HEBREWS 3:12-15: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: What is the “Deceitfulness of Sin?” The writer of Hebrews gives us a very stern warning regarding it. It appears to be the difference between hearing God’s voice, finishing well in our faith, or ending up like the generation under Moses who died in the wilderness. The writer of Hebrews warns us,

  • “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

To understand the deceitfulness of sin we have to go back to the book of Genesis. The beginning of man’s fall into sin did not take place with a gross act of immorality. Rather, it took place with a deceitful lie that was carefully packaged by the enemy of our souls.

  • “Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis‬ ‭3:4-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The deceitfulness of sin was wrapped up in false wisdom. It was the temptation to believe that we could live outside of the will and wisdom of God by discovering and trusting in our wisdom. Adam and Eve fell for this deceitful lie when they disobeyed God and ate from the forbidden tree.

  • “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” Genesis‬ ‭3:6‬ ‭NKJV‬

This is the same deceitful lie that a whole generation under Moses believed. God had called them to enter the promised land and defeat their enemies. Ten, out of the twelve spies, put their faith in their wisdom and infected the whole nation of Israel with doubt and unbelief. They did not immediately turn to idols and begin to practice immorality. First, they believed in the deceitfulness of sin. They believed that they were smarter than God himself!

This is the deceitfulness of sin that is constantly knocking at the door of our hearts. It is this deceitfulness of sin that has gripped our present culture which rejects the wisdom of God and in its place believes the lie that man alone is the source of life and wisdom. It is not a new lie. It is the oldest lie known to man. And, it is a lie that will ultimately lead one to eternal separation from God if it is not called out and avoided!

  • “For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭3:16-19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

So, how do we protect ourselves from the deceitfulness of sin? The writer of Hebrews gives us this exhortation.

  • “…But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,”. Hebrews‬ ‭3:13-14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

There are two things the writer calls us to do. The first is to exhort one another daily while it is called “Today.” This speaks of the importance of Christian fellowship, corporate worship, and sound Biblical teaching. Without these, we are as susceptible to drifting away from the Lord as did the nation of Israel in the time of Moses. The call of faith in Christ is a call that cannot be accomplished without the body of Christ, the Church. We need each other, for encouragement, and to help others see their blind spots so that we can continue faithfully in Christ.

The second thing which the writer of Hebrews calls us to is the most important of all – “…hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” One must understand this to finish well and to avoid the pitfall of works-righteousness. Let me share an example that I think will illustrate what the writer is saying.

Imagine yourself shipwrecked in the middle of the ocean. You are lost in the cold dark water with no hope of survival. There is no shore within swimming distance and you are growing weak. Realizing that you will drown without a rescue you spot something floating in the distance. It is a life raft that you did not know existed. Unable to swim because you are too weak you are suddenly rescued as the winds blow the raft to your side. Clinging to the raft you realize that it is your only hope of survival. And, so you cling to it tightly!

Such is our salvation. We did nothing to earn it. We were not looking for Jesus. He came to us in the moment of our weakness and despair. He died for us on the cross paying the full penalty for our sins. When we called out to Him through faith, like the man with the life raft, we held on to Jesus knowing that He alone was our salvation. And, we continue to cling to Him knowing that He alone is our sanctification. Jesus Christ is the beginning and end of our faith and salvation. Only as we cling to Him, and Him alone, will we be able to hold our confidence steadfast till the end.

The deceitfulness of sin is anything that tries to convince us that we can remain steadfast till the end through our wisdom and strength. The Holy Spirit is constantly calling us to a surrendered life of faith and trust in Christ alone. He alone is our salvation, our righteousness, and our victory. To leave this sure salvation is to harden our hearts and find ourselves in the wilderness of hopelessness and affliction. The wonderful hymn sums it up.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

Lord, keep my heart from the deceitfulness of sin. Let me live in the power of Christ in me. From my life’s first cry to my final breath – Lord Jesus, command my destiny and help me to finish well!

In Jesus’ Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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