I am sure we all know of someone who once professed Christ and are no longer walking with Him or living as a Christian. They made great promises that they would serve the Lord their entire lives even die for Him. They once had zeal and serve Him with enthusiasm. But now they are no longer followers of Him. Some had even been to Bible College or Seminary or even on the mission field. Some even deny the Lord and are apostate, they fell away from the truth, and their faith was not authentic. Some have been wounded and hurt by the tragedies that life can bring or by people and need restored. Then there are those in our text who “Drift spiritually.” Paul warned about making sure we don’t become a “Castaway”. We are not referring to those who raise their hands and walk to the front of the church and profess salvation. Nor are we talking about “dropouts.” A backslider is a Christian that falls into sin but here we are thinking of genuine believers who have drifted.
I believe the text deals with genuine believers. We are not dealing specifically with the security of believer’s, or the saved and lost issue, nor apostasy, or false professions of faith. We also must remember in the Biblical context there are four kind of soil that the Word of God is sown. We are dealing with the seed that fell upon the good ground.
Drifting can start unintentionally it can happen so easily, without one noticing the danger. It may be because of neglect or may be unaware of what is happening, it may be an undercurrent that slowly draws one away from it moorings, and one can drift away from the faith. It can happen because of laziness or disinterest. The drift starts when you change your focus from Christ and the things you have heard from scripture to the things of this life or the world.
Drifting can happen intentionally. One can also be aware they are drifting but do nothing to stop it. They even foolishly are willing to play with danger. They play with sin, they get a thrill at first but they pay an awful price later. Samson, David, Abraham and other great saints found this out to their consequences and it also affected family and friends.
The author of Hebrews is quite concerned about believers drifting away from the faith.
Pay Close Attention
Heb 2:1 “Therefore we ought to give more earnest heed to the things we have heard lest at any time we should let them slip.” Therefore or for this reason, what ha d they heard that should encourage them not to drift because of present sufferings and hardships? Well they heard marvellous and stupendous things in chapter 1:- They heard that Jesus is God’s supreme word. That he was heir of all things, he was the Creator of all things, He is the holds all things together, they heard that He radiated Gods glory, that He was the exact image of God the Father, He is supreme over angels, the great perfect priest, that He was the one unique sacrifice that purified sin and that He sat down as the ruler of all at the right hand of the Majesty on high. It is because the supremacy of Christ over all things that the writer reminds them God is aware of their situation. We should pay attention to what we have heard and read.
Drifting starts when a person forgets these things and is careless and pays no attention the Gods Word and what it says about the Son. It starts when they forget who He is. The first thing to go is an interest in hearing the word being preached. One may sit in church at a Bible study but never hear a word. They are not paying attention. There are those who think they know all the doctrines, all about the truth and all about spiritual living and have heard it all. This is the beginning of that deceptive drift. When you neglect Christ, His Word, meeting together with His people you is in danger of drifting and becoming a “castaway”. You can be carried further and further away and be dashed upon the rocks and become shipwrecked n your faith.
It may happen because of a busy life style, or occupation with your job, you could drift away by focusing too much on sport, socializing, a relationship, the insatiable desire to get more money, long working hour. These are not all wrong but when they take you away from the things of God they are. Anything can tempt us away from hearing and obeying the Word.
It may be that a storm has come into your life and has driven you of course and you end up lost at sea. Make sure your anchor is in the oath and promises of God. When suffering and heartache comes we sometimes think God does not hear us or care about our circumstances. This is what some of the believers may have been thinking. Does God know or care that we are suffering or has He let us to sort it all out ourselves? They may have asked, “Has God forsaken us.” Were they not aware or had they forgotten that God would work it all out for the good?
The Giving of the Law Angels Were Witness To
Vs. 2-3 “For I the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? Angels were involved in the giving of the law, “the message spoken through angels.” This refers to Deuteronomy 33:2; “He said: The Lord came from Sinai and revealed himself to Israel from Seir. He appeared in splendour from Mount Parana, and came forth with ten thousand holy ones. With his right hand he gave a fiery law to them: on his right hand were his angels with him] (Deuteronomy 33:2). “This is the man who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, and he received living oracles to give to you” (Acts 7:38). “You received the law by decrees given by angels, but you did not obey it” (Acts 7:53). Why then was the law given? It was added because of transgressions, until the arrival of the descendant to whom the promise had been made. It was administered through angels by an intermediary (Galatians 3:19).
There are much greater consequences be for neglecting God’s Word in the New Testament for it was the Son of God who is far superior to the angels who brought the good news to men. So to disregard the Son’s message will have more severe consequences.
Consequences for Neglecting Gods Word – True Backsliders Are Disciplined
The Christian cannot lose the salvation Christ has purchased for them; however, they can lose out on privileges, on rewards, on fellowship with the Lord and on service. But there are dire consequences for neglecting Gods Word. They come under the discipline of the Lord as did the Old Testament saints (See Hebrews 12:3-8). Paul mentions three stages in discipline for those who abuse and sin at the Lords Table (1 Corinthians 11:29-30). The first one is many are weakly. (These are not the weak in conscience that Paul speaks of in Romans 14). But these kinds of Christians have no convictions, no backbone. They are insipid. The second stage is many are sickly – some believers become ill because they continue to practice sinning and come to the Lord’s Table. The final stage is that many sleep, when believer’s die it is always called sleep the body sleeps in the grave and the soul goes to be with Christ which is “far better.” The man who was living with his father’s wife was handed over to Satan for judgment, but this did not include the loss of his eternal salvation: “turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:3-5).
If someone goes on living a life away from Christ and there is no evidence of personal guilt or shame or godly discipline one must ask were they authentic Christians. We are told God disciplines every child whom He receives; if they are not disciplined they do not belong to him. God has a multitude of ways of disciplining his children. The word discipline comes from the root word to meaning to teach or instruct. Discipline is corrective and educational. It is ultimately for our good.
The Prodigal son went away from the father; he was still the father’s son. However he began to suffer the consequences of his wrong decisions and it affected his mentality but when he CAME TO HIMSELF, when he began to think straight he said “”I will arise and go to my father.” The fellowship had been broken, he had left his first love but the relationship was still father and son. He was still family.
Amazing Witnesses to So Great Salvation
Heb. 2:3 First witness God Himself
“which at the first was spoken of by the Lord.” There is no higher authority than the Lord God. He first spoke of this salvation beginning in Genesis 3:15 and throughout scripture. He affirms it.
Second – Eyewitnesses.
“it was confirmed to us by those who heard” Salvation is great because eyewitnesses confirmed it as true. It has historical evidence. It is not an idea or a philosophy but it is factual that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification. He shed his blood for us (10:34; 12:4) and it was seen by the unbelieving Romans, and Jews as well as His own followers. Paul mentions over five hundred witnesses in 1 Corinthians 15. Luke says He showed Himself for forty days by many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3). The gospel is a fact of history. Jesus died on the cross and was raised physically from the grave. The reality is that it cost many third lives because they were witnesses including 10 disciples who were martyred for preaching it.
Four Amazing Proofs of So Great Salvation
Heb 2:4 Third witnesses
the Proofs, “God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders and divers miracles and gifts of the holy Spirit.” Salvation is great because God Himself confirmed the message by miracles through the apostles.
“by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit…” These were mostly performed by the apostles as recorded in the Book of Acts. When these things occurred they were signs that God was working a so great salvation. These Wonders were amazing happenings that were awesome to the human eyewitnesses. Various refers to the many or multitude of multi-coloured miracles (= Greek, dynamis or power). It all focuses on God’s power and ability to do amazing things. It showed His power was beyond human ability.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit distribute them not men. They are of divine origin Spirit given
According to His Will
Vs. 4 “according to His will.” He willed it, He planned it. T was no accident but w well thought out detailed plan. “according to His will” emphasizes God’s sovereignty in bestowing spiritual gifts as He sees fit for His purposes (1 Cor. 12:11). As Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 12, not everyone has the same gifts, but as in the human body, so in the body of Christ each member has a vital function for the overall health of the body. He gave these gifts to confirm the gospel. We have looked at the question “Are gifts for today” in our studies in 1 Corinthians.
True believers may drift and may get entangled in sin. If we see a brother or sister in such a condition we should first get our own hearts right then lovingly go to them and point out the error of their ways. If they do turn from it, we win them or retrieve them. But if they continue in sin, and there is no sign of discipline then we must question the validity of their salvation. Let him that is spiritual judge. Some foolishly say “I trust him as my saviour but not as my Lord.” Or “If He is not Lord of all He is not Lord at All.” That I foolish nonsense, HE IS LORD – FULL STOP.
We are all prone to the danger of drifting away even though we have so great salvation. We need to stay alert, be on the lookout for things that will cause us to drift. We can get our eyes upon people, things, self, the things of this world and even Satan and not focus on the truth, on the Lord. Watch out for your soul cast your anchor on heavenly things. When we are facing illness, hardship, trials and the threat of persecution we should keep the Lord and His will in focus. Don’t drift into the currents of this wold’s culture. It will try and squeeze you into its mould. Don’t let the philosophies, the manipulations of these worlds thinkers cause you to drift from the truth. Examine the source and compare it with the Truth. Compare the educational, economical, psychological, scientific, follow that which it’s true and not science (knowledge) falsely so called. Combat false hood. Pay attention to the truth and “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard” Is your heart cold? Have you lost the joy and fellowship with God? Come back to your first love. Let us encourage one another. Let us not forsake the assembling together with the saints. Let us share our lives, our blessings and hurts with one another. Let us keep Him supreme in our thoughts.