Beyond the Apostle Paul

Beyond the Apostle Paul

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
–Hebrews 2:1

The apostle Paul, the apostle Peter, and even Jesus Himself taught that not all roads lead to heaven. Different religions are not simply different paths up the same mountain of truth that lead to God. There is one way to be saved. Today I want to look at the writer of the book of Hebrews.

We don’t know who wrote the book of Hebrews, but we know this letter was written to Jewish people who had recently converted to Christianity. They had placed their faith in Jesus Christ, but because of pressure from family and friends, they were thinking about giving up their Christian beliefs and going back into Judaism. This book was written as a warning to them. The writer was saying, “Why would you give up Christianity to go back to an inferior belief system?” He showed that Christianity is superior to Judaism. What makes Christianity superior? First, Christianity has a superior priest–Jesus Christ. Judaism has human priests who sinned and had to make sacrifices for their own sin, but Jesus is the perfect high priest. Second, Christianity offers a superior sacrifice. Judaism offered the blood of animals, but Jesus Christ offered the sacrifice of Himself. Third, Christianity offers a superior salvation. In Judaism, the sacrifices had to be offered over and over again, but Jesus Christ offered the superior sacrifice that obtained eternal redemption. Why would you give up something superior for an inferior religion?

Today the writer of Hebrews would be called a bigot. He would be called intolerant for suggesting that Christianity is superior to any religion, especially Judaism. But over and over again the writer warned that a dire future awaits those who abandon Christianity for any other belief system. Look at his warning in Hebrews 2:1: “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” The writer used two nautical terms in this verse to make his point. “Pay closer attention” is a translation of a Greek word that refers to tying up a boat to its mooring so it will stay in place. He was saying if you don’t want to keep drifting further away from God and spend eternity separated from Him, you must tie up to the gospel of Jesus Christ. What happens if you don’t? The second phrase, “so that we do not drift away,” refers to a ship that through the inattention of its sailors accidentally drifted by the harbor. The sailors wanted to get home safely, but because they were caught up in other things, they neglected the narrow passageway that led to safety. The writer was saying you and I need to pay close attention to the gospel lest we neglect to take advantage of it and drift past it. If you reject the gospel that Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved, or if you simply neglect it, exactly what is your plan to get to heaven one day? The consistent teaching of Paul, Peter, the writer of Hebrews, and most importantly Jesus Christ was this: there is no other harbor that leads to safety except through faith in Jesus Christ.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The World’s Most Famous Jew Who Found Jesus” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.