Warnings On Rebellion
Sin is rebellion, and God hates rebellion, 1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
Jesus taught us to be ready for the kingdom of Heaven and His coming, which ever comes first (Mark 13). To be on the safe side of life, we are to be ready for both. Many people today when reading the Word of God, skimp over what seems to be insignificant words in the English language. Like for example: the word, “says” in:
Hebrews 3:7-14 So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried Me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known My ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter My rest.’
” See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
The word “says’ is an action word and means: the Lord is still saying, still warning today. Not only to the Jews of today, (which the Book of Hebrews is specifically a letter to the Jews. Hence the name: the Book of “Hebrews”) But it is also a word from the Lord to the Gentiles as well.
God does not discriminate between Jew and Gentile. What He says to the Jews yesterday and today, He is still saying to Christians today as well. The Book of Hebrews gives us examples what not to do, learning from another’s mistakes, as well as learning one’s victories. Even I skimp over words that seems to be insignificant, until the Holy Spirit had opened my eyes to small details of His Word, and how the Word of God is carefully and meticulously spoken and written, every jot and every tittle.
Same thing with the word, “if.” in: Hebrews 3:14-15 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.”
Here as we just read, is proof that one can lose salvation. To be partakers of Christ, you must hold your confidence, in Christ steadfast to the end. And what is our confidence? The faith and hope we have in Jesus Christ our Lord. Confident in the Gospel message eternal life which He has promised. People can and has lost confidence in Jesus Christ, that’s what the Great Apostacy is all about, the falling away from the faith in Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2/1 Timothy 4:1-2). And do you suppose that the back slider is saved? The answer is no, if a back slider dies in sins they will not be saved. This is all about continually abiding in Jesus Christ to the end as He has warned Christians to do. And if we don’t, the consequence of eternal Hell-fire will follow,
John 15:1-6 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
Hold our confidence steadfast to the end, Till the end of what? Either the end of your life, the end of the church age, or the end of the world which ever comes first for you. And if you do not, than the opposite is also true, when you are not a partaker of Christ or abiding in Christ, then He does not know you (Matthew 7:21-23), and you will not enter Heaven. You see, Jesus Christ is our only source of salvation, the only source to the kingdom of Heaven. And if we do not know Him, He does not know us. It’s not good enough to know something about Christ in order to be saved. It’s knowing Jesus Christ as Lord.
Going back to Hebrews 3:7-14, who are “they”? And what is the rebellion mentioned in these verses? The answer is the Jews of the Old Testament during the exodus out of Egypt according to the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. For they are used here in the Book of Hebrews as an example for us today. And even though the Book of Hebrews is a letter written to the Jews, of the time it was written, to the end of the world. It is also written for Gentile Christians admonition, to the end of world as well. The Holy Bible as a whole, is a love letter from God the Father, to all Humanity both Jews and Gentiles.
Also would like to point out the word, “rest.” What is “rest” according to it’s usage here in Hebrews 3:10-11, Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath,‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
Rest is the assurance of salvation. In the Old Testament, in context, was talking about the Promised Land: Israel. Which is a physical type and shadow of Heaven and salvation.
Study of The Desert Rebellions
So how did the Israelites rebel against God? What did they do that God considered rebellion? There is a reason why the author of the Book of Hebrews (who was inspired by the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God), has reminded the Jews and Christians today, about the warnings of the desert rebellion that happened thousands of years ago.
God hates rebellion, and is teaching us the line not to cross with God the Father Himself. We will not be able to post so much Scripture. But you can read it for yourself. We will only give the highlights here. I encourage you to really read this for yourself, and hear what the Holy Spirit is saying.
Exodus 13:17-17:6 Commemorates the crossing of the Red Sea, and all that entails. Exodus 15, the Song that Moses and the congregation of the Jews sang after the crossing of the Red Sea, praising God for what His mighty hand has done. Which the Jews has witnessed and experienced, the impossible deliverance and miracles of God. And every eye had seen it.
It also mentions the first rebellion of complaining at the waters of Marah. Exodus 16/Numbers 11. They grumbled and complained about the lack of food in their moment of time, reminiscing with nostalgist fantasies of the abundant variety of food and water they had back in Egypt. They may have had those abundances, but what they forgotten, was the fact that they were slaves in hard labor. And looking back, thinking back, led them to rebel against the LORD, and because of their complaining, the LORD blessed them with a great abundance of Quail for Judgment. While Quail meat was still in there mouths, the Lord had killed many with a plague.
Exodus 17:1-6 deals with the congregation again grumbling and complaining for water, and again a more detailed account of this incident is found in: Numbers 20:1-13. To make the long story short, He has given them His Laws, teaching them what God Most High expects of them before hand, found in Exodus 19-20. Here God Almighty had given the law to His people, establishing His Covenant with His treasured possessions, the Jews at Mount Sinai. For God Almighty does not ordain ignorance, but rather knowledge and understanding of His boundaries, just like our responsible, loving parents who also has laid the ground rules in the household, so also does the LORD.
After that, they wondered for forty years in the desert led by God. Many testing’s and judgments have come to pass because they would not give there heart completely over to God and live according to His ways, but rebelled because of unbelief (the lack of faith), ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So God waited for that hard hearted and stiff-necked Generation to die off in the wilderness, as He swore to that Generation, “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’” He did this, so that rebellious Generation would not contaminate the children of faith entering into the Promise Land, whom God swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
So how does all this relate to Christianity today? The older Generation of Jews in the wilderness did not live according to God’s Holy and righteous standards because they did not believe God. That’s why it was written of them in Hebrews 3:16-19 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.
Evidence that those who continue in sin after being saved are in unbelief and will not enter God’s rest, both for the Jews and Gentiles. James 2:18-24 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
Today, these so called “Christians” who believe in this “once saved, always saved doctrine, thinks, if you just believe in Jesus Christ you are saved, justified and after that, you cannot lose your salvation, is an absolute sham. Believing is the beginning of salvation not the end result. The Apostle James is saying in context of James 2:18-24, it is not good enough to believe only.
In salvation after being justified, we cannot continue in sin no longer, lest God rejects us eventually like He did to that rebellious Generation in the wilderness because of unbelief, and we too enter not his rest. The simple equation James puts it here is: Faith + Action = PROVES OUR BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST.
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
And there is so much more that happened in the wilderness than we just covered here, but you get the point. God Almighty teaches us to be dependent upon Him and obedient, for He is our only Hope, our only Provider and our only present help. He desires to be the center of our lives and nothing else. The Lord Jesus died for the forgiveness of all our sins, transgressions and iniquities, which are all rebellion in general against God, (Isaiah 53:5). His grace does not give us license to continue in rebellion against the Lord after being saved. The LORD destroyed that rebellious Generation in the desert because of their rebellions and sin is rebellion. And those who deliberately sins/rebels again God will not enter His rest if that person continues in sinning
Hebrews 4:1-3 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ”
Hebrew 10:26-31 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
So you can lose your salvation, this was done for our examples today. Those who die in their sins will not enter Heaven, Revelation 21:27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
(To be continued on “Can You Lose Salvation prt. 3”)