Ephesians; 1:4 – Election of church age believer, part 30.

Class Outline:

Friday December 21, 2018


Context of HEB 4:14-15:


And so, we are told to beware, HEB 3:12. A redeemed people may lose blessings that could be enjoyed if they had continuous faith.


HEB 3:12 Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.


He calls them “brethren” because they are believers, which he has made clear a number of times earlier. Believers can cultivate an evil, unbelieving heart.


“falling away” - apostemai (aorist active infinitive) = standing away from the truth.


So, instead of being apostate, rather, come to the help of one another. This word (as a noun) is used to describe the Holy Spirit in JOH 14:16 and Jesus Christ in 1JO 2:1. Here it is used as a verb.


HEB 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.


Vs. 13 makes it even clearer that the believer is in view in vs. 12 since an unbeliever couldn’t do this. We are to encourage one another.


“encourage” - parakaleo (present active imperative) = to come to another’s side in order to help. This consistent action is the cure for a hard heart deceived by sin.


The cure to what can ail the heart of a believer is to do God’s will. Don’t sit around thinking if you’re mature enough, or if you’re ready, or if you’ve confessed enough sin, go and do.


The cure for a hard heart is to show mercy, not making a show of it, or faking it, but to actually show mercy to all. The cure for an unbelieving heart is to hold on to the word and believe it. The cure for the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh is to set your eyes on the goodness of Christ and buffet your body and make it your slave. These things we must do while all the while seeking God’s help through faith, through prayer, through trusting the Holy Spirit within us to fill us for the task at hand.


LUK 10:28

"You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."


10:37 And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."


The word sin has a definite article. It is “the deceitfulness of the sin or this sin.” For these Jews, the readers of this letter, “the” sin is returning to the practice of Judaism so as the alleviate their suffering under persecution and make peace with their friends, neighbors, and families who have not believed. The Jews are a tight knit community, so much so, that the hostility among saved Jews and unsaved Jews became such a problem in the city of Rome that the Emperor Claudius expelled them all around 50 A.D.


All Christians face something similar when tempted by sin. Sin lies to us and says that its way will be easier. Yet while it might be easier in the short-term, like not studying the entire semester when taking a course, it is always much harder in the long-term, having to cram the night before and doing poorly, which closes opportunities in the future.


Obeying God might be harder in the short-term, like studying all throughout the semester, but in the long-term it is always easier; not even having to study for the test and getting an A, which opens up opportunities in the future. We can see why the NT talks so much about our patience and perseverance.


Sin always attempts to deceive us into thinking that it the best way out of a situation or of deliverance, or of satisfaction.


Sin almost always shows its result immediately. Goodness often doesn’t reveal its results until later, sometimes much later. Sin usually shows its mental pain or physical pain or relationship pain or pain of loss very soon after. Immoral sins that search for pleasure usually give immediate pleasure that is short lived, and at that, as the Lord might say, “You have your reward in full.” Sin never has a lasting blessing. However, morality or virtue may not show their fruit for some time. A woman who saves her body for years for her husband will not see the fruit of that decision until some years of marriage, but if she fornicates, the results will be immediate.


Goodness requires faith and perseverance and patience in order to see its fruit. Hence, we must trust God’s promise and resist all temptation.


HEB 10:35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.


HEB 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.


HEB 3:12 Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.


HEB 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.


HEB 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end;


“partakers” - metochos = one who shares with someone else as an associate. “become” - ginomai (perfect tense) = they are partakers with Christ, which can be revealed if they hold fast.


HEB 3:15 while it is said,

"Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me."


HEB 3:16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?


HEB 3:17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?


The punishment was physical death for their tenth rebellion. Moses, Aaron, and Miriam also died outside the PL. Saved people suffered it.


Caleb and Joshua were sinners, but they were not guilty of the sin of Kadesh-Barnea.


HEB 3:18 And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?


HEB 3:19 And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.


The people repented, NUM 14:20, and God forgave their sins. This tenth act of rebellion did not affect the salvation of any of the saved among them, for Christ died for all sin, but they would not enter, no matter how many times or how sincerely they repented. They lost out on the blessing of God.


The same thing happened again in the Northern Kingdom, who were destroyed and never returned. Any who believed in the redemption of God were also destroyed with the rest, but there is no loss of salvation.


The same thing happened again in the Southern Kingdom, who were destroyed, but were allowed to return and restore the temple and the city, awaiting their King from heaven. When He came …


The same thing happened again in MAT 12:22-45. The leadership of Israel blasphemed the Holy Spirit and committed the unpardonable sin of declaring that the Messiah performed His miracles by the power of the devil. At that point, Jesus withdrew the offer of the Messianic Kingdom from that generation and declared that they were under an immovable divine judgment.


At the time of writing of Hebrews, the generation of MAT 12:22-45 still lived. God, in His matchless grace, is making yet another appeal to them through this letter.


This judgment was the physical judgment of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. No matter how many Jews believed or even the leadership repented, that judgment would take place, the city would be destroyed, and many would die (over a million Jews).


It was not a judgment concerning salvation. In the grace of God, Jesus warned them what to look for so that they could get out of the city before it happened. Jesus also instructed His disciples to remain in Jerusalem after His ascension and to preach the gospel to the Jews. Even Jews who said that Jesus performed miracles by the power of Satan could be saved through faith in Him. He died for that sin. However, nothing could stop the coming destruction of the city and subsequently the destruction of the nation and the worldwide dispersion of the Jews.


Some people believe a believer can lose his salvation because of what the author said in five warnings in this book. This belief is due to a failure to realize that in the Jewish usage of the terms “save” and “salvation,” the terms are not always used in a spiritual sense. More frequently, they are used of physical salvation (being delivered from death). Others who do not believe that it’s possible to lose one’s salvation believe that the Book of Hebrews was not written to believers. They teach it was written to people who had come very close to believing yet had never made the choice to trust in the Messiah. The warnings all have to do with physical judgments. Every example and comparison the writer uses from the Old Testament deals with a physical judgment and a physical death. The judgments are physical not spiritual.


The writer of Hebrews is warning his fellow Jews that this can happen to them. He is warning any unbelievers among them that salvation is only in Christ, and if they believe and become a part of the house of Christ, then this can happen to them as well. They are all terribly tempted and pressured to return to the temple worship of the Law of Moses. They must not. If they do and are saved, they are weak. They will not lose their salvation, but they will miss out on the blessings of the Promise Land, which for the church age believer is what he had been elected to - the life of Christ.


“What they forfeited by their unbelief was the enjoyment of their blessings as a redeemed covenant people. They surrendered the joys of the land and the life of peace and rest … When the people heard God’s judgment, they realized the enormity of their rebellion and coveted the blessings they had forfeited. They were determined to ignore the judgment and to “go up into the place which the Lord had promised” (NUM 14:40). They concluded that the confession “we have sinned” would erase the results of their rebellion. Moses forbade them to enter the land, but they persisted, only to be turned back by the Amalekites and Canaanites …


“The Kadesh experience teaches the necessity of believing God and of obeying God in all circumstances in spite of the obstacles. God is faithful and is to be believed and obeyed at all costs. Disobedience will not bring about loss of position, but certainly will result in the loss of blessings.” [Pentecost]


It is clear that in the church, believers can rebel enough to the point of no return, meaning loss of blessing in life, not loss of salvation, and they will lose their physical lives. One may ask, “I have rebelled to a certain point, how much more rebellion will bring me to a point of no return?” No one knows, but why do the experiment? If we know it is possible, and that loss of blessing is probable, then why not heed the warning and … get with it!


The entire purpose of this letter to the Hebrews is to get these believers to enter the fulness of Promised Land rest.


HEB 4:1 Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.


Therefore, in light of what was written in 3:17-19, in light of Kadesh-Barnea, there is a danger of falling short from attaining all God wants His elect to gain in this life.


God made rest available to the nation of Israel, and while some individuals entered into it, the nation failed to and the promise of rest went unfulfilled, yet now that promise remains open to whosoever will come. If any man wants it, he can have it by the grace of God, first by faith in the gospel and then by continued faith in God’s word.