Monday, April 27, 2015
THE DANGER OF DRIFTING
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (Hebrews 2:1)
Imagine floating in an inner tube down a lazy river. The sun is beaming down on you, while the cool water swirls beneath you. It is the perfect environment for nodding off to sleep. But, the river becomes swifter and you go farther, much farther than you intended. What’s that roaring sound? You snap wide awake—just ahead is the mist and thunder of a waterfall. It’s too late to escape the current—the pull is too strong—now you are plunging down, down to the jagged rocks and deep pool below. That is the danger of drifting--and spiritually it can be just as deadly.
There is THE RISK (v.1b). When this discussion begins, it starts with the word, “Therefore.” This word connects what will be said about the danger of Christians drifting with the doctrine of Christ’s deity presented in chapter one. He is supreme in revelation—the last word from God which was greater than the words of the Old Testament prophets (1:1-2a). He is supreme in creation—Christ made and sustains all things by the sheer power of His word (1:2b-3a). He is supreme in mediation—having secured salvation for us as both the priest and the sacrifice (1:3b). He is supreme in exaltation—so much so that even angels are His servants (1:4ff). This will be the anchor that can hold them and prevent them from drifting away. These Jews who had professed faith in Christ now found themselves facing intensifying hostility from the world. They were in danger of drifting—slowly slipping away in the current of peer pressure—the downward flow away from Christ. You feel that don't you? The danger is that drifting is so gradual, so easy that one may not even notice. In fact, you don’t have to do anything to drift—just stop resisting and away you go.
To resist this demands THE REQUIREMENT (v.1a). This is an imperative: “we must....” You have to make a conscious effort—it is swimming upstream, and that isn’t easy. You never drift toward Christ, but always away. So, “give the more earnest heed” The current is very strong and at the end one will be swept over the falls and dash on the rocks! This is how many make “shipwreck of their faith” (see 1 Tim. 1:18-20). The tragedy of the Titanic could have been avoided had the ship's captain heeded the warnings. Are you listening?
Drift and keep drifting and there comes THE RUIN (v.2-4). The Old Testament law had specific and sometimes very severe penalties for disobedience. The writer talks about how the law was delivered from God to Moses through the medium of angels. We have already seen that Christ is far superior to angels. One may be forgiven for transgressing God's laws, but to forsake Christ is to abandon hope. A true believer may drift, may struggle, but will heed the warning and return, but those who finally, fully walk away are lost forever. It is the difference between Peter who denied Jesus and Judas who betrayed Him. Notice that this is “neglect” of salvation. Hell will be filled with people who intended to get right with God, but just procrastinated, and neglected their soul while pursuing the things of the world—until too late! Resist the drift! It never ends well.