“Don’t Drift” Hebrews 2:1-4
You will remember that so far in our study in the book of Hebrews we have been sitting in a class on Christology 101. The writer to the Hebrews has taught us who Jesus is. Thus far, we have learned many things. (1) We have learned the Lord Jesus is God the Father’s last word to man. (2) We have learned Jesus is God of very God and the One who put away our sin. (3) We have learned the Lord Jesus is far greater than the angels. (4) Our Lord Jesus was, is, and always shall be divine, eternal, immutable, and sovereign over all things. Now that we have a grasp on the essentials of who Jesus is, what do we do with this information?
The writer told us in next four verses. “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1). Five times in Hebrews, the writer pauses in his discussion to make a very pointed and painful application of his material to our lives. Hebrews 2:1-4 is the first of these warning passages. The writer cautions us not drift away from the truth he taught us in verse 1.
Verse 1 is a strong warning. He wrote, “Therefore,” the Greek literally says, “For this reason.” Because the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s last word to us, because He is the eternal God in human flesh, and because He died to put away our sins, we must not let ourselves drift from this truth. We must not drift away from the Gospel. We must focus on these truths and not allow the distractions of this present world or the enemies of our faith to draw our attention from the salvation offered by Christ.
He wrote plainly because the alarm being sounded is vitally important. We must give the most exceeding attention and care to these things. They have to become more than interesting tidbits of truth we tuck away somewhere in the file cabinets of our minds. These theological realities need to become a part of the fabric of our lives.
What does it mean to take heed to them? First, we must give diligent attention to the Word taught. Our very access to God Himself comes through a knowledge of who this Jesus is who came and what this salvation is that He offers to us. We cannot know God without knowing Christ. We see an example of the kind of zeal our writer wanted for us in the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3. “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12). We are tempted to think that this kind of life goal is only for the spiritually elite like Paul, but it is not. A little later in this context Paul wrote, “Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” (Philippians 3:15–16 ).
We need to be sure we are by faith holding fast to the rope of our anchor. Our anchor is Jesus Christ Himself. We need to be vigilant about where we are spiritually. How careful are we in our spiritual lives? How important is the spiritual in our lives? The cares of this present world and the temptations that so easily surround us seek to lure us away from holding on to the rope, which keeps us tied to Christ.
We can see the importance of this “wake up call” in the next verse. The second verse of our text clarifies our position under the old covenant. “For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward.” (Hebrews 2:2). The word spoken through angels refers to the Old Covenant. The Word of God in the Law is true, reliable, and condemning. Each transgression or disobedience is met with justice. Without the Gospel and the grace of God, we are eternally lost and without hope.
Because there is no escape from wrath in the Old Covenant, we find in the next verses the only alternative. “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, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Hebrews 2:3-4). We know the Gospel is true because the Lord Jesus told us about it when He walked on planet earth. His apostles confirmed it in their teaching and their lives. God the Father bore witness of the truth by signs, wonders, and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel has three very important witnesses for us to hear and believe.
The point of the writer’s warning is that in one sense our very eternal salvation is at stake. This shakes us because we recognize that the Bible does teach that those who are truly saved are saved forever. The New Testament is very clear on this reality. Romans 8:35- 39 says: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Bible teaches this security of the saints in terms of two principles. The reformers called it the perseverance and the preservation of the saints. While we cannot know the spiritual condition of anyone’s heart, the life eventually shows whether a person is truly converted. Salvation is not the praying of the sinners’ prayer and somehow God is on the hook to save us. We are saved when we by faith in respond to God’s Word and God’s work in our hearts. How then do we know whether someone is saved? How for that matter do we know that we ourselves are saved? We know because of the perseverance and preservation of the saints. We persevere in the faith because God supernaturally preserves us. In effect, we are echoing what the Apostle James said about faith in his book. “I’ll show you my faith by my works.” Our holding fast to our Lord by faith and persevering through the storms of life does not make us believers, but it does demonstrate our salvation
The principle of the perseverance of the saints is vital for understanding the warnings passages in the book of Hebrews. Perseverance of the saints is in focus in the warning passages. When the writer said, “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” He could write this because the Bible says the true believer perseveres to the end because God preserves him or her. We know God saved us because we by faith hold onto the anchor rope. We know our anchor holds within the very presence of God the Father in the person of the eternal Son of God.