“The Holy Spirit says, “If you hear His voice today, do not let your hearts become hard as your early fathers did when they turned against Me. It was at that time in the desert when they put Me to the test. Your early fathers tempted Me and tried Me. They saw the work I did for forty years. For this reason, I was angry with the people of this day. And I said to them, ‘They always think wrong thoughts. They have never understood what I have tried to do for them.’ I was angry with them and said to Myself, ‘They will never go into My rest.’”
Christian brothers, be careful that not one of you has a heart so bad that it will not believe and will turn away from the living God. Help each other. Speak day after day to each other while it is still today so your heart will not become hard by being fooled by sin. For we belong to Christ if we keep on trusting Him to the end just as we trusted Him at first. The Holy Writings say, “If you hear His voice today, do not let your hearts become hard as your early fathers did when they turned against Me.” Heb. 3:7-15 NLV
How can you be sure you are a Christian?
Well the ultimate answer that Hebrews gives is to look directly to Jesus and know Him as YOUR Bridegroom, YOUR Heavenly Husband. (Heb 2:9; 3:1; 9:28; 10:19; 12:2,3). The ultimate way to assure yourself that you are a Christian is to look nowhere else but to Jesus Himself and the Holy Spirit WILL assure you that He is not simply the Savior – but YOUR Savior.
Verse 14 outlines the answer: “For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.” (NLT)
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.
The ultimate way is to look directly to Jesus. But here is also another way. A true believer will show themselves by being a persevering believer.
A true Christian will be a persevering believer, they keep going till the end – they persevere.
They hold firmly their confidence till the end.
One of the major concerns of the letter in Hebrews is that we stand firm in confidence till the end.
Perseverance is steadfast and holding fast, never giving up.
It is not about a moment of religious enthusiasm, and it is not about the rituals of religious externalism – the Christian life is about persevering faith.
It requires you to keep going by trusting day after day. It is patient endurance through suffering.
That’s what this letter in Hebrews is saying to us again and again. In chapters 3 and 4 we get the image of the wilderness to help us grasp faith and perseverance.
The Israelites were brought out of slavery in Egypt into the Promised Land. It was an incredible deliverance.
The Lord continued to lead them through the wilderness in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. He fed them each day with the bread of heaven and filled their thirst with water from the rock. He guided them, cared for them, spoke with them, appeared to them and promised them an unimaginably sweet future. But what happened?
In Numbers 13 and 14 the spies went into the Promised Land and reported back that it was indeed an exceedingly good land. Caleb and Joshua were excited and confident to go but the people harden their hearts.
They had seen what God had done for 40 years. They had seen the incredible power and kindness and daily provision of God. But they hardened their hearts and they rebelled. In fact they decided they were going to appoint another leader to take them back to Egypt. God was so grieved by that.
The King James Version translates verse 10 as “grieved.” God is angrily grieved when He holds out His arms to His people and they basically spit in His face.
I hope you can get a sense of the passion in God’s heart. This passage is so much about both God’s heart and ours, but we’ll never understand the Bible’s expectations for our emotions until we hear God’s passion.