Pay Closer Attention!
Hebrews 2:1 ESV
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”
We who say we believe in Jesus Christ, who claim him as our Lord and Savior, who have heard the message of the gospel taught, and who have received it and our Lord by faith, are the ones here who must pay closer attention to what we have heard (or what we should have heard).
So, how do we do that? One way is to read the Scriptures, particularly the New Testament, one book and one verse at a time so that we get the context of what we have heard. For, taken out of context, we may have heard some things the wrong way.
Also, we need to be reading the Scriptures for ourselves every day, letting the Holy Spirit speak his truths to our hearts. We need to have ears to hear what he wants to say to us, and we must be open to receive from him the lessons he would have for us to learn.
And then we must be those who put the word of God into practice in our daily lives, and who do not resist the Spirit because we don’t like the message he is giving us. We must surrender all to our Lord and let him direct us in the path that he has for us to travel.
And what is that path? It is the way of the cross of Christ. It is the gospel of our salvation. It is the way of holiness, godliness, and righteousness and not the way of sin and selfishness. It involves us dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ and to his righteousness one day at a time, in his power.
It means that every day we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ to do his will for that day. We submit ourselves to his Lordship over our lives. We forsake our sins, we resist the devil, and we walk in obedience to his commands, empowered by God’s Spirit who lives within us.
For, the gospel message teaches us that Jesus Christ died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. It teaches us that we are to forsake our sins, be transformed in heart and mind, and to put our faith into practice in our daily lives via walks of obedience to our Lord.
So, if we pay closer attention to that, it means we will ever be more vigilant in not only being in the Word of God daily, and listening to what it teaches us, but in doing what it says. For, if we don’t pay closer attention to the gospel, but we lose sight of what it teaches us, we are in danger of drifting.
And if we drift away from it, it means we flow past it, we fall away from it. We go past our destination because we weren’t paying attention to where we are supposed to be going. This may be a temporary lapse, then we repent, and then we get on the path again, or it may be a permanent fall if we never repent and if we never return to walking with our Lord again.
How Shall We Escape?
Hebrews 2:2-3 ESV
“For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”
When God delivered his people out of slavery in Egypt, and he took them on the way to the promised land, via the wilderness, he gave them very specific laws (instructions, commands) that they were to follow. Many of them resisted his commands, though, and they repeatedly did what they were commanded not to do, in God’s face, in willful defiance against the Lord.
The Lord was extremely patient with them, though. He endured their disobedience and their idolatry for some time before he punished many of them. For, they willfully worshiped idols, engaged in sexual immorality, put the Lord to the test, and grumbled and complained against God and Moses.
And the Scriptures teach us that these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did, and they were destroyed. And these things were recorded for us for our instruction so that we don’t follow in the same path they did and end up falling beyond recovery.
Also, we are warned that if we hear the Lord’s voice speaking to us, telling us what we need to do or not do, we are not to harden our hearts as they did in the rebellion in the wilderness, who then went astray from the Lord, and who then died and did not get to enter the Lord’s eternal rest.
And we are warned to take heart lest there be in any of us an unbelieving heart, leading us to fall away from God. For the Lord couples disobedience with unbelief, and it is unbelief that condemns us to hell. For, if we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, and in sin, we will not inherit eternal life with God. We will die in our sins.
Therefore, Strive to Enter
Hebrews 4:11-13 ESV
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
If there is one thing I know for certain it is that our salvation is not just forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life with God. It is deliverance from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we now become slaves of God and of his righteousness.
I also know that we must walk (in conduct) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, we must by the Spirit be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we must be walking in obedience to our Lord in doing what he says to do, submitting to his Lordship over our lives.
And I know that if we choose not to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, and if we refuse to obey his commands (New Covenant), and if we choose to continue in habitual, deliberate, and premediated sin against God, we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God.
For, we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (like the children of Israel who disobeyed the Lord). But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life, which is not guaranteed to all who profess faith in Jesus Christ but to all who are living the faith that they profess, by God’s Spirit.
[1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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