In Hebrews chapter 3, Paul gives us a warning,
Take heed, brethren,
lest there be in any of you
an evil heart of unbelief,
in departing from the living God.
then a pleading exhortation.
But exhort one another daily,
while it is called To day;
lest any of you be hardened
through the deceitfulness of sin.
For we are made partakers of Christ,
if we hold the beginning of our confidence
stedfast unto the end;
We are called to hold fast our faithful repentance in Christ just as we did in the beginning.
If we fail to to this, we allow sin through disobedience to re-enter our lives and risk our hearts being darkened and hardened, bringing unbelief and eventually separation from the God.
This is not a break in fellowship as some believe but departure from the Living God.
Souls in Peril
While it is said,
Today if ye will hear his voice,
harden not your hearts,
as in the provocation.
For some, when they had heard,
howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
But with whom was he grieved forty years?
All but two of the adult Israelites delivered from Egypt perished in the wilderness (figuratively speaking, in sin). The two delivered, Joshua and Caleb, followed the exhortation and did not harden their hearts.
They also had the benefit of an enriched faith, moral uprightness, and godly character.
Either way you cut it, the example God gave us in Hebrews reveals very poor odds for those initially delivered from sin through faith in Christ.
The Israelites knew, saw, and lived with the truth and promises of God. They were fed living water, manna, and were provided for. All these were shadows of what Jesus does for us now.
Why was God grieved with them and why did so many perish?
was it not with them that had sinned,
whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
And to whom sware he
that they should not enter into his rest,
but to them that believed not?
So we see
that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
~ Hebrews 3:12-19
They Perished because they did not heed his voice and obey his word. Rather, they chose return to sin, fell into unbelief, and hardened their hearts.
Instead of entering into His rest, they entered into judgment.
This is our example today. Do not continue in sin, guard your heart, and believe God can change both your heart and your (sinful) nature.
Or, like the Israelites, you run the risk of having your body left rotting in the wilderness only to be fed on by the birds of destruction.
Jesus died so we could live. Here is His exhortation.
Take my yoke upon you
and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
We get on our knees before the cross, repent of our sins, believe in Christ. We walk away from our sins and follow His lead preparing ourselves to be obedient to Him and to live, truly live.
Here is Jesus’ warning to His servants who fail to do this.
And that servant, which knew his lord’s will,
and prepared not himself,
neither did according to his will,
shall be beaten with many stripes.
~ Luke 12:47
Let His stripes purify your heart.
For many will be beaten with many stripes because of hardened and darkened hearts and disobedient unbelief in the knowledge and faith in Christ.
The choice is yours.
The only question is,
What kind of servant are you?
Take His yoke
and learn from Him,
you will find rest for your soul.
Let us therefore fear, lest,
a promise being left us
of entering into his rest,
any of you should seem to come short of it.
~ Hebrews 4:1