Permit me to say that there are so many in the Church today who are not saved; there are many who are convinced about the message of the Gospel but have not committed to what they know; there are also many who think they are saved because they attend Church services without fail. Just because you sleep in a garage, doesn’t mean that your status as a human being has changed and you’ve become a car. In other words, the fact that you go to church does not automatically mean that you are a Christian or Born Again child of God.
Just like the Israelites had various opportunities by the many things God did (a way to learn from God and know Him) so that they can yield to Him by believing Him, an opportunity is also presented to mankind today, in the person of Jesus and His finished work at Calvary through the vehicle of the Gospel (Good News) only. This is the comparison: they had Moses in the Old Testament preaching and teaching them the ways of God; we have the preachers and teachers sent to us today so that when they preach or teach us the message of the Gospel, there would be an opportunity made available by God so that we can respond beyond hearing and understanding the message.
This was the problem the writer of Hebrews presented when he penned down what he observed as an impediment to many who sat on the fence or many who were not saved at that time. Many of these things have been written in the Good Book so that many if not all can learn and follow after the examples and make the requisite adjustments we need to make.
According to him (the writer of the Book of Hebrews) there is just one message at which anyone can be saved; it is the message of the Gospel and any other message is no more that message but another gospel. Apostle Paul called our attention to the fact that if any should preach another gospel separate from the real one, the person ought to be cursed. Today in our churches, we see that so many other messages are being peddled in the name of the real Gospel. Of course they give excuses of trying to reach this present generation because there has been a change in culture, technology and the many other justifications/defenses they give.
An example of such is that we use peoples vulnerability to bring them to the church building, when we find out that people have a need, we tell them that God can meet their needs and when we call them out we ask them to give their lives to God and by that we claim that such people are saved and their sins forgiven. What this means is that, when we find some other people who don’t have needs, their hope of getting saved is lost because there is nothing to lure them to the church building. “Come and give your life to Jesus before God meets your need” is definitely not the message we have been sent to proclaim.
The writer in this part of the book stressed that there must be someone proclaiming the Gospel (the real one) and there must be people listening to him. What the preacher or teacher is proclaiming should be seen as God speaking His Word so that we can gravitate from hearing into making a decision to opt for Him so that eventually, we can be saved. Anything short of this real message is no more a message from God but from somewhere else. According to this writer of Hebrews, there is something wrong somewhere ranging from the message proclaimed till when people make a decision to believe or not to believe.
Three things can be wrong or held responsible as to why we don’t have people positively responding to the message we proclaim.
First, there must be the correct message. Apostle Paul declared that in the Gospel resides the power of God that brings Salvation. For people to hear the Gospel, there must be a sent one by God who will announce or proclaim the good news. Any other message proclaimed is definitely not a message from God and His power cannot be made available for Salvation. To proclaim the Gospel therefore, one must be sent by God with a complete understanding of what Jesus came to do coupled with the gift of preaching or teaching.
There are so many messages been proclaimed or peddled today in the name of the “message of the Gospel.” The Gospel again is not the message of healing or the message of prosperity. It is not a trick or the things we do to lure people to be saved. It is the message of Jesus and what He came to accomplish on earth before He ascended to the right hand of the Father. When our messages don’t reflect this alone, we are proclaiming the wrong message. The message of the Gospel must be centered on just Him (Jesus).
Secondly, Apostle Paul also stressed on the need to hear the proclaimed Gospel. There must be people who will hear the message; not only must they hear, they must also understand what they heard. Understanding will then be the tool to help the hearer to make up their mind whether to respond positively or not. Jesus said it’s not the hearer that would be justified but the doer. It goes beyond hearing and understanding the message heard. To hear the message of the Gospel is to listen and pay attention to what is being said or taught.
Finally, it is not enough to hear and understand the message being proclaimed or taught by the sent one from God. It is sufficient to commit to what has been heard, to believe or not believe in what has been heard. You can hear and understand something does not translate to whether you believe in what you heard or not. To get to that place where the Gospel saves you is to get to that avenue where you believe in what the message portrays.
This was the problem that some of the people in his (the writer of Book of Hebrews) audience had. They all heard the message and yet through the message heard, there was a division: some got saved, some refused to commit and some did not hear the message. The ones who heard and committed to the message, the writer placed them as the ones the Gospel profited, while the others were said to have not profited from the message of the Gospel they heard. Something was common to the groups; they heard the message proclaimed.
The writer gave a reason for the non-profit of the message that was preached; the message heard was not MIXED WITH FAITH. They could not profit from the message, not because there was something wrong with the language spoken, or that the people did not hear the proclaimed message, or there was something wrong with the content of the message but that the people who heard the message did not believe in what they heard. Hearing alone is of little value as undigested food in a bad stomach. Not only must the right message be taught or preached, the people hearing must hear and understand; there must be obedience to what the message conveys. The Israelites could not enter into God’s rest because they did not obey what they heard.
Therefore, to have FAITH that produces Salvation, one must hear the correct message of the Gospel (Jesus centered message), understand what was being proclaimed and then obey what the message (Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved) says.
C.H Spurgeon knocked it home when he said, “Faith is the channel of Salvation, not the fountain and source of it.”