Because of Their Hardened Hearts

Hebrews 3:7-11 ESV

“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.”’”

The children of Israel had been in slavery in Egypt a very long time. God sent Moses to tell Pharoah to let God’s people go. Pharaoh refused so God sent numerous plagues, the last of which was the death of all the firstborn in Egypt. After that Pharaoh did let the people go, but then he had regrets and so he went with his army to go after the Israelites, but he and his army drowned in the Red Sea which God had let the children of Israel cross over on dry land (see Exodus 11-14).

Following this the children of Israel went into the wilderness where they remained for forty years. And it was there that many of them hardened their hearts and rebelled against the Lord and they put God to the test. And with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Some of them were idolaters and revelers. Some of them engaged in sexual immorality. And some of them grumbled against God. And many of them were destroyed because of their rebellion (see 1 Co 10).

But these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. We are not to be idolaters and revelers and sexually immoral and grumblers against God and those who put God to the test. Therefore, we are to take heed if we think we stand lest we fall. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Co 10:13).

But this isn’t just good counsel here that we should not do the things that they did, but this also serves as a stern warning to us lest we should follow the same path that they did, for it lets us know that it will not end well for us like it did not for most of them. Not only were many of them put to death in the wilderness because of their hardened and stubborn hearts and their sinful rebellion against the Lord, but they also did not enter into God’s eternal rest, and neither will we if we follow their patterns of behavior.

Hebrews 3:12-15 ESV

“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.’”

So many people have the mistaken idea that if they just “pray the prayer” or make a public and verbal confession of Christ as Lord that they are now saved for eternity regardless of how they live their lives on this earth. But the Scriptures teach that we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin and we must be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

We must no longer live like we did before we believed in Jesus. Sin is to no longer have mastery over our lives to make us obey its sinful desires. For if we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. But we will face the wrath of God, instead, because we refused to submit to Christ as Lord and to forsake our lives of sin and to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands.

So, what I am doing here, this is what we are all to be doing, not necessarily in writing or full-time, but we are all to be exhorting one another to not walk in sin but to walk in righteousness and holiness. And we are all to be warning one another of the consequences of making sin our practice and of not making righteousness and obedience to our Lord our practice. We will die in our sins and we will not inherit eternal life with God.

And yes, we will not be popular among the people and many people may hate us and reject us and persecute or just ignore us because we are doing what this says to do in exhorting one another daily so that none of us may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin and fall away from the living God. But if we love those who profess to be our sisters and brothers in Christ we will exhort them because we do not want anyone to end up in hell.

Hebrews 3:16-19 ESV

“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.”

Now this is another thing that we need to understand, for many people are not teaching this who claim to be teachers and preachers of the gospel. Faith in Jesus Christ is not some intellectual assent to who Jesus is and was and to what he did for us in dying for our sins and being resurrected from the dead. And it is not a one-time emotional decision we make at an altar after being emotionally manipulated to do so by a preacher.

Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith. Faith is gifted to us by God, and it is not of ourselves. It is not of our own doing. We can’t make up our own gospel to suit our lifestyles, though many do. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to Christ, i.e. unless he persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness and of our need to repent of our sin and to walk in obedience to Christ.

And faith is obedience and obedience is faith and disobedience is unbelief. When we choose to go our own way and to live however we want and we rebel against the Lord and so we continue in deliberate and habitual sin and we do not walk in righteousness, and we do not obey our Lord, then we don’t have eternal life with God regardless of what we have professed with our lips or believed that we believed in our hearts.

Jesus said if we want to come after him that we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living in sin and for self) that we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with him to sin), then we have eternal life. And he said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of heaven but only the ones DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. So, please take this to heart.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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