Tuesday, February 21, 2017

HEBREWS 3:12-13

"Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil,
unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.
But encourage one another day after day,
as long as long as it is still called 'Today,' 
so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."

"Take care, brethren,
lest there be in any of you..."

This lumps us right along with these Jewish Hebrews who were written to in this book of the Bible, so...
"Take warning by those disobedient Israelites...Ye have been brought from the bondage of sin, and have a most gracious promise of an everlasting inheritance among the saints in light; through unbelief and disobedience they lost their rest, through the same ye may lose yours.  An evil heart of unbelief will lead away from the living God.  What was possible in their case, is possible in yours."
(Adam Clarke)

Why is it that it is so hard to learn from another's bad example?  We think we are better, stronger than others, invincible so that we will not fall into error.  But what trips us up?  It is better when you trip, to catch yourself before falling.  Right?  Yes, I've had those embarrassing moments too.  In 9th grade while waiting in line standing on stairs, I tripped, turned my ankle and fell into the arms of the cutest boy whom I had a crush on.  Oh my.  That was a painful experience as it was viewed by twenty or so others, which being as shy as I was, mortified me.  Can we fall alone?  No.  It always affects others.  Therefore, voila!  Take care brethren...

Adam Clarke goes on to say, "What was possible in their case, is possible in yours.  The apostle shows here five degrees of apostasy:
1.  Consenting to sin, being deceived by its solicitations.
2.  Hardness of heart, through giving way to sin.
3.  Unbelief in consequence of this hardness which leads them to call even the truth of the Gospel into question.
4.  This unbelief causing them to speak evil of the Gospel, and the provision God has made for the salvation of their souls.
5.  Apostasy itself, or falling off from the living God; and thus extinguishing all the light that was in them, and finally grieving the Spirit of God, so that he takes his flight, and leaves them to a seared conscience and reprobate mind. 
He who begins to give the least way to sin is in danger of final apostasy; the best remedy against this is to get the evil heart removed as one murderer in the house is more to be dreaded than ten without." 

"an evil heart of unbelief"

"Guard against unbelief as we would against an enemy."
(John W. Ritenbaugh)

Gil says in his commentary, "Unbelief was the first sin of man; it...defiles the conscience, hardens the heart, renders the word unprofitable, unfit for duty and makes man unstable; and therefore to be shunned."

Matthew Henry refers to Israel as this, "Her unfaithfulness is most demonstrated in gross idolatry.  Israel simply serves herself, following the whim of the moment, so that she might 'have fun'...lust of her flesh, the lust of her eyes, and the pride of her life.  She rejects her divine Husband as her Ruler...'Sow an act and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny.'...Unbelief (rebellion which is the consequent of it) is the greatest damming sin of the world, especially those who have a revelation of the mind and will of God.  This sin shuts up the heart of God, and shuts up the gate of heaven against them (picture the ark of salvation); it lays them under the wrath and curse of God."

"But exhort one another. daily..."

"But exhort one another daily...The phrase sometimes rendered 'comfort one another; or 'yourselves together,; as in which the saints may do, by discoursing together about divine things; by praying together; by instructing one another in the doctrines of the Gospel; by putting one another in mind of the covenant of grace..." (Gil)

"daily, while it is called today..."

"Use time while you have it, for by and by there will be no more present time;
all will be future; all will be eternity."
(Adam Clarke)

"lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

First this verse talks of being hardened, then it addresses the deceitfulness of sin.

"A hardened attitude is not a sudden aberration but a habitual state of mind that shows itself in inflexibility of thinking and insensitivity of conscience.  It can eventually make repentance impossible...Hardened is translated from the Greek word for 'callus.'"  (Matthew Henry)

"'Hardnened' means 'impenetrable,' 'insensitive,' 'blind,' 'unteachable,' inflexibility of thinking and insensitivity of conscience.  Eventually makes repentance impossible.  The will to do right I completely gone." (John W. Ritenbaugh)

"'Deceitfulness of sin,' deceitful is to be seductively and enticingly misleading; sin promises what it cannot deliver...The pleasure is never quite enough to produce contentment and fulfillment one desires.  Thus people are forced into greater and greater perversions until it results in death." (John W. Ritenbaugh)

Matthew Henry says, "Deceitfulness of sin; it appears fair but is filthy; it appears pleasant, but is pernicious; it promises much, but performs nothing...Sin's deceitfulness is that it cannot deliver what is promises.  It deludes a person into thinking he can 'have it all' or 'take it all' or "take it or leave it.'  It promises pleasure, contentment, fulfillment, and life...sin offers rationalizes and justification."

Deceitful.  Think of Hansel and Gretal lured by the little house in the woods made of candy but which held inside a wicked witch who wanted to throw them into the fire of her stove.  Think of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," when the white witch offers Edmond Turkish Delight to lure him into her clutches as a tool to catch the others. Think of those times when you've been given an invitation to attend a party the deceitfulness of sin was throwing.  So I am exhorting you, begging you to take care lest you fall for the same trick the devil used from the beginning, the  original sin, is the unbelieving heart which fell for a lie.  The only thing the devil can do to you is lie to you.

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