Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For…how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? (Hebrews 2:1-3a ESV)
In this passage, we are given a strong warning about a grave danger for believers: the danger of slow-drifting from the sanctifying effect of regular gospel belief/preaching. The words “drift” and “neglect” describe the problem in terms of spiritual laziness, distraction, misplaced priorities, and lack of diligence in keeping Christ and the gospel in first place. Like a small boat on the ocean, the current of sin and this world pulls us away from Christ, the gospel and the church – faster and farther than we realize – until we are gone… Outside of Jesus, only judgment remains.
The passage gives us not only the danger, but also the remedy. The call is to “pay much closer attention” to the gospel. We need the constant rhythm of the preached gospel washing over us over a lifetime. We are strengthened and matured and enabled to endure to the end through the means of continually hearing and believing the gospel (Rom 1:16; 10:17; 16:25). We need this continual gospel proclamation in our own walk with the Lord as we set the gospel before our own eyes/heart (Deut 6:4-6). We need it in our family as we continue to proclaim Christ to one another in the daily life of the home (Deut 6:7-8). And we need this in the community of the local church, where we commit ourselves to faithfulness in the gatherings, both to hear the regular preached word and to remind our brothers and sisters continually of the gospel (Heb 3:13; 10:24-25). The idea is to endure to the end in faithfulness to Christ, through the enabling power of the Spirit at work in the word.
Drifting through neglect is a danger to all believers, but particularly for men, who are called by God to lead in our families and in the church. We must realize that while we wait for Christ to return we are at war with sin, the world and the devil. We cannot afford to coast, fall asleep, become distracted with other things, or simply quit fighting. God created men to have strength and live for glorious things. The enemies of God attack this call for men, seeking to “declaw” men and render us sleep-walking zombies who are passive in the things of God and the fight of faith. This began with the very first man! Adam was passive as he watched the devil lure his wife away into sin, finally joining her in it. He allowed those under his care – those he was responsible for before God – to fall (Gen 3:6, 9; Rom 5:12, 18a).
A Call for Faithful Men in the Church (2 Timothy 2:1-13)
Christ restores the glory that was lost in man’s fall into sin. The world attempts to render men ineffective, spiritually weak and of no eternal significance. But Christ became a Man and, through his death and resurrection for us, undoes the power of sin and death. Men who are brought to faith in Christ through the gospel are increasingly enabled to walk as men of God, with the power of the Holy Spirit and the encouragement of one another in the church community.
At the end of the Apostle Paul’s life, as he was in prison awaiting his death, he wrote his final letter to Timothy. In 2 Timothy chapter two, Paul called Timothy to be strong in the grace of Christ. And he instructed him to pass the gospel on to other men, who will teach others in the church. Christ wants to raise up men in the church.
These men should have the mindset of battle – ready to suffer, fight, and be inconvenienced for the Lord Jesus and his mission (2:3). Paul gives examples from the world of military, sports and farming to call men to rise up in strong servant-leadership in the church (2:4-6).
The Lord is with us as we stand for him and pour out our lives for his glory in the church. By his grace, through the gospel, let us be men who endure in the faith to the end!