Hebrews 3:11-15
Heb 3:11 (KJB)
So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
(Num 14:23 KJV) Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: Here the writer goes back to the time when Israel had provoked the Lord to the point that He became angry with them and then swore that none of the ones who left Egypt would see the promised land, that is, Canaan which is a type of Heaven. The only ones who were allowed to go in were Joshua and Caleb. This warning is also to every unbeliever that if they remain in unbelief, then they will not enter into His rest, that is, salvation. The Land of Canaan was the land which God had promised to Israel but their recalcitrance had prevented them from entering in because they had lacked faith in God. God would provide for them and in an instant they were murmuring about something else.
Heb 3:12 (KJB)
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Take heed - Watch, beware of, or notice
Departing - Cause to revolt, lead away or withdraw from
Here is a stern warning to those who profess to be Christians. Now the question is whether this verse is speaking of a true Christian or of an unbeliever. If it was speaking of a believer, then this verse would be proof that a Christian could lose their salvation and this cannot happen.
(John 6:39 KJV) And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
(1 Pet 1:4-5 KJV) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, {5} Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Here we have two verses (among many) that tell us that the Lord Jesus Christ will not lose one of His children which God has given to Him and then in 1 Peter 1:5, we are told that we are kept by the power of God. The reason why some believe a person can lose their salvation is because if they said some words at an evangelistic meeting, then they are declared saved. However, saying a few words does not constitute salvation. A person only becomes saved when the Holy Spirit indwells them and that is Godís work and not ours. What is in view in Hebrews 3:12 are those who profess to be Christians and are really not. (1 John 2:19 KJV) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 1 John 2:19 gives us some insight into this. There were some in Johnís day who professed to be Christians yet they departed from the flock. This is because they were not truly Christians and maybe had joined themselves to the disciples in an emotional manner. Just as a person can walk into an emotional salvation, they can walk out when the times get tough. Emotional salvation has no roots and is totally flesh based which means it is changeable at a moments notice. Hebrews 3:12 is a warning to all, even true believers, that we must be sure that our hearts never get hard towards God. We may be in a bad situation but that does not mean we turn our hearts against God instead we turn our hearts closer to him. Sometimes a believer can drift but because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, He will guide us back before we do anything detrimental.
Heb 3:13 (KJB)
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Exhort - Admonish or encourage
Hardened - Stubborn or resistant to change
Deceitfulness - Treachery
Here is an exhortation to the Christians. Each day they are to encourage one another and admonish one another to make sure they are not allowing themselves to become hardened by sin. Not a day should go by whereby we fail to do some type of introspection of our life to make sure we are not drifting away from the Lord and becoming hardened by sin. The deceitfulness of sin is such that a Christian can be slowly hardened by it. The hardening does not happen all at once but it slowly creeps up on a person. Eventually it gets to the point where the Christian becomes hardened and they cannot understand why. This is because they did no introspection in the early stages to stop it from reaching its zenith.
Heb 3:14 (KJB)
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Confidence - Assurance, conviction, or underlying essence
Stedfast - Sure, firm, or stable
Here is another verse which teaches us that those who continue in the faith, that is, those who are truly born again, will share in the Kingdom with Christ. Everyone starts out strong in the beginning but there are those who leave because as we saw in the last verse, they were not true believers. The essence of the Christian life is to start out strong and to remain that way for an entire lifetime. Those who are truly born again will do this because the Holy Spirit under girds us by indwelling us from the moment of salvation. As we saw, those who only professed Christianity but did not possess it, will definitely fall away at some point in their life and therefore they will not be made partakers of Christ. Only the truly saved will endure to the end as have been evidenced by so many martyrs throughout Church history.
(Mat 24:13 KJV) But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(Mark 4:17 KJV) And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
Notice in the parable of the sower, it speaks of the same principle. They hear the word preached and then everything is in a state of elation until they hit their first persecution and then they depart out. This is how you discern if they were ever truly saved, you will know them by their fruits. (Mat 7:19-20 KJV) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. {20} Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:19-20 speaks specifically of unbelievers and their unbelief is made manifest by their evil works which they revert to.
Heb 3:15 (KJB)
While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
Provocation - Rebellion
The writer returns to Psalm 95:7-8 and gives a stern warning that the believers must never harden their hearts the way that Israel did in the wilderness wandering. No one should have a hard heart, especially to the preaching of the Gospel. If God speaks to us about an area in our life which may be drifting, we must never harden our heart with the attitude that it is not happening to us. When we reject any teaching which can help keep us on the straight and narrow, we are acting just like ancient Israel did and will suffer the same type of fate. We wonít lose our salvation but we will lose our usefulness as Christians plus our testimony will be hurt. Rejection of the word of God in any manner is a form of rebellion. Rebellion does not have to be with rocks and sticks in the streets but it can be a matter of the heart. Rebellion in the heart is worse because we may not be conscious of it. Unconscious rebellion can cause greater damage to the Christian, this is why we are to check ourselves every day to make sure our hearts remain soft.