There is a word, Young People, which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews used very often. That word is the adjective “better”, which he uses nine times in this epistle. He speaks of Christ being better than the angels, of a better hope, a better testament, a better covenant, of better sacrifices, a better blessing, a better substance, a better promise and a better resurrection. For he is showing the believing Israelites how much better the New Testament revelation of our salvation is than it is in the Old Testament. And plainly what he means is that, now that Christ has come into our flesh, and exalted Himself to God’s right hand, what we have heard and been taught is better in the sense of being richer than what was heard in the Old Testament dispensation.
Now a better translation of Hebrews 2:1 is “Therefore we ought to give more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should drift.” Our King James version is correct, in the sense that it presents the truth to us, when it has “lest at any time we should let them slip.” The awesome fact however is that the Greek word, here translated as slip, appears nowhere else in the New Testament. It appears only in this epistle to the Hebrews and does have a different meaning, namely, to flow past, glide by, or be carried past. Now slipping can be falling back, and becoming farther away from the point you are striving to reach. But to drift means to go away from, and to miss the place where you enter into what you are blessed with when you enter. It means failing to reach the blessedness you have in mind, because you have gone beyond the point where you can enter it.
What we have in mind here in this verse is the idea of drifting past the channel which brings us into the harbor where our journey will be over, and we reach the joy we have in mind, and have the contact with loved ones which we are seeking. The author has here in mind drifting away from God.
In this verse the author is speaking about drifting away from the entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, where the child of God will have sweet communion with God through Christ, and be with all the members of the body of Christ. And in this verse then we have an awesome truth. We are always in this life on the move. We are like ships on “The Sea of Life.” And when we let go of the truth in God’s Word, we are like ships that drift away from the channel that brings us into The Haven of Rest, the place where we will have sweet communion with God, and have a most blessed and everlasting life of covenant fellowship with our God.
By nature, all men are moving from the moment of birth unto the moment of death, and are sliding down to hell! And only by God’s grace in Christ are we walking in the truth of God’s Word, and going in the right spiritual direction. Every man, woman and child is by nature in a canoe or row boat that is drifting on a wide river to a place where there is a deep, destructive waterfall, like we have at our Niagara Falls. And unless our God in His grace keeps us on this wide river, and going straight towards that channel which brings us into the harbor of peace, we are moving to that awesome, destructive waterfall and down to hell! Bear in mind, and do not ignore the frightening truth, that Satan got us, with a wind which he blew upon us, to eagerly and willingly drift to destruction and torment in hell! By means of a false doctrine, Satan got Adam and Eve to turn away from God, and seek what they thought was better for them than what God gave them, and wherein He created them.
And today, preaching, teaching and presenting to the minds of church members Satan’s lies, which blow men off the course of the truth, are currents which drive them to hell! Some of these waves of false doctrines are more powerful than others; but Satan is working very hard and very cleverly with false doctrines to get us to drift away from the truth that directs us to covenant fellowship with God. Remember to hold before your minds the fact that Satan said to Adam and Eve, “Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4, 5.
And Satan’s blowing winds of false doctrines are very strong today, and so clever that we are made to drift away from God, and from covenant fellowship with Him. Thus is I Timothy 1:3, 4 Paul wrote: “I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine. Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith.” Also in his epistle to Titus Paul wrote in chapter 1:13, 14, “This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.”
The awesome fact is that every false doctrine is antichristian. And that means that it is against Christ. The word anti means against, like in the word antiaircraft; which means that against aircraft are bullets shot. And we do well to bear in mind that in John 1:14 we read that Christ, Who is the Word become flesh, “dwelt among us.” And Satan is constantly and very cleverly striving to get us away from Christ. By means of an host of false doctrines, there is today an host of different kinds of churches. The one, by Satan’s cleverness, causes the church to drift away from Christ as He is presented in Scripture; and the other by means of a walk of life in sin that is so very different from the one in which Christ walked. He, in Matthew 4:1-10, told Satan that “Man shall not live by bread alone”, shall not “tempt the Lord thy God”, and worship God only, “and Him only shalt thou serve.” And today Satan has gotten so many false doctrines, and encouraged our walking in sins. Only by heeding Jesus’ words; and when we refuse to do what Satan encourages men to do through church leaders and church decisions, we are on the course that leads to the channel through which we enter that Haven of Rest, and live with our God in a more wonderful covenant blessedness than Adam and Eve had before they listened to Satan.
Listen, Young People, God declared – when Satan got Adam and Eve to drift away from the truth, and to aim their lives against God, rather than to keep them serving God in love – that He, God, would put enmity in the hearts of some, and leave others in their enmity against Him. In fact, that enmity of Satan, and those in his kingdom, manifested its greatness when they nailed God’s Son to the cross. God did not in Genesis 3:15 teach the Arminian lie that is so strongly maintained in many churches. He did not say that He would offer Adam and Eve salvation, and ask whether they would accept it. Nowhere in Scripture does God offer salvation, invite people to come and get it.
God told Satan, in the hearing of Adam and Eve, that HE would put enmity in Adam and Eve, and in some of their descendants. He speaks of her, that is Eve’s, seed and Satan’s seed. And the undeniable fact is that both Adam and Eve had died spiritually that day. They did not die physically that day; but they tried to flee from God and hide “from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” Genesis 3:8. This reveals a spiritual death in them. And we insult our holy and sovereign God, when we teach that we can change Him, rather than in thankfulness confess and sing of the truth that HE changes us, and that He performs the entire change. Every part of that change is His work in us, not our work for Him.
He told Adam that the day he ate of that forbidden fruit he would die. Get that truth, and let no one teach you that God was referring to a physical death, and meant that this physical death would start on him the day he sinned. It did, of course; but there is so much more in Scripture that reveals Adam and Eve died spiritually that day in which they sinned and believed Satan rather than God.
Take hold of that truth which God – not Satan through men – presents to us in Isaiah 43:21, namely, “This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise.” Hold on tightly also to what He declares through Paul in Romans 9:16. There we read, “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” To maintain that God offers salvation, and that He invites men to accept what He offers, is to present a doctrine that makes one drift from the way of truth, and thus also go away from the channel that brings us into the Haven of Rest. Note the fact that God said to Adam in Genesis 2:17 that the DAY that he would eat of that forbidden fruit he would die. He did not say that death would begin in him, but that he would die. And plainly the idea is that he would that day die spiritually. And having died spiritually, Adam and Eve had no spiritual life to hand down to Cain and Abel, their sons, or to us today. We all come into this life spiritually dead; and therefore cannot and will not want salvation until God has begun it in us by a rebirth. Take note of what we read in Romans 9:16, and hold on to it tightly, namely, “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”
Invitations, offers of salvation to spiritually dead people insult our holy God. They claim – although they do not say that literally – God depends on us, and that we let Him do something He is eager to do. Young People, do you not see that the Arminian doctrine of invitations and of offers of salvation are a presentation of Satan’s lie to Eve? God said that the day Adam would eat of the forbidden fruit he would die. Arminianism says that if we accept God’s offer, then we will let Him save us. It all depends upon us; and it therefore implies that we still do have a spiritual life that can want salvation before God gives it to us.
Yes, God does command us to believe. Look up Acts 16:31. BUT His command is not a request, a plea revealing that He is waiting to see what we do before He begins salvation in us.
Next time, the Lord willing, we will continue this very important truth, and the awful tragedy of drifting away from the truth and unto destruction by Satan’s lies in the church world.