Notes on Hebrews 3:12-14


Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God1.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin2. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end3

  • 1. verses 6-11, Ps 95, 4:1-11, 1 Jn 2:19,
  • 2. Eph 4:22, Col 2:8, 2 Thes. 2:9-10
  • 3. Heb 10:23

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

  • Here, the writer presents a personal application of the 95th Psalm. This application is a warning against apostasy and falling away.
  • Take heed, brethren – This warning is issued to ‘professing believers’
  • Professors are warned to “take heed”, because we are not yet out of the wilderness of this world
  • Though many profess to believe, in many there is an evil heart of unbelief
  • Those that have an evil heart of unbelief will depart “from the living God” (1 Jn 2:19)
  • Unbelief (Heb 4:11) is the revelation of an evil heart (Tit 1:15) – “unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”
  • Living God – this title applied to the Father in Matt 16:16, applied to the Son in 1 Tim 4:10, and applied to the Spirit in 2 Cor 6:16
  • departing (ἀφίστημι)
    • Thayer: go away, fall away, desert, withdraw, flee, depart
    • In Luke 8:13, the seed which fell on the hard rock ἀφίστανται (fell away)
    • 1 Tim 4:1 – “in the latter times some shall depart (ἀποστήσονταί) from the faith
    • 2 Thes. 2:3 – “ that day [the return of the Lord] shall not come, except there come a falling away (ἀποστασία) first
    • This is the Greek word (ἀποστασία) from which we get the English word “Apostasy”.
    • According to Webster’s Dictionary (1828) Apostasy is “An abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one’s faith or religion.

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

  • Since our hearts are so prone to sin, and since we deceive ourselves with respect to the strength of our faith, we must take heed to exhort one another against the deceiving power of sin
  • It is God’s plan for us that our faith will grow cold unless it is warmed by mutual edification. We ought to:
    • “care for one another” (1 Cor. 12:25)
    • “love one another” (John 13:34)
    • “pray one for another” (James 5:16)
    • “comfort one another” (1 Thess. 4:18)
    • “admonish one another” (Rom. 15:14)
    • “edify one another” (1 Thess. 5:11)
  • daily – Psalm 95:7 warns, “Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart…”. The writer interprets this “today” as “daily”. In other words, our faith must be strengthened by mutual edification “every day”, lest we be deceived by sin and our hearts turn hard.
  • deceitfulness of sin – According to the 1828 Webster dictionary, deceit is:

    a catching or ensnaring. Hence, the misleading of a person; the leading of another person to believe what is false, or not to believe what is true, and thus to ensnare him; fraud; fallacy; cheat; any declaration, artifice or practice, which misleads another, or causes him to believe what is false.

  • Sin is a trap that misleads, frauds, cheats an unsuspecting victim and leads him to believe what is false! This is the principle characteristic of sin – it deceives!
    • Lust is deceitful – Eph 4:22
    • The traditions and philosophies of men are deceitful – Col 2:8
    • Satan deceives unbelievers – 2 Thes. 2:9-10

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end

  • This concludes the argument begun in verse 12. Paraphrase: Be careful that you don’t get deceived by sin, develop an evil heart of unbelief, and depart from the living God, because only those that hold their faith firmly in Christ to the end are saved.
  • The verses doesn’t say that by persevering in faith we “will be” made partakers of Christ, but rather if we persevere in faith, “we ARE made partakers of Christ”
  • Says the London Baptist Confession:
  • Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions that they are in the favour of God and in a state of salvation, such a hope on their part will perish…
    <London Baptist Confession, 18.1 Assurance of Salvation)

    Those whom God has accepted in the beloved, and has effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, and given the precious faith of His elect, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but they will certainly persevere in that state to the end and be eternally saved. This is because the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, and therefore He continues to beget and nourish in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the spirit which lead to immortality. And though many storms and floods arise and beat against the saints, yet these things shall never be able to sweep them off the foundation and rock which they are fastened upon by faith. Even though, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sight and feeling of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet God is still the same, and they are sure to be kept by His power until their salvation is complete, when they shall enjoy the purchased possession which is theirs, for they are engraved upon the palm of His hands, and their names have been written in His Book of Life from all eternity.
    London Baptist Confession, 17.1 Perseverance of the Saints

  • What is it to be a partaker of Christ?
    • “One Spirit” – 1 Cor 6:17
    • “One body” – Eph 5:30
    • “joint heirs” – Rom 8:17
  • “The beginning of our confidence” is the beginning or origin of our faith. See 1 Tim 5:12 – “Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.”

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering! (Heb 10:23)

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