Vol.X No.VIII Pg.3
October 1973

Lest We Drift

Dan S. Shipley

Even when it may seem otherwise, the transition from faithfulness to complete apostasy is usually a deceptively gradual process— one the Bible likens unto drifting (Heb. 2:l). Because drifting is deceptive and because it is something to which every Christian is susceptible, the need for warnings and self-examination in this area are matters of continuing urgency. We are made to wonder how many apostates could have been saved had they been warned earlier— or had they taken an honestly critical look at themselves sooner. In drifting, as in some dread diseases, by the time the true condition becomes apparent it is almost too late to do anything about it. That means constant heedfulness is a must among those who consider themselves faithful, lest they fall (1 Cor. 10:12). It also means trying and proving ourselves, whether we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). To be sure, most of us know of others who would do well to take heed, but unless we see self as having the need to heed, we are most vulnerable— and may even already be drifting.

In this connection, think of our giant airliners that fly over great distances. Why are they staffed with navigators who continually check their charts and instruments? —even when they may think theyre on course? To make sure they keep on course so as to arrive at the right destination! They know they could drift, and if they do, they want to know it and to correct it as soon as possible. Here, neglect can be disastrous. How much more so for those seeking a heavenly destination where souls are at stake? Knowing that we could drift from the faith, we should want to know when were getting off course. Those who want to be right want to know when they are wrong! . .he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God. (Jn. 3:21) Such an attitude is essential to staying on course and avoiding the perils of drifting. So, the discovery of drifting in our lives, whether it be through being warned or through introspection, ought to be appreciated and corrected as soon as possible.

Above all though, we must see the great sin of the drifter as being that of neglect. It becomes the raft upon which the sincere and well intentioned drift away from God and truth. It is why men who know better dont do better (Jas. 4:17). The word itself means to be careless of (Vine). It begins with a careless attitude toward some of the things that were heard in the gospel. If continued, it manifests less respect for more truth and worse, for its author. Not only does the drifter forfeit his fellowship with Christ (2 Jn. 9), he finally trods Him under foot (Heb. 10:29). Not that he intended to; he had intentions— only he neglected and drifted. Surely such neglect, more than most other sins, causes men to crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame (Heb. 6:7).

Even when drifters and their brethren treat their neglect lightly, God sees it as sin in which the great salvation is slighted— at the cost of awful and inescapable consequences (Heb. 2:2,3).