What are the Consequences of Neglecting the Gospel?
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
- Hebrews 2:1-4, ESV
When children learn how to play baseball, the most basic instruction is the most important: Keep your eye on the ball. Children are naturally prone to either close their eyes or start looking at the field where they want to hit the ball before they make contact and follow through with their swing. Keeping your eye on the ball is the best and only way to safely hit. Of course, the advice also applies in basketball and football, and even in living out the Gospel.
Very often, Christians can grow distracted and wonder what they're missing. We talked about our tendency to be overly fascinated with angels last time. Other topics can easily distract us: secret prayer methods, hidden Bible codes, end-times prophecy predictions, trends in worship music, etc. Of course, sometimes we're distracted by completely unspiritual things: sports, celebrity gossip, politics, entertainment, etc.
If you take your eye off the ball when trying to hit a baseball, you'll strike out. What are the consequences of taking your eye off the Gospel in the Christian life? Drifting away. In our spiritual lives, we never just stand still. We're either focused on Jesus and the Gospel and growing in Christ, or else we're distracted by something else and drifting away from Christ.
What's so bad about drifting away? Everything! Hebrews warns us: We cannot expect to escape judgment if we neglect so great a salvation.
God has given us every reason to pay attention to the Gospel:
- The Lord Himself came in the flesh to proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel of the kingdom, the message of salvation.
- Then, the eye-witnesses of the Lord's earthly ministry, life, death and resurrection went out and spread their testimony, which we have written down in the Bible.
- God has also poured out His Holy Spirit, who has drawn our hearts to Christ and has gifted the church for ministry, witness and service.
Those who have come to know Jesus know how wonderful He is. They never grow tired of meditating on the greatness of His person, His work and His promises. "Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it."