Hebrews 3:12-14. 12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 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. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
In Hebrews 3 the author takes his readers back to the Old Testament. Quoting Psalm 95, he reminds them of the story of their Israelite forefathers who made it to the Promised Land, but then, because of the deceitfulness of sin, and their unbelieving hearts, failed to trust God and take the land. They listened to their fears instead of God. They refused to grasp their share of the inheritance. They failed to seize the day. And so back into the wilderness they would go, wandering for forty years, Dying there in the desert because of their unbelief.
It is truly a tragic tale. And one that we don’t want to see repeated in our own lives. And so the writer of Hebrews sounds this warning:
Hebrews 3:7-11. 7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
Yes, there is eternal security. Yes, the saints will persevere until the end. But there is also this very real warning, even for those that are in Christ: For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
If? Yes, if.
We don’t like to think about grace as an if-then proposition. Yes, of course, the law was if-then. If we obey, then we are blessed. If we disobey, then we are cursed. But grace is a free gift without conditions, right?
But the gospel of grace is also, at its foundation, an if-then proposition. How so? Because grace requires faith.
Grace – We have come to share in Christ.
Faith – IF we indeed hold our original confidence firm to the end.
If we receive God’s grace in Christ by faith, then we will be saved.
But this faith is NOT a one and done transaction. Maybe you walked down the aisle at church, or prayed a prayer in your bedroom, or “asked Jesus into your heart,” but then what? Have you stopped believing and fallen away from the living God? You passed through the Red Sea, but does that mean that now you can stop trusting God in the wilderness? Nope. Faith in Christ is an ongoing, daily, way of life. Why? Because grace is only grace when it’s received. And the reception of grace is something that must be ongoing. TODAY’s new mercies require TODAY’S new faith. Not yesterday’s.
Sharing in Christ is a moment by moment reality check of our faith.
Thus the strong warning – don’t let your heart be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, lest you fall away from God. And the strong admonition – but exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today.”
So where is your faith today? Is it still in Christ? Are you still trusting your savior, Jesus? Notice I’m not asking how much faith you have. Or if your believing “fully,” or “completely” or “perfectly,” or “entirely.” There’s no adverbs here. Just simple believing. Simple trust.
This is the most important question that every Christian must ask themselves every single day of their life – am I sharing in Christ today? Is my confidence still in Christ’s cross alone today? And then you have to ask it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. Until the end.
And we have to ask each other this same question. We have to exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
This is incredibly important. We can’t just assume that the Christians around us in church, in our families, our small groups, our classes and Bible studies, are in Christ because of some profession of faith they made years ago. Where is their faith TODAY?
But I saw them walk the aisle, I heard them pray a prayer, I know they asked Jesus into their heart.
Thousands and thousands of Israelites crossed through the Red Sea and then died in the wilderness because they never really had true lasting faith in Christ alone. Their faith fell away. They stopped trusting grace. Or did they ever really trust it? Who knows? Who cares? All that matters is what we believe TODAY.
So exhort one another EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
When’s the last time you checked on someone’s faith? When’s the last time you knew someone well enough spiritually to know that they are still trusting Christ alone for salvation? Does anyone ever ask you about your faith?
And remember, this is NOT about exhorting others to have more faith in their faith. It’s about exhorting one another to simply trust our Savior Jesus and our union with him. To remember that “to live is Christ” is a day by day experience of Jesus that lasts to the end, and beyond.
Are you trusting in Christ alone today?
You in Christ
Can you explain grace as “you in Christ?”
Christ in you
Who might you exhort today to hold on to their confidence in Christ to the end?
Playlist: Faith For Today.
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I remember that movie. Mel Gibson played a minister who lost his wife because of a driver who fell asleep at the wheel, and lost his faith. I think, many people have things that are unfortunate, but must always remember that God cares. Every step of the way. He know everything we go through. He knows our every thought. And He loves us so much He made us.