Focal Passage: Hebrews 3:7-15
It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It is an axiom that is all too accurate today. Indeed, we see it in our world on a regular basis. And, the older I get the more I find myself shaking my head at decisions that have already proven to be disastrous. Sometimes those decisions are made by folks in the church, with terrifying consequences.
The writer of Hebrews was sending a letter to a group of Christians who were about to make a terrible decision. As unbelievable as it may seem, they were actually considering turning their backs on the salvation found in Christ, in favor of returning to Judaism. The writer of Hebrews saw this for exactly what it was: hardening their hearts, just as their forefathers had done. In Hebrews 3:7-11, he uses Psalm 95 as a reminder to them of the tragic consequences of doing such a thing.
If they followed the example of their forefathers they would reveal that they have not known God’s ways and they would not be allowed to enter His rest.
The writer of Hebrews is unafraid of warning them clearly. He minces no words as he tells them (v. 12) that it is possible to be in the assembly of the saints, but have an unbelieving heart that would lead you to “fall away” from the living God.
Dare I say that we need more of that in our midst. We need more warning that if you depart from the saints by turning your back on the salvation offered in Christ, you are falling away from the living God. Such warnings are not incompatible with God’s grace, but demanded by it.
But, the writer of Hebrews also knows that there is a powerful aid available to help us stay faithful to Christ. That aid is the encouragement and exhortation of our brothers and sisters in Christ. He calls us to an urgency about the message of salvation that is too often lacking. An urgency to respond “today” as long as it is called “today.”