Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. Hebrews 2:1
With the thoughts of Chapter 1 complete, the author now introduces a connecting link to what is coming. This is evidenced by the word “Therefore.” It looks back, expecting the reader to contemplate what has been said. Chapter 1 dealt clearly and precisely with the deity of Christ Jesus and His superiority over the heavenly host of angels. It further spoke about how the message of God was transmitted in the past, but how it is transmitted now (meaning through the Son of God). The revelation of the Son is far superior to the revelation received through the prophets.
This is what we are to consider, and this is what will then look forward to what lies ahead as the author continues. Before he does though, he says – based on the contents of Chapter 1 – that “we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard.” The words, “the more earnest heed,” signify “abundantly.” We are to hold our minds completely on “the things we have heard.”
Because Jesus Christ is God, and because He is superior even to the angels who speak with great authority – even with the authority that comes from Him at times – we must pay heed to the words concerning Christ. He has come, He has been revealed for who He truly is, and He has ushered in a New Covenant in His blood. The author will spend much of the book of Hebrews explaining the superiority of this New Covenant over the Old. He will explain what it means to fall back under the Old to the individual. This is all being prepared by him by first laying out the nature and authority of Christ Jesus. What He has said, or what has been relayed concerning Him, bears a dignity which far surpasses any revelation prior to His coming, and it is to be regarded especially worthy of our full attention.
If this full attention isn’t given, something else is bound to occur. As the author says, “lest we drift away.” The word translated here as “drift away” is used only this once in the Bible, and there is a great deal of conjecture as to its true intent. It comes from two words which signify “close beside” and “to flow.” And so no matter what mental image is given, the idea is that something is near, and it moves away from being near. A ring can slip off a finger and be lost. A boat can be improperly moored and float out to sea because of the movement of the tide. Thus, the author is signifying that if we do not pay heed to the message of Christ, we will slip away from God’s mooring in Christ to an open ocean. We will be theologically tossed about on the waves of bad doctrine, and eventually, we will be wrecked on the shores of heresy.
Thus, there is this strong warning and contrast to giving the more earnest heed. Giving heed means security, pleasing God, and life. Drifting away will lead to uncertainty, displeasing God, and death.
Life application: The book of Hebrews reveals Christ. He is God. To not give heed to this (such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses) is to deny God. The book reveals that the New Covenant supersedes the Old. To fall back on the Old (such as Judaizers and Hebrew Roots movement adherents do) is to reject the completed work of Christ. On and on it will go. There is a sound anchor in Christ; there is drifting away to bad doctrine and heresy by not holding to the truth of Christ. Be wise, be faithful to God, and cling to Jesus alone.
Gracious heavenly Father, give us wisdom to refute those who teach that which is false concerning Your expectations for mankind. We are called “haters” and “unloving” for proclaiming what Your word proclaims. When that happens, we want to retreat. But in the end, all we need to do is to simply say, “This is God’s words; take it up with Him.” Our obedience to You is not hating. Rather, it is the most loving thing we can do. We are proclaiming the only path to salvation. How could that be wrong! No indeed. It is a mark of true love. Help us then to be faithful to Your word. Amen.