Through outright neglect and apathy a person can fail to hold on to what is good and true, and over time or overnight, find that they are far from the safety of the shore they once held to, or thought they held to.
“Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1
Chapter one of Hebrews gives the context. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son.” What Son? The appointed heir of all things. The Creator of the world. The radiance and the glory of God’s nature. The upholder of the universe that we live in. The one who purifies sinners and was exalted to the right hand of the Father on high, showing superiority over all beings and all things, including angels. (Read Hebrews 1:1-4)
Throughout all thirteen chapter of this letter the author faithfully drives home this point, that Jesus Christ is singularly the supreme glory and Savior of the universe. And that means we MUST listen to Him!
So when Chapter two begins with the words, “Pay close attention to what you have heard“, we know exactly what he’s referring to. Listen to what God is saying through Jesus Christ because truth comes from no where else but Him.
How might one learn to listen to Jesus, and thereby, not drift away?
The whole of Scripture collectively argues that the Bible, the written Word of God, is the essential source for hearing from God, and more specifically, hearing God’s message to us about Jesus Christ. The Old Testament repeatedly foreshadowed the Messiah to come. The prophets predicted Him and the angels heralded His first advent. When he arrived and began to physically act and speak on earth, the men who followed him, and whose lives He miraculously transformed, penned (or had transcribed) the words and actions that were necessary for our knowing Him and being saved by Him, namely, his message about the Kingdom, how to be forgiven, how to get to God, culminating with the account of His death, burial and resurrection. All of these perfectly fulfilled what had been previously predicted in Scripture thousands of years before.
“Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” Psalm 40:7
Here’s the point. We keep from drifting by actually listening to Jesus. What is to be said of the Christian who regularly neglects to listen to Jesus and obey His Word? Are they imposters? And how many “spiritual” people outside of the local church claim to have found a better way while they reject Jesus who says, “I am the only way.” To reject the clear voice of God in Scripture, and to reject the people’ who faithfully obey the call to speak His Word, is to drift. Many have heard things about Jesus. Even more still are making up their own versions of Christ in order to suit their sin and give an excuse to their choices. These are the drifters.
And we’re not to think of a gentle drifting like a picturesque scene of a sailboat drifting off into the sunset. The drifting referred to in Hebrews is synonymous with neglecting the free gift of salvation itself. v3. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” So the warning is serious because, in this case, drifting leads to Hell and a person’s separation from God for eternity.
The writer says, “Pay much closer attention to what you have heard”.
It is both the one who says he loves God, as well as the one who could care less at the moment, who are in danger of drifting from Christ. By failing to trust His every word as the supreme source of truth and life for the human soul is to neglect being saved.
Unfortunately, drifting will be a regular part of the scenario in these last days. Christ himself said that in the last days, “The love of many will grow cold.” So the best thing we can do is continue to warn with love from Scripture. Warn believers and none-believers alike about drifting. Warn the professing Christian that eternal security is found only through a faith that perseveres, not one that constantly drifts from the Word, and remind them to cling to Christ. If you know someone who is drifting right now, then pray. Pray desperately that God, in His timing, would draw them back to the shore of His grace. And you, yourself, don’t give up hope. Don’t drift with the drifters, but cling ever more to the anchor that is Christ!
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain – Hebrews 6:9