7784 - Unbelieving Heart
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Today we will discuss the second of five warnings for people in the church –– the body of Christ. This warning is found in Hebrews 3, verse 12. Listen:
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
The first warning to the believers found in the book of Hebrews is in chapter 2, and warns against apathy or indifference –– just drifting away. Both of these warnings are directed to people who have hearts, which are unresponsive to God’s plan and purpose for life.
This second warning regards unbelief about God. The original Greek speaks of a heart which is evil and which is evidenced in unbelief. The word translated by the English word ‘evil’ in the original speaks about an active apposition to the good of God. This same word is used to refer to Satan. He is in active opposition to God’s plan for good, and is seeking to destroy the good things of God.
The person to whom reference is made in this verse is not a passive individual who is willing to quietly perish in his own evil. That would be a terrible termination for an opponent of God, but this evil person is one who is not content unless he is actively corrupting as many others as possible. He is eager to drag others into the same pit of destruction to which he himself is heading.
The author of these words suspects that some of the people who will read this book posses that kind of evil heart, and is active and pernicious in his attempt to influence as many others as possible to accompany him on this path to destruction.
We need to clarify one important and almost hidden point. That is that there is a huge difference between a heart in which unbelief is present, and a heart, which is totally unbelieving.
The first case may be a Christian who has some doubt and uncertainty in his heart, but the person who has an unbelieving heart cannot be a Christian. Unbelief and faith are in conflict and cannot jointly inhabit one heart. This unbelieving heart is solely and entirely under the control of unbelief.
It can be seen then that the person to whom reference is made in this verse is not a Christian. There is no faith relationship with Jesus. They may have been drawn into the fellowship of a church by curiosity, or even interest. They may even believe the record about Jesus Christ, but there has never been any action of faith in this heart. The language forbids it to be true.
Such a person may be described as aloof from the Savior, and from Father God. He is holding himself in an exalted position from Trinity God.
This does not mean that he has always been in that attitude or position. At some previous time he may have been a seeker, or at least inquisitive, but his heart has come to the attitude of rejection of the validity and truth of any spiritual impact; therefore, he is standing aloof from the one and only eternal, omnipotent, omniscient God.
The application of these truths in the first century, or in any century since, is that this person has been tempted to give up any belief which he may have had regarding the Savior Jesus Christ, and is considering returning to the pagan, religious views to which he subscribed in times past.
For many it is the question of choice between faith in Jesus Christ/Messiah, or of returning to and embracing beliefs and practices which violate the New Testament truths applicable to the age of grace, such as depending on good-works to gain salvation.
2 Peter (2:21) has a sobering truth regarding this struggle. It says: “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred commandment that was passed on to them.”
Oh friend, listen to his warning once again: “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”
The consequences are dreadful.