“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 3:13).
The author’s warning of the deceitfulness of sin is within a larger context of displaying the failures of the nation of Israel in their wilderness wanderings. Despite witnessing the works of God for forty years, they rebelled. The author of Hebrews gives us insight into what the fundamental problem was: “So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief” (Heb. 3:19). The author, again, warns his readers in verse 12, “Take care brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart.” At the most basic level, the deceit of sin hardens our hearts to disbelieve the promises of God.
We should recognize two things about the deceitfulness of sin. First, as John Owen puts it, “Sin will not only be striving, acting, rebelling, troubling, disquieting, but if left alone it will bring forth great cursed, scandalous, soul destroying sins.” We should be aware of sin’s fervor against us.
Second, sin causes us to lose sight of the big picture. There seems no other explanation for the Israelite’s golden calf incident. The Israelites’ fear and unbelief caused them to forget the Exodus event, along with God’s saving promises and erect an idol, crediting it as their savior. Isn’t this the case in our daily struggle with sin? We lose sight of the faithfulness of God and his Gospel and give in to discouragement or impatience. Yet, thankfully, the author of Hebrews gives us a significant remedy for our daily struggle in sin: “Consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession” (3:1). Our hope as Christians is to daily consider Jesus, in whom God has fulfilled all his saving promises. He the sure and steadfast anchor for the soul.