at His excellency and glorious majesty, and at our own unworthiness, and the infinite distance between Him and us; and therefore we must adore God's excellent Majesty with deep humility, abasing ourselves very low, being afraid and ashamed, out of a sense of our own vileness, to come near Him, except in His great mercy and free grace He vouchsafe access. Signs of this reverence is our kneeling, bowing, covering our faces, prostration, and such like gestures. And if we were either apprehensive and sensible of our own vileness, or God's excellency, how could we possibly be so profane and unreverent in His worship? Godly fear may be the same with reverence or distinct from it. The word in the Greek signifies sometimes caution, sometimes devotion, sometimes fear, and that in the service of God, which is a religious fear, and care not to offend, but to please Him. Both reverence and fear, in this place, may farther be a more than ordinary care and diligence in the service of God, that we may please Him and be accepted of Him. For as the greatest honour with the greatest humility is due to God, that supreme Lord, whose Majesty is infinite and eternal, so the greatest caution must be used in His worship, for He will be sanctified in all them that draw near unto Him.
Parallel VersesKJV: See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: