Today’s Reading: Hebrews 3 & 4
A few days ago, we talked about Peter’s second letter to the Church. Peter used that letter to warn the church of how important it was to grow in their relationship with God. He talked about the dangers of walking away from our relationship with God and back into sin instead of taking steps of growth. The writer of Hebrews, who is unknown, gives the same warning. He speaks not only of willfully walking away but also of slowly DRIFTING AWAY.
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may DRIFT AWAY from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? And God confirmed this message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. – Hebrews 2:1-4
Why would the writer take such effort to get the attention of his listeners regarding DRIFTING AWAY from their faith? He was writing to the Jewish believers, the Israelites who had a history of being fickle in their faith. The Old Testament is full of the history of a nation who wavered in their obedience and loyalty to God. They would sing His praises in one generation and then worship idols and false gods in another generation. They would be content with God’s provisions and then they would grumble against God’s plan.
There were false teachers stirring up trouble in the early Church and the Jewish believers were in danger of doing exactly what their ancestors had done – turning their eyes away from the truth and letting new ideas confuse their theology. They were in danger of DRIFTING AWAY from the truth. False teachers were creating this idea that believers needed to pray to angels in order to access God. They were teaching that Jesus was an angel – the highest ranking angel. The writer of Hebrews dispels this crazy idea by revealing who Jesus is.
This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names. For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” – Hebrews 1:4-5
And here is where the writer of Hebrews helps us understand exactly how Jesus’ death on a cross changed everything. He explains the plan of salvation and how the sacrifice of God’s Son, not an angel but fully human while being fully God, enables us to be His children.
Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.
So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. – Hebrews 2:9b-11
So now that you understand WHO you are (brothers and sisters who belong to God and for whom God is preparing an eternal home – 3:1) – understand that God calls you to be faithful. Just as Jesus was faithful and Moses was faithful, we need to remain faithful and grow instead of being deceived by sin and hardened against God. We need to stand firm in our faith instead of DRIFTING AWAY.
Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we KEEP our courage and REMAIN confident in our hope in Christ.
That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness…”
Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, TURNING YOU AWAY from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. – Hebrews 3:5-8,12-14
This Christmas, let’s make it a point to draw closer to the God who loved us enough to send His Son. Let’s seek Him in the midst of all the Christmas parties and chaos. Let’s intentionally find ways to grow in our relationship with God instead of letting the distractions of life cause us to slowly drift away.
Precious Father, thank you so much for the privilege of being called a “child of God”. Thank you for having a plan to save us out of our sin into your perfect plan for our lives. Our hearts desire to draw near to you and stay in a wonderful relationship with you. Please forgive us for our moments of drifting away or placing our focus on the philosophies of this world instead of your eternal truth. Help us to grow in our faith today. Today, when we hear your voice, we choose not to harden our hearts as Israel did – we choose to draw closer to you instead of drifting away.