Hold Fast to the Word

The first literary section of Hebrews concludes with an exhortation and ominous warning. Any disciple of Jesus who fails to heed the far “better word” that God is now speaking in His Son will suffer an even “sorer punishment” than the rebellious Israelites received when they disobeyed the Mosaic Law. The Torah was delivered to Moses by angels. Nevertheless, it was God’s word, and therefore, lawbreakers were punished severely.

Through His “Son,” God now speaks His word directly to His people. To disobey or even neglect this “word” is to commit a trespass of the worst sort, and the severity of the resulting punishment is unimaginable.

Bible Study - Photo by Aaron Owens on Unsplash
[Photo by Aaron Owens on Unsplash]

The Letter warns believers not to allow themselves to “
drift away” from the definitive “word” that God has provided in His Son.

  • FOR THIS CAUSE, it behooves us to more abundantly be giving heed to the things that have been heard, lest at any time we drift away. For if the word through angels spoken became firm and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if so great a salvation as this we have neglected, which, indeed, having received a beginning of being spoken through the Lord, by them who heard to us was confirmed, God jointly witnessing also both with signs and wonders and manifold mighty works, and with distributions of Holy Spirit, according to his own will?” - (Hebrews 2:1-4) – (The Emphasized Bible).

The Greek verb translated as “drift away” suggests a gradual process of departing from the “word,” not a sudden decision to abandon Jesus, perhaps as the result of the “deceitfulness of sin.” It is a nautical term, and the image is that of a ship that begins to float away after being loosed from its anchor.

Fortunately, the Letter tells us how to avoid this condition – By “more abundantly giving heed to the things that have been heard.” Here, the Greek verb translated as “giving heed” is in the present tense. It represents an action in progress. This is something that we as believers must do constantly, a daily routine that we neglect at our peril.

In the context of the Letter, the Word that was first “heard” is, in the first place, the “word” spoken by God “IN A SON.” We must cling to the word of “salvation” that was first “spoken” through Jesus. It was then proclaimed by “those who heard”; namely, THE APOSTLES, and God Himself attested to its validity with “signs and wonders,” and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of such supernatural acts was not to overawe men and women or to become the foundation of their faith, but to “confirm” that the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles represented the true words of God.

Thus, the Assembly is summoned daily to heed the teachings of the APOSTOLIC TRADITION that have been handed down to subsequent generations of believers.

ONGOING EXHORTATION


This exhortation occurs several times in the Letter. For example, believers should fear lest they fail to “enter into his rest.” They have no excuse since they heard “the Gospel preached to them.” Ancient Israel failed because, though the nation heard the word, it did not “profit them since the things heard were not blended with faith” – (Hebrews 4:1-2).

We must be careful lest we “excuse ourselves from him that is speaking,” and here, “speaking” represents another Greek verb in the present tense, an action that is in progress. God has spoken this word “in a Son,” and He is STILL SPEAKING IT whenever the Apostolic teachings are taught.

If the Israelites who heard the word mediated through angels “escaped not” for their failure to heed God’s Word, how will followers of Jesus avoid punishment if they “turn themselves away from Him who is speaking from heaven” in His Son? Instead, let us be grateful and serve God “with reverence and awe”- (Hebrews 12:25-28).

The Apostle Paul made a similar declaration in his second Letter to the Thessalonians. After warning of the coming Apostasy and the “Man of lawlessness,” he expressed his confidence that the Thessalonians would not be deceived by the coming events since they were “holding fast to the traditions you were taught, whether by word or by an epistle of ours” - (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Rock-solid - Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash
[Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash]

Disciples of Jesus persevere through trials and tribulations by cleaving to the Apostolic Tradition. It is the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles that form the unshakable foundation on which the Body of Christ must stand firm, even when God once again causes not only the “
earth to tremble, but also the heaven. And this word signifies the removal of those things that can be shaken… so that only those things which are not shaken remain.”

That tradition has been preserved in the pages of the Greek New Testament, which explains why so often false teachers and false prophets steer believers away from learning and relying on the Scriptures for their daily sustenance and guidance.



RELATED POSTS:
  • God has Spoken - (God is speaking His definitive word in His Son. All previous words spoken by the prophets were preparatory, promissory, and partial)
  • His Distinguished Name - (Having achieved the Purification of Sins, Jesus sat down and inherited a more distinguished name than the angels; namely, Son)
  • Do Not Drift Away - (The Letter gives dire warnings of the consequences for failing to heed the superior word spoken by God in His Son – Hebrews 1:4-2:7)

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