Hebrews teems with promises and encouragements, wonderful reminders and strong theology. But it also holds a number of stern warnings. With the promises, it delivers consequences that need to be reckoned with. When taken as a whole, the book disrupts any leanings we have toward universalism and even shines the spotlight on eternal security for our scrutiny.
Aside: Don’t hang up on me. I’m not saying I don’t believe in eternal security, but our study will uncover some weakness in our pray-a-prayer-and-forget-it gospel.
For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. – Hebrews 2:1
First – notice the “for.” Again, this militates against chapter breaks, since clearly what follows belongs with chapter one.
But what part of chapter one are we “for”ing back to? …pay attention to what we have heard. What have we heard? Let’s read a couple more verses and see if we get some more clues.
For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. – Hebrews 2:2-4
The writer is taking us back to the first four verses of chapter one, in particular, verse two.
in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. – Hebrews 1:2
Jesus, who is superior in every way to the angels and prophets spoke to us through His words and His life. He continues to speak to us through the testimony of those who walked with Him. Further, this testimony is confirmed to us by signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
These four verses actually hold two warnings.
1) Don’t drift.
I love that he uses such a visual word, drift. He’s not warning against a turn-and-run rejection of the gospel. He’s not warning about scoffers and skeptics. He’s warning about the kind of Christian that warms the pew every week but does not walk by faith.
He’s talking about dusty-Bible Christians.
He’s talking about when-it’s-convienient Christians.
He’s talking about Sunday-morning-only Christians.
They are drifters. They have not left the church or the basic belief system. But their life is not marked by faith. They live life with minds set on the things of the flesh. Every problem gets the natural solution, and prayer is the furthest thing from their mind until it’s the only thing left.
Paul talks about this in Romans 8.
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. – Romans 8:5-8
Don’t skip over that. Here Paul speaks some of the most sobering words in all of the Bible.
This carnal mind, mind set on the flesh, is not indifferent toward the things of God. This drifter is actively hostile toward God himself.
Paul makes it clear in Romans 8 that this one who fills his or her mind with the natural world and its thoughts and priorities CANNOT please God.
Later in Hebrews, we will learn that only the life lived by faith and not by sight can please God.
Have you been drifting? Have you been walking by sight and relying on natural solutions for your day to day needs?
Get out of those waves that wash to and fro. Step out of that sandy-bottomed trap and get on the Rock today.
You can please God. You can hear those wonderful words – “Well done.” But it’s not going to happen by itself. You’re going to have to put your faith in Jesus.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about warning #2.
Thanks for stopping by.
Walk in the light.
Looking to catch up? You can find all of chapter 1’s posts here.