Focal Passage: Hebrews 2:1-4
About 10 years ago I decided to take my family to the Dominican Republic for our summer vacation. We picked a resort with a nice area for swimming, kayaking or using boogie boards. I decided the boogie board was my best bet at enjoying a little recreation in the calm waters of the bay. I found it very easy to swim with the boogie board and so I ventured out farther and farther from the beach. Then I had a terrible realization: I had drifted about 300 yards south of where I had entered the water. I made it back, but it taught me an important lesson about the danger of drifting.
The writer of Hebrews has the very same concern. He is not concerned with swimming at the beach, but with the drift of faith. He calls on followers of Christ in Hebrews 2:1 to pay more careful attention to what they have heard in order to avoid drifting away from their faith. Notice he is concerned they are already drifting, which is why he calls on them to pay more careful attention to the truth of the gospel. They needed to put in practice what they had heard in a more intentional way, in order to avoid the drift of faith. The same is true for us. To simply hear a sermon or Sunday School lesson, but fail to put it into practice puts us at risk for drifting away.
He then reminds them that just as there were consequences for disobedience under the law, there are consequences for ignoring the great salvation provided in Christ. The writer of Hebrews does not have an understanding of salvation as a casual glance at the cross or “praying a prayer.” He understands the message of God’s grace to be life transforming and a message that demands our full attention.
He tells us that God has testified to the truth of the gospel by signs, wonders, miracles and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We testify to the truth of the gospel by living it out with careful attention to what we have heard. Fortunately, my lack of attention on the boogie board only cost me some sore muscles. A lack of attention to the truth of the gospel has much more severe eternal consequences.