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Don't Drift Away

Hebrews 1:13-2:4
To which of the angels did God ever say, 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'? Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (NIVUK)

Drifting away is a gentle and easy process; it is hardly noticed until it is too late. The Hebrew believers from a devout background came from one of two main positions: they were either legalists who tried to be in God's favour by keeping the law, or they were mysticists who sought supernatural experiences and help from angels – perhaps thinking that they were more accessible representatives of God's presence. But Jesus is fully accessible to us and to Father God. He, and not even an archangel, is the only mediator we need (1 Timothy 2:5). He sits, at the right hand of God the Father, as the 'chief executive' of the Godhead. One day all His enemies will submit to Him.

By contrast, the angels are only messengers of God's salvation message. In both Hebrew and Greek, 'angel' means messenger. They cannot save and do not rule over God's creation. They have no independent authority; their job is to serve God … and announce that God wants to save His people. The prelude to the salvation message was to announce the law, under which nobody could be righteous before God. The law showed God's people how much they needed a Saviour-Redeemer. It was right that the Hebrews (and all of us) should pay attention to God's definition of what is right and wrong, as given by angels to Moses. But most ignored it (Acts 7:38,53) throwing away their eternal security.

The Lord Jesus affirmed the Old Testament law, but only He could keep it (Matthew 5:17). However, He also chose to bear the punishment due to everybody who broke the law, by dying on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). He personally announced the kingdom into which He invited those who followed Him (Luke 22:29-30). That message of salvation was spread from those Jesus taught and the Holy Spirit enabled many others to understand and believe (Galatians 3:5).

It is foolish to ignore the angel messengers of the law, but catastrophically foolish to drift away from salvation because we do not take the words and work of Jesus seriously. Distractions which shift our focus away from Jesus, suit Satan's purpose as well as enthusiastic heresy. Drifting is so easy; we have to do nothing except loosen our mooring to Christ, letting the winds of circumstance and the tides of fashionable ideas imperceptibly move us away from the only eternal security we have – Jesus. We can seek mystical experiences or even idolise God's messengers – notable preachers – but fail to draw close to Jesus. If He is not the centre of our lives we are in serious danger of drifting away from God.

Heavenly Father. Thank You for giving Jesus to be my Saviour-Redeemer. I repent of being distracted away from Him being the centre of my heart's attention, however virtuous those distractions might appear to be. Please help me to be securely moored to Him, trusting in His salvation and sustaining, grateful for His mercy and grace, and eager to walk more closely with Him. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams