Ever watch something floating down a river? You’re standing on the bank and your eye catches a leaf or a piece of wood floating towards you. You eyes fix on it and you watch it as it, literally, goes with the flow. The river’s current carries it where it likes. That piece of wood might bump into rocks jutting out of the river and then be swept around them. Or, it might get lost in the foaming waters of some rapids, eventually to resurface. Perhaps, it gets caught up in a small eddy by the shore, going around and around, making no progress at all. Tranquil? . . . Maybe. Aimless? . . . Definitely. Out of control? . . . Absolutely. Headed nowhere? . . . Yeah, I’m thinking. Such is what comes to mind as the writer to the Hebrews warns his readers about “the drift.”
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? (Hebrews 2:1-3a ESV)
“Therefore” . . . what’s it “there for?” These first verses in Hebrews 2 are in light of what has been declared in Hebrews 1 . . . that is, that God has spoken to us in these last days through His blessed Son . . . the Son who is the “exact imprint” of God’s nature . . . the Son through whom God created the world . . . the Son who Himself made purification for our sins . . . the One who is superior to angels. Therefore, pay close attention to what God, through His Son, has spoken to us.
The message delivered by angels concerned what we needed to do for God, but the message delivered by the Son has everything to do with what God has done for us. It is the message of a “great salvation.”
Of a salvation past . . . saved from the penalty of sin . . . atonement made . . . reconciliation between man and God possible . . . all through the finished work of Christ on the cross. Of a salvation future . . . to be saved from the presence of sin . . . when the redeemed are gathered to the Redeemer, the sheep to the Shepherd, the Bride to the Bridegroom . . . to inhabit places being prepared for us even now . . . to receive an incorruptible inheritance laid up for us in His presence. And, of a salvation present . . . being saved from the power of sin . . . being transformed by the renewing of our minds through the sanctifying work of the Spirit who indwells us . . . given the tools we need to grow into our new spiritual DNA as we learn to be led by the Spirit and to put to death the old man . . . being conformed, more and more, into the image of the Son. Can I get an “Amen!” for such a great salvation?
But, beware the drift. It is possible to “neglect such a great salvation.”
Oh the danger of, having known “salvation past” and counting on “salvation future,” to go into auto-pilot when it comes to “salvation present.” Of making light of God’s purposes in salvation through those He desires to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ . . . through those He seeks to live in a manner worthy of their calling.
Instead of pursuing the things of the kingdom, they float down the river of this world. Rather than experiencing the “abundant life” Jesus came to give, they go around in circles, caught up in some eddy, until they are sucked under. Far from navigating the white waters of this life, they are instead caught up, crashing against the rocks, just hoping to keep their head above water. Not only does the drift result in loss of blessing to those God has called to be His children, but it also results in the loss of opportunities for glory to be given to God.
By the very nature of it being a drift, it tends not to be intentional . . . but the result of not paying close attention and being negligent. Reading God’s Word? . . . if I feel like it. Communing with God through prayer? . . . if I have time. Meeting with God’s people? . . . if I don’t already have some other activity planned. Just drifting . . .
We don’t power our way to salvation . . . by His grace, in His Son, through His Spirit, He provides the power. But I do think we are to need to provide some purpose . . . though feeble perhaps, some determination . . . some desire to not just go with the flow . . . to not neglect our salvation . . . to pay closer attention . . . and, by His grace and for His glory, to avoid the drift.