Drifting Away (Hebrews 2:1-4)

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:1–3, ESV)

I have a 16-foot mahogany motor boat that was built by Cruisers’ Inc., in 1959. I restored it and used it often in the saltwater rivers of Savannah Georgia for fishing. After a couple attempts to fish from it, I stumbled on a place where the Spotted Trout would be feeding consistently. The only problem was that the river currents would cause me to drift away from the spot unless I anchored properly.

Similarly, there is a danger of slipping away from truth unless one is anchored properly. Here the author of Hebrews gives a warning to the letter’s recipients that there are some in danger of drifting away. Looking at this exhortation, we have to answer a couple questions. To whom is this exhortation addressed and how does one get properly anchored?

As I have mentioned before, there are three types of Jewish people addressed in this letter and there are specific exhortations given for each. One of these groups were those who heard the message of salvation but had not responded to it. These were in danger of the judgment to come if they continued to “neglect such a great salvation.” Thus, the exhortation to them is to “pay much closer attention” to the message they heard.

There are some interesting points that the writer brings up regarding this. First, looking to the previous verses, this salvation is great because it is given by Christ who is superior to the angels. Second, since the message the angels declared, referring to the Law (See Deut 33:2; Acts 7:38, 53; Gal 3:19), regarding transgression, disobedience and punishment, had proved reliable, how much more they needed to heed this message of salvation. Third, he goes on to say that this message salvation was declared first by the Lord and attested to it by those who had heard it and believed (Heb 1:3). Last, God bore witness to the truth of this message by signs and wonders that accompanied the proclamation and the witness of the Holy Spirit in manifesting spiritual gifts in those who believed (Heb 1:4).

Thus, those Jews who had heard the message had no excuse for not believing. Moreover, if they did not respond to it, they ran the risk of drifting away and never finding their way back. They needed to be anchored to the truth. When I was fishing in my little boat, as soon as I got to the spot where the fish were biting, I would drop the anchor so I would not drift away. The sure and steadfast anchor for our soul is Christ (Heb 6:19) and we are tied to this anchor by saving faith in Him alone. Those who are anchored by faith in Christ will not drift away from the truth, regardless of how fast the current may be.

There may be someone who is reading this today that knows the complete plan of salvation, the work of Christ, but has never truly been saved. He died on the cross to pay the penalty of sin and He purchased by his shed blood a place in Heaven for you. You can only experience this salvation by faith in Christ and His finished work. However, understand this. Just knowing the facts about the plan of salvation will not save you. Saving faith is something that is born in the heart. When you experience this kind of faith there is a change in the desires of the heart. There will begin a true working of repentance, that is a turning from sin and self to God and His righteousness.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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