Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy. — George Carlin
Sometimes the difference between best and second best is obvious. Other times we’re choosing between two good things—like taking a new job with a raise or staying put in a solid community. Sometimes we just choose what’s best in the moment—like ignoring the ding of your phone during dinnertime conversation. Usually we know what’s best. But even then, second best can get the best of us.
The early church struggled too. They had two messages that were vying for their attention. They had the Law, honored as the core of Jewish faith for centuries. And they had the Gospel, an ushering in of grace and acceptance for the new era of God’s Kingdom.
Into this struggle the author of Hebrews wrote these words:
For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? (Hebrews 2:2-3a)
Jewish tradition believed that Mosaic Law was given to Moses by angels. But even more important, everyone knew the Law was binding. Disobedience led to consequence. Every violation received just punishment—either social or physical death.
Then came the Gospel. The Gospel was from Jesus, not angels. Because Jesus was supreme in every way, His supremacy spilled over into His message. To ignore the Gospel is to face a different set of consequences. Rather than physical death, the consequence is spiritual death and separation from God.
It’s a greater message with a greater consequence.
The choice then is our choice now. Next to the Gospel, every message is a lesser message, and there is no escape from making a choice.
What’s more, why would anyone ignore the greater message with the greater reward? For where there is grace and acceptance, there is Life.
Word of God, so many philosophies vie for my attention, inviting me to pick and choose what I like so I can create my own way. But I don’t want anything less than You. Give me clarity to reject second best, and increase my faith so I follow the greatest message with singularity. Amen.
Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the Telling the Truth broadcast at OnePlace.com