Intro: The Bible is essential for God’s people, because the Holy Spirit moves upon the Word to bring a greater understanding of the truth found within its lessons about faith. Although the author of the letters to the Hebrews is not clearly identified, this disciple of Christ is certainly writing to Hebrew Christians or believers who are seeking to walk by faith with God. These writings come during a time of great persecution for the believers, so the first chapters are written to share the gospel [Good News] of faith and encourage the readers to hold fast to the teachings or revelation of Christ. Otherwise, they will drift away from the truth and into deception.
If God announces He is sending Good News into the world, then we must face the reality and existing presence of undesirable situations or bad news. Good News is sent to overcome the bad news. The bad news is humanity is guilty of sin against God’s holy commands; the punishment is death. However, because of his great love God has chosen to send his Son—Jesus—to pay the penalty for our sin. Jesus took God’s judgment against our sin when he died on the cross. Faith calls us to place our sins upon the cross of Christ, so we can be forgiven and saved from the penalty of death and separation from God.
According to Scripture, there are two deaths: physical death “first death” and eternal death or “second death.” The Holy Spirit raised Christ from the first death to live eternal life with Father God. When Christ returns for His Church [rapture/taking believers to heaven], the living believers on earth at that time—those who trust in his substitutionary sacrifice for our sins—there will be no first or second death [Good News of eternal life]. At that time, Christ will also raise the bodies of believers who experienced the first death, but will enjoy eternal life and never experience the second death [again Good News]. When all the believers have been taken to heaven, for those on earth who have rejected Christ’s sacrifice, they will have a window of time and opportunity [in the midst of intense tribulation/suffering] to believe or they will face the first and second death [the bad news with no hope for salvation]. Now, is the time to believe and accept the work of Christ on the cross.
We, too, need to hold onto this gospel of grace and encourage one another: Christ came to provide forgiveness of sin to all who will believe and receive the promise and miracle of eternal life with God. While we wait, we hold fast to the Holy Spirit who helps us faithfully stay the course in accomplishing God’s purpose to redeemed and save a world of sinners. Please tell someone today about the love of God found in Jesus our Savior.
Hebrews 2:1-4 NLT A Warning against Drifting Away
1 So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. 2 For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. 3 So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? 4 And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the sacrifice of your life for my sin and for the gifts and work of the Holy Spirit who brings new eternal life to me. Keep my heart attuned to your gospel of grace; please don’t let me drift to the right or to the left of your perfect plumb line of truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.