Sin Hardens the Heart

Sin Hardens the Heart

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end . . .   (Heb 3:12-14)

This passage of Scripture above, says that we can become hardened by the deceitfulness [false-heartedness; faithlessness] of sin.  I believe that is referring to developing a hard heart

The last portion of the passage in Hebrews (above) says that we have become “partakers of Christ.”  What does that phrase signify?  It means that we are members of the body of Christ, and as such, we are His accomplices or assistants.  Remember that Paul tells us that we are “workers together with God” in 2 Corinthians 6:1.

Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said. 23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his heart moved by this.  (Ex 7:22-23, underscoring added)

Hardness of hard refers to a heart that cannot be moved, stimulated, or motivated to a different path or a better way of responding.  It’s what happened to Pharaoh.  We must guard our own hearts carefully against the formation of such a tendency in ourselves.

When we walk in the light with Jesus, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from sin.  (1 Joh 1:7)  So be mindful of staying in the light of God’s truth by reading the Word, obeying the Word, praying, and having fellowship with other believers.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  (Phil 2:3-4)  Following this admonition will also keep us tender-hearted and humble before the Lord.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Rom 12:21)  We’re indwelt by the Overcomer—the Victorious One—so that we are empowered to actually overcome evil with good!  Glory to God!

God’s good plans for each one of us are that we be blessed and that each of us bring blessings to many others.  (Jer 29:11)

Looking for Blessed Hope

Looking for Blessed Hope

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ . . . (Tit 2:11-13, emphasis added)

I think it’s too easy in this age of high pressure and constant stress overlaid by tense world events for us to lose sight of our HOPE.  We need to meditate more frequently and regularly upon the truth that we are expectantly waiting and watching for our blessed hope which will be evidenced by the glorious appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ! 

Here is what the Bible has to say about it:

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  (Mt 24:30-31) 

The righteous rejoice to even anticipate this event, so think of what the reality of it will be like!  In the meantime, we have many responsibilities to attend to—not only those of being responsible spouses, parents, children, or friends—but also the responsibilities that we have to Jesus, our Savior.  We have an active and eager enemy according to the Bible.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Pet 5:8) 

Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  (1 Thes 5:6)

Do not be taken unawares.  Do not be drowsing or spiritually dull.  Keep yourself spiritually keen, effective and alert.  Read the Scriptures; praise and worship God regularly; fellowship with other believers, and be a witness of what Jesus has done for you.  This lifestyle will energize your faith and move you forward in realizing your purposes in the Kingdom.  God bless you.

We’re One with the Lord

We’re One with the Lord

But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.  (1 Cor 6:17)

. . . as He is, so are we in this world.  (1 Joh 4:17b)

When we become born again (saved), one of those mysteries occurs that the Bible mentions. “What mystery?” you ask.  The mystery of our spirit being joined to the spirit of Christ.  The mystery that the Bible reveals in 1 John 4:17 that as Jesus is—right now in heaven—so are we (believers) on earth.

How is that possible?  That is why it is called a mystery, because we will understand it fully when we are in heaven, face to face with the Lord.  Until that day, we trust in this verse by using the gift of faith that He gave to each one of us.

Because we are one spirit with the Lord, we have intimate communion with God through Christ.  Our salvation experience has baptized us into Christ.  We have “put on Christ.”  (Gal 3:27) 

Being “in Christ” allows us to experience this new life that we’ve been given in community with all those who are also in Christ.  We have fellowship as well as unity.

To my thinking, Jesus, Himself, is the robe of righteousness to which Job 29:14 and Isaiah 61:10 refer.  (Rom 8:1; Gal 2:16)

Daily Bible reading will keep us attached to the True Vine.  (Joh 15:1-11)  The more the word of Christ dwells in us richly, the more fully the joy of Christ will dwell within us.

As you ponder this mystery of being joined to the Lord, take time to thank and to praise God for it.  Allow yourself to celebrate and to enjoy the sense of awe and wonder that this living mystery deserves.

How Do We Keep Our Spiritual Ears Open?

How Do We Keep Our Spiritual Ears Open?

The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.  (Pro 20:12)

For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’  (Mat 13:15)

When we open the Bible and read it, it’s one of the ways of keeping our spiritual ears open.  Meditating upon various Scriptures is another way.

Attending Church services where the Word of God is preached, and having fellowship with other Christians are two more ways to maintain a hearing ear.  Being sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit is yet another way to keep your spiritual ears open.

Because the Holy Spirit lives with us after we accept Christ, He will teach us and give us revelation knowledge concerning the Scriptures whenever we’re reading the Bible.  Expect God to teach you as you read the Bible.  Listen for the prompting of the Holy Spirit as you listen to preaching.  He will insert valuable thoughts and concepts in the midst of excellent preaching and teaching.  It is the Holy Spirit’s way of enriching your understanding and maturing you.

Recognize that God is always communicating with you, because He’s in relationship with you.  That’s why He provided mankind with such a beautiful salvation because He desired to be in relationship with us.  What a blessing and an honor!