Journal – November 28, 2021
Hebrews 3: 12-15
12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
BE FAITHFUL (PART 3)
HEBREWS 3: 12-15
Five paragraphs completing thoughts on verse 12 from journal dated November 14, 2021:
4. Stupid ignorance, arising from the possessing of the minds of men with other things, inconsistent with the faith and obedience of the gospel, through the craft and subtilty of Satan another cause of positive unbelief. How is the gospel hindered from shining into the hearts of men? It is by the darkness and blindness of their minds. But what darkness is this—that which is common and natural to all men? No, but that which is in a peculiar manner brought to the minds of some men by the craft and deceits of the god of this world. And these things fully clear the holiness and righteousness of God (I have only mentioned a few of the many instances that might be given) in His judgments against final and impenitent unbelievers to whom the gospel is preached; for as that impotency which is in them naturally is culpable—and it would not and is no excuse for them not believing, because of themselves they could not do so, seeing it is by their own default they are brought into this condition—so everyone in his own person who does not Believe does so by a voluntary act of his own will reject the gospel.
5. But there is an unbelief that consists in a rejection of the truth of the gospel after it has been admitted, acknowledged, and professed. Frequent mention is made in the gospel, with caution against it and this is in general the highest aggravation of this sin. There is little hope in being recovered from this condition. He who has made a trial of the gospel and then casts contempt on it saying he does not value it sins against the Holy Spirit. The guilt of this sin cannot be removed without a renunciation of truth and professed; this is very difficult (2 Peter 2:21).
6. There may be a partial rejection of the gospel as to some degree. Of this the Apostle covers in chapter 4:11-13; and chapter 12:15, 16 and below in the following paragraph. A total rejection of the gospel will be covered in chapter 6:4-6; chapter 10:26,27.
7. Such a partial rejection of the gospel consists in the soul’s receiving impressions from arguments and reasonings against profession, in the whole or in some degree. Innumerable are the inclinations, objections and temptations that lie against the profession of the gospel, especially in times of difficulty, and particularly against steadfastness and preciseness in profession. That the whole of it be laid aside, or the degree of it remitted, is the great design of Satan, the world, and the flesh. It also consists in a secret dislike of something in the gospel; unbelief dislikes the purity, simplicity, and spiritually of gospel worship. Also, the severity and universality of obedience which the gospel requires, along with the grace and mystery of the gospel.
8. These things have been spoken to discover the nature and work of that unbelief the Apostle here warns all professors concerning the root of apostacy, of all backsliding, whether it be gradual or total, lies in unbelief. This unbelief tends to be departing from the living God. It is obvious that apostacy from the profession of the gospel is intended. In a recession from the gospel or doctrine of Christ, God Himself is forsaken. He that rejects Christ in the gospel, let him pretend what he will of adhering to one God, he has forsaken the living God, and clings to an idol of his own heart. Therefore, whoever departs from the observation of the gospel is an apostate from God. Let us all know what care and reverence becomes us in the things of the gospel. God is in them, even the living God. Otherwise, He will neither be known nor worshipped.
Vs. 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. To exhort means to persuade with good, meek, and comfortable words, upon grounds of consolation, and to the end that men may be comforted. The season of doing this exhortation is Today, that is daily, and every day. The exhortation implies a constant readiness of mind inclining, inducing, and preparing one for the discharge of this duty also an actual discharge of it on all just occasions, which is to be watched for, and willingly embraced. Be punctilious in the discharge of this duty, while the season of it does continue. The Apostle declares to those Hebrews the great day, the great season of old shadowed out unto their forefathers, was now really come upon them. The Apostle saw that this day of the Hebrews was almost ready to expire. It continued but a few years after his writing this epistle.
He says lest any of you—believing Hebrews—be hardened. He states the cause of the evil that is to be feared, and that is the deceitfulness of sin, the habitual deceit that is indwelling sin, whereby it seduces men and draws them off from God. The design of the Apostle is to prescribe a duty to them, whereby they might be preserved from being hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Observe:
- That punctilious mutual exhortation is an eminent means to obviate and prevent the design of the deceitfulness of sin.
- Gospel duties have an especial efficacy in them in their special seasons, while
It is called Today.
- We have but an uncertain time for the due performance of certain duties. How long will it be called—Today—we know not. The day of our life is uncertain; so is the day of the gospel, as also the opportunities therein.
- The deceit which is in sin, and which is inseparable from it, tends continually to the hardening of the heart. This is that which has principally taught us in these words and is a truth of very great importance to us.
Vs. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, A present state is here declared, that which is already wrought and partaken of. How then are we made partakers of Christ? It is by our having an interest in His nature, by the communication of His Spirit, even as He had in ours by assuming our flesh. It is then that union with Christ is intended, whereby we are made members of His body of His flesh and His bones. If we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. It is by our having an interest in His nature, by the communication of His Spirit, even as Her had in ours by the assumption of our flesh. It is the union with Christ that is intended, whereby we are made members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. If we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. It is by all agreed that for the substance of it, the same is here intended as in verse 6. But the expression used here is difficult and has left an impression of its difficulty on most translations and expositions. We have just shown that our partaking of Christ is our being united unto Him, and the confession, in which on that union we are bound to hold fast, is our subsistence in Christ, our abiding in Him, as the branches in the vine. Our subsistence in Christ is twofold, either by profession only or by real union; and the trial of which of these we are partakers of depends on our perseverance. I shall only add here that the Apostle, by joining himself with these Hebrews—if we hold fast—shows that this is a general and perpetual rule for professors, and the touchtone of their profession, by which it may be tried at the last day. Observe:
- That union with Christ is the principle and measure of all spiritual enjoyments and expectations. Our union with Christ, our participation of Him consists in the inhabitation of the same Spirit in Him and in us, and the work of this Spirit given unto us is to form Christ in us whereby our union is completed.
- Constancy and steadfastness in believing is the great touchstone, trial, and evidence of union with Christ. We are partakers of Christ—that is declared, manifested so to be—if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.
Persistency in our confidence in Christ unto the end is a matter of great endeavor and diligence, and that to all believers. It is true that our persistency in Christ does not, as to the issue and event, depend absolutely on our diligence. The unalterableness of our union with Christ, on the account of the faithfulness of the covenant of grace, is that which does and shall eventually secure it. But our own diligent endeavor is such an indispensable means to that end, that without it, will never be brought about. Therefore, many cautions are given us in this and other epistles that we should take heed of apostacy and falling away, these cautions and warnings are given to all true believers, that they may know how indispensably necessary, from the appointment of God, and the nature of the thing itself is their watchful diligence and endeavor to their abiding in Christ.
Vs. 15 while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” This verse is to be taken as a repetition of the previous testimony, and their improvement to some further end. He makes use of history to enforce his exhortation. Every circumstance of Scripture history is instructive. In the case in hand the Apostle shows who they were that sinned and provoked God; some of them that came out of Egypt but not all and in following verses he shows what he makes of this. He shows what became of those that sinned.
Catechism Question 83
Q: What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A: The ninth commandment forbids whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or our neighbor’s good name.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
“Prove it” Catechism Question 123
Q: What is the third petition?
A: Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.