Your new family and your new name
Building on what he established last time…that Christ is superior in both name (identity) and message, the author tells his readers:
We must therefore pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. For if the [previous] message spoken through angels was legally binding, and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
Greater value requires greater care. We know this from our own lives – when something is of great value to us, we handle it differently then something we consider common or of low value.
Since Christ’s message is superior to all previous messages, even the ones delivered by angels, we are encouraged to give it the elevated level of attention it deserves. The previous covenant between God and Israel contained severe punishments for Israel whenever they deviated and disobeyed either individually (they were excluded from the community, some received the death penalty) or disobeyed as a nation (they were inflicted with plagues, experienced military defeat, and even mass deportation from their homeland). How much more serious will God be when those within the new covenant drift away and treat Christ’s message as something common or of low value?
But Christ’s superior message is more than a contract between two different parties:
For the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers
When an adoption occurs, the child enters the family and receives a new last name. Therefore you share a last name with the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of [God’s] being (Hebrews 1:3).
You now belong to the “Holy” family. Your brother is Jesus Holy. As an example, instead of being Ken Clouser, my name has become Ken Holy.
Put your name in there. Let it sink in. Try saying it out loud.
How did you feel saying that?
If we paid more careful attention to this, I don’t believe we would drift away.