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Driftwood and Treachery - Hebrews 2

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Hebrews 2 begins with our first instruction following on from Hebrews one which highlights the importance and significance of Jesus, and that is to Listen to him.

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

The Prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures, or the old testament had the word of God given to them through the angels, but in Hebrews chapter one we are told in no uncertain terms that Jesus of far superior to the angels, and therefore the words he has spoken, and recorded in the gospels, are also superior to the revelations that came before.  That of course does not diminish the importance of the Hebrew scriptures but instead highlights our need to pay closer attention to the words, life and actions of Christ, that we might not drift away from it, or indeed him.

John piper gives a great image of this: -

Consider this word "drifting." It means float by. It's what a piece of bark or a leaf or a dead fish does in the river—it floats by the boat that is being rowed up stream. It takes no life and no motion to float by. One need only do nothing, and you will float by.

John Piper www.desiringgod.org

It kind of reminded me of being in the “lazy river at a water park” you just move into the flow of water, lift up your feet and the current takes you on your journey.  The problem is this is not the river of eternal life, as depicted through Jesus that leads us to salvation and eternity with him, it is instead the river that is OUR life which which flows away from Jesus, and leads us to death and destruction.  To float, or to drift in this river is a dangerous place for a Christian.

Again John piper gives a wonderful image of what it is to be a Christian in this river that is life taken from Hebrews Chapter 10:19-23, The image is that through the sacrifice of Jesus, we have an anchor in heaven, and anchor in the temple (Jesus' flesh being the curtain) and it is hooked around the mercy seat, that is the full assurance of our faith through Christ Jesus bringing atonement for our sins, and he is pulling us in when we keep our eyes fixed on him, and Jesus is also our captain in the boat steering our course as we navigate upstream, keeping us from troubled waters.

But you see the problem is for some of us, and I count myself in that number, for some of us There is no urgency. No vigilance. No focused listening or considering or fixing the eyes on Jesus. And the result has not been a standing still, but a drifting away.
You see I always had this idea or picture that God was always moving, and if we did not keep our eyes on him, if I did not keep in step with him, then he would move further and further out of sight until eventually he was gone completely and I would be left standing still.

But now, now I see that that was in error.  God is not the one who is moving, God is the same yesterday, today and forever, he is always present, he is always gracious, he is always reaching out, but instead it was I who was moving, drifting and sometimes drowning in the flow of my life, a life I had given to him, yet my arms had grown weary from rowing against the current, my eyes had become distracted by others people and other places or experiences I came across while drifting down the river.  I had performed and mutiny and over thrown the captain of the boat and set sail on my own path that leads to destruction.
In verse 14 of chapter 2 it goes on to say - Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil

Death is a terrifying notion for those who believe, death is the reality of an eternity that will either be fulfilled in heaven or hell.  Hell is a terrifying reality that many people face, yet for those who do not believe, death is sad but certainly not terrifying.  If death was terrifying to non believers then the song “I'm on the highway to hell” or “I did it my way” would not be two of the most popular songs chosen for funerals.   

Satan’s power is not absolute, but is under Gods control who ultimately has power over life and death, but let us not forget that Satan was a “murderer from the beginning” as found in John 8:44, and he does have the power to harm people as described in Mark 5:2-5 and Luke 13:16, his main weapon, or his weapon of choice from is armory is Sin, that is OUR sin, he has already been sentenced for his sin, but now he relishes in drawing on our sin, and blinding us to the dangers that lurk down stream as we aimlessly meander towards the waterfall of destruction where bodies lay dashed and strewn on the murderous rocks below.

This is important though.  It is too easy to say Satan is tempting me, or causing me to stumble and fall, but guess what, no-one was every sentenced to hell for being oppressed or even possessed by demons, in fact Jesus came and healed the sick and demon possessed.  No we are sentenced to hell for our own sin and wickedness, when we fail to take hold of the sacrifice made by the one who came and was tempted in EVERY way yet remained without sin, that we might have a high priest who sympathizes with our weakness and is able to help those who are tempted.

So in closing.  There is no place in the life of a Christian to stand still, because when we stand still we become complacent, and when we become complacent we stop rowing and turn our eyes away from Jesus and onto other things that distract us.  And when we are distracted, we are no longer standing still but instead are set a drift, floating idly down the river away from the salvation brought to us by Christ Jesus the great high priest, but more terrifyingly and more disturbingly we become complicit in the murderous and treacherous dealings of the great deceiver as we fail to point those we meet in that river away from the folly and pending doom that awaits them, instead opting to join them in their rebellion against a great, and mighty, loving and merciful, powerful and righteous good and just God who stands on the water, anchor in hand, waiting to resume his captaincy of the boat.

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