“But Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“’Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, “They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.”
As I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.” Hebrews 3:6-11 ESV
We who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives are the temple of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s body, his church. We are the house of God in whom God dwells by his Spirit. God no longer dwells in buildings built by human hands, but he lives in us who believe on his name. So, a building is not a church. We are! People who believe in Jesus are the church.
But, what does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ? Well, the word “faith” means “divine persuasion.” And, we read in Ephesians 2:8-10 that this faith is gifted to us by God. So, if gifted by God and if divinely persuaded, then this faith submits to Christ and to his righteousness and holiness. But, this faith is also present tense, not past tense, and it is enduring, and it holds fast to the confidence we have in Christ to the very end.
And, what is that confidence? According to scripture it is that if, by faith in Jesus Christ, we walk (in practice) according to the Spirit of God, and not according to our sinful flesh, we have the hope of eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-24; Gal. 6:7-8; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
And, that is why we are being warned here to be careful that we don’t harden our hearts to God’s voice in rebellion against him. We are not to be like those who made a profession of faith in God, but whose actions spoke the opposite. They said that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was their God, and yet they worshipped other gods, and they did not follow in the ways of God, but they rebelled against him, and they did what their evil hearts desired. Thus, they did not enter into God’s eternal rest. For, they were “restless.”
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said,
“’Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’” Hebrews 3:12-15 ESV
A careful study of the scriptures, in context, leads us to the understanding that our faith in Jesus Christ is not something we do one time, then we are good to go to heaven when we die, no matter how we live our lives while we are still on this earth. Faith in Jesus Christ is present tense, and faith in Jesus Christ submits to Christ as Lord, leaves lifestyles of sin behind us, and follows him in surrender to his will and to obedience to his commands.
[Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 6:35-66; Jn. 10:27-30; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 2 Co. 5:15; 1 Pet. 2:24; Gal. 5:16-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9]
So, again this warning is given to all who profess faith in Jesus Christ. We need to be so careful that we don’t fall away from Christ because we have evil, unbelieving hearts.
But, let me state something here. Some people will interpret this passage of scripture to say that a Christian can lose his salvation via rebellion to the point of falling away never to return again. Others will interpret it to say that the person who falls away never really believed in Jesus Christ to begin with. I am not here to debate that subject with you. I am here to teach you what it means to be “in Christ” and to be saved from our sins.
And, the scriptures don’t teach salvation as a one-time deal that secures us heaven forever regardless of how we live our lives while on this earth. It teaches that we must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. And, it teaches us that we must endure with Christ to the very end of time if we want to have the hope of eternal life with God. And, it teaches a daily cleansing from sin.
So, what we need to focus on is our walk of faith. For, our salvation is not complete until Jesus Christ returns, and it is only those who walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh who are going to inherit eternal life with God. And, it is only those who have such enduring faith to the end of time who are going to enter into God’s eternal kingdom.
So, we need to be encouraging one another in our walks of faith, and we need to be sharing the truth of God’s Word with each other, too, for too many people have this idea that they can “believe” in Jesus Christ and that it does not have to impact how they live their lives. And, we know that just isn’t true. Too many scriptures say it isn’t so!
“For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:16-19 ESV
Ok, so the rebellious were not the people out there in the world. They were those who were following God, in a sense, and who were professers of faith in the one true God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were the religious, at least on the outside. They were the “church goers,” in other words, but they were hypocrites. They are those who profess that their sins have been forgiven and that heaven is their eternal destiny.
So, the rebellious here are not those who know little about God. They are those who have been exposed to the scriptures, who have been taught the truths of God’s Word, and who have been blessed with all sorts of provisions by God, and by good teaching, and they are even among those who are teachers of the scriptures and who are pastors and elders in churches.
But, no matter how religious we are, or how much scripture we know, or we think that we know, and no matter how many good deeds we perform, or how many church gatherings we attend, or how much we give to the church, etc., if we rebel against God, and we refuse to walk in obedience to him, and we continue to go our own way, and to do our own thing, then we will not inherit eternal life with God, no matter what we professed with our lips.
And, the reason for this is that God sees walking (living in) disobedience to him as unbelief, even under the New Covenant Relationship he has with his followers. For, true faith in Jesus Christ walks (in lifestyle, in practice) according to the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we are going to die in our sins, for we are all going to reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7-8). So, don’t take this lightly.
Enter into God’s eternal rest today by forsaking your lifestyle of living to sin and self and by surrendering your life to Jesus Christ to follow him in his ways, and to do what he says (Tit. 2:11-14; Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6:1-23).
My Heart’s Desire
An Original Work / June 29, 2013
Based off Rm. 10; Lu. 9:23-26; Ep. 4:20-24
Loved Ones, Oh, my heart’s desire
Is that you might come to Jesus.
Many appear zealous for God,
But they do not trust in Him.
They have not submitted to the One
Who saved them from their sins;
Not forsaken their sins,
Nor have they obeyed their King.
The word of the Lord is near you:
The word of faith we’re proclaiming:
That you must confess your faith
In Jesus as your Lord and King:
Believe in Him as your Lord,
And follow Him where’er He leads.
Share the gospel; be a witness,
And meet others’ needs.
Beautiful are the feet of those
Who bring the good news of Jesus:
Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself today;
Die to sin and self, and
Let the Spirit transform you in heart;
Put on your new self in Jesus,
Yielding to the cross.