Encourage one another
Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. Hebrews 3:12-13 CSB
Continuing on the warning of the consequences of unbelief, the author addresses his “brothers and sisters.” Now, typically when we see these terms, we think “believers,” but in context of the author’s readers, it is referring to the general Jewish population reading his letter, mostly targeting non-believers. The author of Hebrews knows from Scripture that a falling away from God finds its origin, development, and motivation in unbelief. Unbelief—characterized by mistrust—first comes to expression in disobedience, which in turn results in rejection. The signs continue to develop that leads to the hardening of the heart and an inability to repent and ask God for forgiveness. The author is adamant in this warning, telling them to “Watch out…so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” As we saw in this letter these past few days, the author brought up the past actions of the nation of Israel, specifically their unbelief in God being able to protect them and fulfill His promise of bringing them to the Promise Land. Because of their unbelief, a whole generation did not get to experience the Promise Land. In the present time of the readers, the author is warning that if they disregard Jesus as the Messiah and turn away from the living God, their unbelief will lead them to eternal judgment from God, just as how that past generation faced God’s justice. So, instead of unbelief, then, the author tells them to “encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” After you become a believer then, encourage one another. The time we have on earth is limited, and only God knows how long we are here. Therefore, we should be mindful of the time God has given us and do what is according to His will. We can see this echoed in James 4:14-15, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” The heart of someone who turns away from God is described as sinful. God does not take the sin of unbelief lightly, for He knows that its origin lies in man’s deceitful heart. “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). So, instead of remaining having a deceitful heart, the admonition is to turn to God in repentance. While there is still time, we are admonished to encourage one another so that no one falls into the deception of sin. We will be benefited to hear God’s Word and obey Him for this will prevent us from hardening our hearts by sin’s deceitfulness.
Isaac De Guzman