Hebrews 2:1, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip”
The author of Hebrews was concerned about the spiritual well being of his initial recipients, who were fellow Jews that had become Christians. The writer was concerned that they would drift back into Judaism. Because of this concern, he deals with the problem by (a) emphasizing the superiority of Christ, and (b) by a series of exhortations for them to remain steadfast and faithful, to the truth which they had heard and believed.
In the first chapter of Hebrews, we see Jesus Christ is superior to the prophets (Hebrews 1:1-3), to the angels (Hebrews 1:4-14). Furthermore, we also see that He is the appointed Heir of all things, He is our Sustainer and Redeemer, the first born who is worthy of worship, He is the Lord (Yahweh) who is the eternal creator and the Sovereign, reigning at God’s right hand.
Chapter 2 begins with the first of several exhortations in which we find a warning about the danger of drifting or as the verse puts it slipping away from the truth. Drifting is a dangerous thing, both physically and spiritually. Physically, when a boat drifts, we may not be aware that any movement is taking place. It is the same spiritually. The greatest danger to us spiritually is not that we will deliberately do some evil thing in open defiance and rebellion against God. The greatest danger we face as individuals and as a church is gradually drifting away from adherence to God’s truth.
The writer of Hebrews uses a very vivid picture to illustrate what happens when believers fail to hold on to the truth of Christ. They become like boats drifting in a current and slipping past the sure anchor of the truth. In the early part of the 20th century, a ship wrecked off the Scilly Isles near the coast of England. The sea had been calm and the weather clear; however, the vessel was caught in a treacherous current that slowly lured it off its course. Before the captain and the crew realized what had happened, the ship had crashed onto the reef. As believers in Christ, we live in a foreign country that isn’t our home, and the world certainly isn’t our friend.
People who do not honor God, who don’t know the truth, and who would rather adopt the humanistic philosophies of this culture over God’s Word and be under the influence and control of the evil one, surround us daily. Spiritual drifting is usually a slow and unnoticeable process, especially when we are careless about the truth of God’s Word. Moreover, we know it has occurred when we have strayed from our devotion to Christ, having lost the strong resistance to evil, and the passionate desire for truth that we once knew and enjoyed. For every believer who succumbs to a sudden and savage assault of evil, a hundred more will slowly drift away from God’s truth, regular worship, and a life of faith in Christ Jesus.
We are warned not to love the world nor the things of the world (1 John 2:15). We are also exhorted not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed (Romans 12:1-2). We are also told that the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Yet, are we watchful? The question which needs to be answered by each born-again believer in Christ is, “What are the currents that causes one to drift away from the truth? I submit to you the following examples are not inclusive of all the many problems faced by the believer today, in drifting from God’s truth:
(1) The current of time in which we grow weary of doing good, a concerned expressed in Galatians 6:9, “and let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”. As time passes by, we can gradually lose some of the passion of our devotion to serve Christ. We may begin to rest on our accomplishments, and cease pressing forward. However, Philippians 3:13-14 tell us, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
(2) The current of familiarity. As we become familiar with the truth, it may seem commonplace to us and we may lose its sense of novelty or even take it for granted. Like the church of Ephesus, we may lose our first love Revelation 2:4.
(3) The current of society. The tides of modern opinion can easily deceive, influence, and induce us to drift away from the truth found in God’s Word. Every day we are bombarded by forces that could and will destroy us, if we allow them to. Some are internal, such as our pride and selfish desires. Many are external forces, such as secular humanism, false religions, ungodly media influences, acquaintances who don’t support our faith, the stresses of life.
Because of these, it is difficult to maintain a true course if one is not firmly grounded in the Word that directs life, and such things can and will move the believer away from the simplicity and wisdom of our Lord (Romans 12:2). Living a God-honoring life in an evil world is not primarily a matter of the right outer location but of the right inner separation. We are living in a world that is hostile to our spiritual survival. The essence of the Lord Jesus’ prayer for His followers in John 17 was this: “Keep them in the world, but keep the world out of them.”
(4) The current of the flesh. Our warfare is not only without, but also within. 1 Peter 2:11, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Our flesh is constantly waging war against our souls, and against the Spirit who desires that, we follow Him. Galatians 5:16-17, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
(5) The current of daily concerns. The continuous pressure of our daily cares, pressures, and responsibilities can and will distract us for the purpose for which we have been called. Jesus warned against this on several occasions. Luke 8:14, “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” Luke 21:34, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with suffering, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”
(6) Lastly, and I think one of the biggest dangers of all, and one that is able to even make void the power of God’s precious Word. I’m talking about false church traditions … (traditions of men … practices and doctrines) that today’s church is FILLED with.
My beloved, we know that Satan is doing all in his power to keep the unsaved from being delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13). Satan is the one who energizes the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2), blinds the minds of the unsaved lest the light of the Gospel reach them (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4), and holds the unconscious world in his arms (1 John 5:19). It is also revealed that Satan in his warfare will counterfeit the things of God, which undertaking will likewise be in accord with his purpose to be “like the most High.”
He will promote extensive religious systems (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). In this connection it should be observed that Satan can promote forms of religion which are based on selected Bible texts, which elevate Christ as the leader, and which incorporate every phase of the Christian faith except one very important one; “the doctrine of salvation by grace alone on the ground of the shed blood of Christ.” Such satanic delusions are now in the world and multitudes are being deceived by them. Such false systems are always to be tested by the attitude they take toward the saving grace of God through the efficacious blood of Christ (Revelations 12:11).
If we aren’t careful, the aforementioned areas of the believer’s life can and will, slowly but surely move us away from the Lord and our service for Him. To prevent this drifting we must follow the analogy of the previous verses and imagine ourselves in a canoe, on a river with a slow moving current. Failure to pay attention leads to a drifting that in itself may be subtle and yet by the time we realize it, it’s too late! Last minute corrections may be attempted, but even then, we may run a ground or go over the falls. ONLY by giving heed to the Word of the Lord can this drifting be avoided and so it is with our salvation. Hebrews 6:19 tell us, “This hope we have is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”
The president of Gordon College, R. Judson Carlberg, was driving along the ocean near his home in Massachusetts one morning when he saw two stately 17-th century sailing ships. They were replicas that were built for a movie being filmed nearby. The breeze was stiff, Carlberg reported, straining the rigging and the crews. Yet, each ship stayed the course and didn’t capsize. He explained the secret of their stability. Beneath the waterline, each has a deep, heavy keel, a part of the ship you can’t see. The keel was essential for keeping the vessel steady in rough weather.
So, my beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord what: (1) holds you steady when fierce winds are blowing across your life? (2) keeps you from capsizing when you’re under stress and pain? (3) enables you to sail on despite the strain? It’s the stabilizing keel of your faith in a sovereign God. It’s your unseen relationship with Jesus Christ. As He commanded the wind and the waves on the Sea of Galilee, He also controls the storms and squalls of your life. My beloved, your faith in Christ is an “anchor” of your soul that can keep you from ultimate shipwreck, if you’ll put your trust in Him, your Redeemer and living Savior.
(1) Do you have that unseen keel of faith in your life, and if so, how are you doing?
(2) Are you faithful and obedient to the truth of God’s Word? or
(3) Are you drifting away from His Word?