Heb. 3:12-14 – “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.”
Paul clearly indicates the destructive influence of sin. It is a cancer of the soul which, unless it is stopped, rages on until it has destroyed your whole life. Certain Hebrew believers are here addressed as brethren, but because of persistent sinning their hearts were hardened and they were on the verge of departing from the faith. That is the result of sin in your life: it attacks your faith in God and changes it into a weak, doubting faith which finally ends up in unbelief. Then, you only cling to an outward form of godliness, e.g. church membership and a confession with your mouth that you are a Christian, but in truth you are an unbeliever and a slave of sin.
When such people who call themselves Christians start treading the path of sin they should earnestly and repeatedly be warned against the disastrous consequences of their licentious lives. If that is not done, they will become harder and more unapproachable – even to the extent of getting cold and hard hearts which will determinedly resist the gospel. Exhort one another daily lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. The further a person strays from the Lord the more difficult it becomes to repent again.
Fortunately there are those who come to their senses during their wanderings, like the lost son who strayed from his father’s house to lead a life of sin the world. Liquor, parties and immorality were the order of the day. When all his money was spent he also lost his worldly friends and did not even have food to eat. He eventually obtained work as a labourer on a farm. There, among the pigs, he realised what he has lost by yielding to sinful desires and defecting from his father’s house. He came to his senses and said, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you” (Luke 15:18). His many sins were forgiven and he was completely restored.
Backsliding of this nature should be averted by persevering to the end on the way of the Lord without deviating on wrong tacks. Paul said that we should hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. This message was again repeated to the Hebrew believers, among whom this was a very common problem: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2). That is the narrow way of life. Do not fall short of the grace of God, but continue steadfastly on the way of the Lord without turning around and getting lost on wrong paths.
Prayer: “Lord, keep us from backsliding caused by wilful and persistent sinning. You warn us against the serious consequences of believers who again follow the ways of sin, and how they become spiritually indifferent and hardened during their wanderings. Thank You that You are merciful and pardons abundantly when such people return to You and kneel down before your throne of grace. Guide us along the paths of righteousness and teach us to cling to the hope of the gospel. This we ask with thanksgiving in the precious Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Reference: Johan Malan