I find this text as a very sobering one. It is a strong reminder that we far too often overlook. Two key words in these few verses, specifically verse one, in the Greek are prosecho (pay much closer attention) and pararheo (drift away). Vine's defines these words as relating to a nautical sense. These words literally illustrate a ship "drifting away" or passing by its port because the captain didn't "pay close enough attention" to his course. How many Christians let the Word drift away due to a lack of diligence? They will miss their port when it comes time to dock their ship!! Christians should not allow their lives to drift away from the Word in any situation. Our first duty is to seek His kingdom and His righteousness. Mt 6:33 How many people drift away from that on Sunday afternoon, let alone all week long? Do we daily fear God and strive to keep His commandments? Ecc 12:13 Are we really counting all things loss to gain Christ? Phi 3:7,8 Brethren, I fear too many are drifting away from the port and don't even realize it.
Think of a Christian as a ship. Many are drifting away because they are not properly anchored. Christ is our anchor! Therefore, the strong tides of this world (temptations) are pulling them away. We lack the care and diligence of strengthening the chain that attaches us to that anchor. The chain is the study and practice of the Word of God. We are becoming very negligent in this matter. The tide pulls, the weak chain breaks, and the ship is now pulled away from the anchor. The world pulls and the Christian who is NOT diligently studying and putting into practice the Word of God WILL BE SEPARATED FROM CHRIST!
Have you ever floated on a tube, raft, or boat on a body of water, other than a moving stream? If you have, did you notice you was drifting? Probably not! That is how the author of Hebrews is describing apostasy here. Often times people do not boldly turn from Christianity, though some do. Most people slowly drift away. Similar to drifting away on a body of water, the Christian is far away from the starting point. They have slowly drifted away and when they realize they have drifted, they have no clue where they are. That is a lost soul my friends. Many invisible, underwater currents (false teachers) pull away the drifting object (Christians).
Verse two is as equally sobering as verse one. Two truths are mentioned concerning the peril of drifting away. First, is the steadfastness of the Word of God. The Word is not able to be altered. What is being said here is the Word of God is sacred and binding. The Word is not to be despised or neglected. Many people in the past have paid a hefty consequence for doing these things. Which takes us to the second truth.
The second truth is "every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty." The Sabbath breaker was stoned, a generation of people died in the wilderness from disbelief and lack of trust, and even Moses was not allowed to enter the promise land for disobedience. WHY SHOULD CHRISTIANS TODAY BE ANY DIFFERENT? Oh yea, we try to abuse God's grace! You see, transgression is sinning when we know it is a sin, or practicing sin. 1Jn 3:4 Disobedience is refusal to comply with a command. Jas 4:17 I can't remember where I learned it but I heard it taught like this: transgression is sin of commission and disobedience is sin of omission. Nevertheless, both classes of sin will receive a just penalty or consequence. The only way to have that penalty removed or be pardoned is to be anchored to Christ by submission and commission to his Word, Will, and Way! Consider how Peter mentions the penalty received by those who sinned and how God rescues His submissive and obedient godly people in 2Pe 2:4-9.
The most sobering of all is verse three. It ties in the drifting Christian and the sinners consequences. We can't escape the coming consequences where disobedience of the Word of God is involved. The most awful consequences awaits the souls that through disbelief (Mk 16:16), neglect (Mt 7:26), and disobedience (2Th 1:8; Rom 2:8) fails to heed God's message through His son.
A book can be a great teaching tool, but it is useless if it's not opened. The sun drives out darkness, but we can't see unless we open our eyes. Medicine can heal you, but only if you take it out of the bottle and apply it! So it is with Christianity. Christ did his part and now it is up to us to obey. Heb 5:8-9 I have blogged on this before.
How many people reading this will neglect to heed its message. Neglect will condemn many people at judgment day. Peter asks about those who neglect to obey in 1Pe 4:17 The answer to that question is found in 2Th 1:7-9 Consider the one talent person. It was neglect that brought forth his condemnation. Mt 25:24-30 Neglecting to obey the command of loving one another by neglecting to meet their needs will have many "go away into eternal punishment." Mt 25:41-46
I know many of you may be thinking this is the type of teaching that drives people away. Chad needs to just share how much God loves us. I believe you already know how much God loves you because he sent His son. Many people need to hear the warning of not heeding what His son said! There are too many people in the world that are like Felix! People are waiting for a better time to respond to the Gospel or will not finish reading this because they are frightened by the possible outcome, but this is the type of message that needs to shared. See what Felix said in Acts 24:24,25
Today, are you heeding and obeying the Word of God? The author of Hebrews said, "...how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" Are you ready to escape? Don't neglect the call of God through His son! Listen and obey the Word of God. Let right now be the acceptable time. Let today be a day of salvation! 2Co 6:2
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
We must hear the Word of God: Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4
We must believe or have faith: Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31
We must repent of our sins: Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30
We must confess Christ before others: Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37
We must be immersed into Christ (baptized) Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38
We must be faithful: Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22