This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if we hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first.
These verses, and the context of the verses around them talk about finishing what we start. There have been too many “Christians” who have flamed out before crossing the finish line. Too many who have turned their backs on God, given up, and gone back to a life that was safer and more familiar. I put the word Christians in quotation marks because they are Christians in name only – not in reality. The author of Hebrews gives us a few clues here about how to finish what we start. Let’s take a quick look at them.
v 12) Guard your own heart – Clearly, according to this verse, part of the responsibility, if not most of it, is ours. What are some things that we can do to “see to it… that we do not turn away”. I believe one of the most important things a believer can do is to put himself in community with others who are seeking to know God and to live holy lives. It is in community where we can hear the Word of God taught. It is in community where we can see lives that have been transformed by grace. It is in community where we can both get and give encouragement.
v 13) Guard your neighbors heart – One of the best things we can do for others is to encourage them – to intentionally build courage into others lives. When we lose courage we become very vulnerable to “sin’s deceitfulness.” We need to be around others who are fighting a good fight so that we can feed off their courage. But we need to also make sure that we are doing what we can to fuel others with the courage that they need. And this needs to be done daily. Today! Not once or twice a week when you might run into someone at church. Here is a truth that you can take to the bank – someone that you will come in contact with today needs to be encouraged. I promise. Be proactive. Do something about it.
v 14) Once saved always saved?? – So is this verse saying that if we do not hold firm to the end in what we believe that we do NOT share in Christ or that we can lose our salvation? Not at all. It is saying that the proof that you believe in the real gospel of Jesus Christ is IF you hold firm to the end. We are talking about the doctrine called “perseverance of the saints.” And this is the best way that I know how to define it: Perseverance of the saints means that those who persevere are the saints. Those who do not persevere, who do not hold firm to the end, are not the saints of God. And the context of the verse makes it clear that we need others in the body of Christ to give us the courage that we need to “hold firmly to the end.”
So encourage someone today. And if you are having a hard time finding someone that needs to be encouraged then I am just an email away.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Mark 12:28-34
Next Week’s Memory Verse: Mark 12:30