There is an interesting connection between Hebrews 13:8 and 13:9 that is not immediately evident. There are no explicit words that connect the two: no “therefore” or “in order that” or “because of.” So let’s look briefly at the two verses to see how they relate and what we can learn from them.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them” (Hebrews 13:8-9).
You may recall that earlier in Hebrews 5:11-14 the author of this epistle rebuked his audience for their immaturity in matters of Christian doctrine. Hebrews 13:9 is yet additional evidence that doctrinal instability was a disheartening reality among these believers. Hence the admonition that they put an end to the influence of false teaching. Literally he says, “do not go on being led astray,” the implication being that they are to call a halt to what is already taking place.
He refers to this false teaching as “diverse”, meaning that it was varied and multi-faceted, possibly one reason why they found it so appealing. It was also “strange” or alien to and incompatible with the teaching about Christ.
Some people are instinctively drawn to a wide diversity of doctrines that are strange to the faith. They love the novelty of hearing and then spreading something altogether different. Many of the successful TV “teachers” build their following on the foundation of novel ideas never before seen or heard in the history of the church. Unstable believers are often drawn to this.
So his point is that you must avoid all such multiple deviant doctrines that compete for your belief and trust. There is only one Jesus and one gospel about him. Truth about Christ doesn’t change, because Christ doesn’t change.
Paul warns in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). If ever that prophecy was fulfilled it is in our day. Not everyone who visits my church here in Oklahoma City likes what they hear. They have an aversion to the truth. It makes them uncomfortable. They would rather that I only say things that are soothing to the soul and as inoffensive as possible. Well, I never try to be offensive for its own sake, but that’s what truth sometimes does. And there is no more soul-soothing medicine for the soul than the truth of God’s Word.
So be vigilant and alert for yourself and your family and your children that what you hear is true. Don’t be infatuated with novelties in the church. Don’t go running after the latest theological fad. Don’t be driven here and there by every wind of doctrine. Never forget that the Christ who is the center and essence of all truth is unchanging. Nothing in God’s Word about Jesus and what he has done for you needs to be reshaped or reconfigured or adapted to our culture.
What was once true about Jesus will always be true about Jesus. You don’t need some clever recreation or refashioning of biblical truth about Jesus. He and the truth about him is the same yesterday, today, and forever!