"But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
(Hebrews 13:5 - ESV)
The Greek word used in this verse for the word hardened is σκληρυνω (sklay-roo’-no.) It is used six times in the New Testament (Acts 19:9; Romans 9:18;Hebrews 3:8,13,15, 4:7) The basic meaning of σκληρυνω is "to make hard or to harden." It refers to being or becoming stubborn or obstinate.
Our hearts can harden very quickly. It does not take much for us to act in a very stubborn or obstinate manner. All to quickly we can shut out and ignore all that we know to be true in order to pursue a course of action or attitude that we know to be sinful.
σκληρυνω in Hebrews 13:5 is used as an aorist, passive, and subjunctive verb. Basically this means sin is the culprit or the bad guy in this warning. The writer of Hebrews is driving home the point that we need to be regularly, and in this case daily, encouraged in our faith so that sin does not take the tiniest of opportunities and harden our heart. The passive voice of this verb gives the idea that this hardening is done to us. Sin makes our heart stubborn or obstinate if, this is why the subjunctive mood is used, we are not on our guard.
Sin is described as "deceitful." Even with all that we do:
Daily Bible Reading
Strategically placed verses, plagues, reminders, etc.
Christian background music
...we can still fall short of staving off an attack of sin as it desires to render our hearts stubborn or obstinate against all that we know to be godly and holy. Even doing all that we can do we still need to be accountable to someone and allow someone or many someones to encourage us each day.
Jerry Bridges in The Disciplines of Grace reminds us that the evil desires within our flesh constantly searches for opportunities to express themselves. He likens it to a radar system whose antenna is continually searching the environment around us for temptations which it can respond to. He reminds us that our flesh is always seeking an opportunity to gratify itself according to the particular sinful desires that each of us possess.
Accountability is very rare yet it is so vital to our victorious living and mortification of sin. This hardness that can cause us to sin against God by becoming stubborn and obstinate can occur in a single unguarded moment.
Do you have someone who encourages you daily? Many of us have our spouse and we praise God for this. This passage suggests that this encouragement comes from someone from our local church. Who do you have that helps you, encourages you, and holds you accountable in areas such as diet, devotions, family, finances, or even sexually stimulating material?
Committing ourselves to daily encouragement is an invaluable tool in our fight against sin. Sadly, we face two devastating challenges concerning daily accountability.
First - we must be willing to submit to daily accountability. We must recognize that we need daily encouragement to fight sin. I am not talking about the "sensational" sins like adultery, murder, rape, and the like.
We need help especially with the "respectable sins." You know the ones that we "make respectable in various ways" so that we can commit them - like gossip, lying, envy, coveting, partiality, pride, or lust.
Second - we must have a body that has been lovingly, patiently, and biblically taught the responsibility of daily encouraging each member. Sad to say most churches do not do this. Most churches do not encourage or confront during the week. It breaks my heart to say that the church at large rarely has this mindset or commitment. I long for someone to encourage me or hold me accountable to spiritual things during the week let alone daily. How about you?
The lesson in our verse is found in the phrase "as long as it is called today." We need this accountability today. Soon we will be in the presence of God where we will live forever. Our spirits will be perfected and will be united with resurrection bodies. We will be perfect and not sin. We don't need encouragement or accountability then. We need it now while there is still time. Time before sin races in and renders my heart stubborn or obstinate.
I pray for those of you who read this blog and leave comments. I pray that you are encouraged or exhorted daily by someone who loves you enough to risk your friendship in helping you with the mortification of sin and living faithfully before the Lord. Will you pray for me that God will supply regular if not daily exhortations for me in my battle with the flesh?
30 Days of Thanksgiving
I am thankful for the fact that God is absolutely Sovereign! God is my refuge, my fortress, and my rock. He is working out His plan in my life perfectly and according to His schedule. I am thankful that there is nothing that can hinder the plan and purpose of God for my life! Not even me! Not even you!