The story is told of the great British explorer, William Edward Perry, who led an expedition to the Arctic Ocean in the early 1800’s.
They wanted to go farther north to continue their charting. So they calculated their location by the stars and then started a very difficult and treacherous march north.
They walked the whole day. And then totally exhausted, they finally stopped for the night. They took their bearings again from the stars. And they were shocked to discover that they were farther south than when they had started. They then discovered that they had been walking on an ice floe that was moving south faster than they were moving north! They were drifting in the opposite direction.
If we’re not careful we can find ourselves drifting spiritually. Walking, we think in the right direction, but actually failing to move in the direction commanded by the Lord.
The danger of drifting is nothing new. First century Christians faced the same challenge and were warned by the inspired writer in Hebrews 2:1-3:
“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.”
Before we get to the haunting question, there are several important things to note about this passage. The writer affirmed that we have received “so great a salvation.” What makes it so great?
(1) The love of God. His divine love for us is beyond human comprehension. It is unconditional. Unalterable. And Unchanging. The Bible calls it a “great love with which he loved us (Eph. 2:4).That means you and I. Even when we were unlovable. That’s great love!
(2) The grace and mercy of God. David expressed it when he exclaimed, “great is your mercy toward me” (Ps 86:13). God is patient. Longsuffering. And slow to anger. When we humble obey Him, He withholds what we do deserve and gives that which we don’t deserve. That’s great grace and mercy!
(3) The sacrifice of His Son. Grace, mercy, and love compelled God to send Jesus to die for our sins. “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (Jn 15:13). Jesus died for us when we were aliens and enemies. Strangers and estranged. Unresponsive and uncaring. That’s a great sacrifice,
(4) The plan of salvation. It is simple and unelaborated. Easy to understand. Accessible. And attainable. Jesus calls on us to believe on Him. Repent of our sins. Confess our allegiance to Him. And be baptized for the remission of our sins. (Mk. 16:16; Matt 10:32; Ax. 2:38). What a great plan!
(5) The hope of heaven. The Hebrew writer warned, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward (10:35). Our hope and reward is eternal life (Titus 1:2). It’s a place prepared for us in heaven. A home with no tears. No sorrow. No sickness. No pain. No dying. No separation. That’s a great hope!
Yet, surprisingly some were in danger of drifting away. How? Why? And to what?
Drifting is gradual. Unintentional. Unnoticed. But when we fail to pay attention to the important things we life, we can drift. The pleasures of this world can divert our attention. Possessions. Position. Prestige. And power can captivate our interest, cause us to lose focus and drift away.
No one gets up one morning and suddenly says, “I quit. I resign from being a Christian.” It just happens without us ever realizing how far we’ve strayed away. So, we must “take heed.” Are we engaged in daily Bible reading? Personal prayer? Weekly worship? Devoted discipleship? Spiritual fellowship? And mutual ministry? If not, we will sooner or later drift away.
But’s here’s the haunting question. How shall we escape?
“The day of the Lord that will come as a thief in the night” (2 Pet 3:10). When He comes again, how will you escape?
The day of judgment when each must give account of their earthly deeds. (2 Cor 5:10). Where will you run? Where will you hide? How will you escape?
God’s punishment on the unbeliever, the erring, and the unrighteous (Heb 10:26; 2 Thess 1:7-9). How will you escape?
Don’t neglect the great salvation. Don’t allow yourself to drift away. Pay attention. Take heed.
If you neglect the great salvation, how will you escape?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman