Hebrews 2:1-4

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away, for if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gift of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

We have seen how the writer of Hebrews has placed a strong emphasis on the superiority of Jesus and his revelation of God to man. The reason for this is to stress that those who have experienced salvation through Jesus must not be careless about the commitment to Christ Jesus that it requires.

The word here for “drift away” in the Greek is “pararreo.” It has nautical overtones and can be used of a ship which has been carelessly allowed to slip past a harbor or a haven because the mariner has forgotten to allow for the wind or the current or the tide. William Barclay states, “We must the more eagerly anchor our lives to the things that we have been taught lest the ship of life drift past the harbor and be wrecked.”

It is a clear picture of a ship drifting to destruction because the pilot sleeps. The author of Hebrews is warning those of us who believe to not be negligent or apathetic to the salvation we have been given and the commitment to which we have been called. The threat for most of us is not a sudden turn or decision to abandon Christ, but a slow drift, unnoticed as distractions and trials tempt to keep our attention. There are few people who would deliberately, and in a moment, turn their backs on God; but there are many who day by day drift farther and farther away from him.

1 Peter 5:8 warns, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” There is no neutral zone. There is no middle ground. We are either moving towards Christ-likeness or away from it. We are either being led by the Spirit or led by the flesh. We are in a battle until Jesus returns. This may sound overwhelming and exhausting, and to be sure, at times it is, but the Gospel writers would not have written with such warfare imagery if they weren’t trying to encourage and prepare us for the fight.

How do we stay alert?

How do we see to it that we do not “drift away” when so much threatens to hinder, discourage and defeat us? The author of Hebrews tells us how: “We must pay more careful attention to what we have heard” (Hebrews 2:1). And what have we heard? Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” We have heard the good news of the Gospel given to us in God’s Word! We can only pay careful attention to what we have heard if we are actually hearing, and we can only hear if we are continually placing ourselves before the Word of God in order to let it speak to us.

What comes after we have heard the Word of God and let it speak to our hearts?  Faith.  This is how we stay alert. This is how we stay steadfast. We walk this journey by faith in the promises we have been given in God’s Word. A man cannot stand against his enemy on sinking ground. Faith furnishes the solid ground by which we stand steadfast in the battle. Faith keeps our eyes on God’s promises and fixes our feet solidly there. A continual abiding in God’s Word and his promises, keeps us alert and safe in the stronghold of his presence where we will stay anchored to the truth and not drift away.

The message we have heard.

The author of Hebrews first mentions the “message spoken by angels.” (Hebrews 2:2). He is referring to the law that was given by God in the Old Testament. But then he goes on to mention a greater message that has since been given which came through Jesus Christ. Because it came through Jesus, the Son of God, it was infinitely greater than the first revelation given in the law of the Old Testament. If they were held strictly to and not to neglect or drift away from the first revelation given in the law, how much more should we pay attention to and not neglect the revelation of salvation that came through Jesus?

Our hope in Jesus is an anchor that keeps us from drifting:

  1. The good news of salvation came directly from Jesus himself. We don’t have to guess or wonder about who God is and what kind of God we serve; it is the very voice of God himself that comes to us through Jesus. We know that we serve a loving and good God because of the sacrifice he gave for us in his Son. When we hold to this message and anchor it deep in our hearts, we will stand on the solid ground of God’s love for us.
  2. The message that we have been saved and redeemed came to us from men who heard it directly from Jesus. This truth comes from men who were directly with Jesus themselves, not second hand. They testified that they had seen and heard it for themselves with their very own eyes. We can trust this message from men who knew it and were willing to die for it.
  3. Salvation through Jesus has the power to change lives. Signs, wonders and miracles accompanied the revelation of God in Jesus. Our commitment to Jesus produces fruit in us that bears witness to the validity of the Gospel message. The real proof of Christianity is the fact that it can change the lives of men!


The busyness and distractions of this life can threaten to claim our attention and cause us to slowly drift without even realizing it as it happens. If God feels far away or distant, could it be that it’s not because HE moved? It’s easy to get lost in the day to day routines only to look up and find I have drifted. The warning from the author of Hebrews is urgent and real. The drifting ship, if not anchored, will ultimately be destroyed. The salvation that Jesus offers is a free gift, but once we have received our salvation, we must choose daily to keep ourselves in the place of abiding, in a place where we are anchored in him, receiving of him and being fed from him. This takes a conscious effort on our part to continually lay ourselves at his feet, feed from his Word, and hold fast to what we believe against all that would keep us from it.