Written on March 21st, 2007 - 7:41PM Last Updated: March 21st, 2007 - 9:54PM
The Father encourages us to look at this life from His perspective. In His many dealings with Israel, they continued to think in fleshly terms, not having faith that Yahweh would do as He had promised. They allowed the lusts of the flesh to draw them away from what He had called them to be; they made gods of stone for themselves not long after Yahweh Himself had led them supernaturally out of Egypt, across dry land in the midst of a mighty river.
God promised that these kinds of people would not enter His Rest—the ones who fell back upon what their bodies desired, to the exclusion of the call of God, were erring, or wandering in their hearts. They would not settle down with the Lord, but continued to look for other things that tickled their senses (Hebrews 3:7-11).
So we hear this exhortation, originally written to the Hebrew believers, but certainly applying to us today some 2,000 years later.
12Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; 13but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called "today;" lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13)
While it is called "today." Here we see our study word, that theme in the scriptures of the current day, Today. As seen elsewhere, it means much more than the literal 24hr period from sunset to sunset. It is a spiritual truth that encapsulates the underlying fact that this age is temporary. Yahweh deals with man for a short while, and then the Judgment comes. While it is Today, then, we must be certain to hear and obey His voice.
In this instance, the writer tells believers to "exhort" one another. At first glance this seems like nothing worthy of note. We should encourage others. But the Greek word used (παρακαλειτε) is from the same root as the word describing the HolySpirit, "Comforter" or "Counselor." It is the verb form, used many other places in scripture—we are to act as the HolySpirit toward one another, comforting and counseling one another. The word itself means to "call near." The HolySpirit is a Comforter because He comes near to us, He comes to our side when we are in trouble. He then counsels us in those situations, enlightening our minds in order to find the way out, and to not get into the same situation again.
But here we are asked to do the same thing toward one another. We are to do it "day by day" or "each day." How long should we be doing this encouraging? "As long as it is called today." How odd to most ears, but those with spiritual ears can begin to understand this. "Today" is not the physical day in which we now live, but the age in which the Father is calling to mankind before He judges the world. Therefore, there are many "days" in this "Today." We are then to comfort one another, counsel one another, each day, until it is no longer called "Today."
When this age ends, we will no longer have the opportunity to counsel people to live for Yahweh. They will have all appeared before the Judgment Throne, each to receive according to their works if their name is not written in the Book of Life. It will no longer be "Today" at that point, and the time for and ability of our counsel to them will have passed. In the same way, those believers who may have lived as mere men will no longer be able to hear our counsel; they will receive in the body the things done on earth, with no more opportunity to change their ways here.
How important is this call then! We must act as comforters, counselors, coming near when called by those in need. For what purpose?
The Deceitfulness of Sin
If we don't continually hear this counsel, and receive comfort in the midst of our trials for living in the Lord Jesus, we may unwittingly fall into the ways of the old man. Sin may gain an advantage over us, as we forget the things we have learned and are once again deceived by the world.
Paul counsels the Ephesian believers concerning the same thing:
5Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. 7Therefore don't be partakers with them. (Ephesians 5:5-7)
Many will encourage believers to forsake their ways and to imitate their own ways, that of yielding to the desires of the flesh, specifically sexual immorality, uncleanness and covetousness. Those are the ways of the world, the ways that people act when they have no knowledge of Yahweh, His plan for their lives or this world, or of the coming Judgment. They live as though the body is all there is. Paul has a description of their attitudes and callings for others to join them: "empty words." Because no one who lives as they do will have any inheritance in God's Kingdom.
These two exhortations, that of Paul and the writer to the Hebrews, speak to the same thing: disobedience and lack of faith is the reason for the downfall of the sinner.
Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; (Hebrews 3:12)
They hear the word of God, that those who live such ways will surely die, and they do not listen. They resist, do their own will, and do not trust that what Yahweh says will come to pass.
Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:6)
18To whom did he swear that they wouldn't enter into his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19We see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:18-19)
But what God has said will come to pass: they will surely die (Genesis 2:17). Sin has won, its deceit has fooled them into living by the lie of Satan. They have become hardened to the voice of Yahweh and come to a place of not being able to hear it any longer, let alone be able to comprehend it.
10and with all deception of wickedness for those who are being lost, because they didn't receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11Because of this, God sends them a working of error, that they should believe a lie; 12that they all might be judged who didn't believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
Escaping the Lie
This reveals the importance of our actions as believers: we must exhort, encourage, counsel, comfort each other, every day, so long as it is called Today. The Day is coming when there will be no more time for repentance, and judgment will be rendered.
30The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now he commands that all people everywhere should repent, 31because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: but God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers. (Hebrews 13:4)
It is only through the Lord JesusChrist, Son of God, that people may escape this judgment. In Him is Life, what God has created us to enjoy. He is our escape from the lies of Satan, from the deceitfulness of sin, from the strong desires of the flesh that so often draw us away from the Father.
42He charged us to preach to the people and to testify that this is he who is appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him, that through his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins." (Acts 10:42-43)
Paul tells the Ephesians in the same breath as warning them not to heed the empty words of sinners to not have any fellowship with the works of darkness, but rather to reprove them!
Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them. (Ephesians 5:11)
Notice he does not say to reprove the sinners, but the works themselves. If we expose the works of darkness for what they are—a lie that brings death—people will have the opportunity to believe and repent. We should not be sharing with those people in the works in which they live (Ephesians 4:7-10), but rather show as lies those unfruitful works by virtue of what we now experience in the Spirit.
Paul uses an important word to describe these works: unfruitful. They do not produce anything. It is empty action. Sin is worthless. It promises freedom, life, self-reliance, and gives nothing. It leaves nothing behind. All the energy expended upon it is wasted, and the person is left with nothing to show for their time except exhaustion and need of real life and peace. We must expose the works of darkness for what they are, unfruitful!
When we reprove the sinner himself, he is more likely to withdraw into his world of lies, in pride, and not hear our words. But if we show him the works for what they are, he can separate himself from them—not counting himself to be unchangeable, but revealing him to be able to be saved by the Lord of heaven (Ephesians 4:14-15). For as he leaves behind those works, he might be transformed into a son of God!
Comforting in Action
How then should we accomplish this? How do we comfort one another? We remind them:
Of the promises of God, that those who live according to wisdom will preserve their life (Ecclesiastes 7:12).
That Satan is a liar, and the father of lies, and that anything which proclaims self-reliance apart from God is an offspring of that original Lie (John 8:44)(2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).
That we should not envy sinners who appear to live long in their sin, but remember that it is for the change of their repentance that God allows them to continue living (2 Peter 3:8-9).
That we should live as pilgrims, passing through this age on a journey to another place, having no need of a permanent dwelling here, as a name or legacy in the eyes of the world (Hebrews 11:13-16)(1 Peter 2:11).
That we should not get caught up in the affairs of this life to the exclusion of the orders of the one who has commissioned us in military service (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
That we should not prize anything in this world, because it is all temporary, subject to perishing, and we will not carry any of it out with us (1 Timothy 6:6-10).
That although we may suffer for living by these truths, it is but a short affliction compared to the eternity of glory in the presence of Yahweh (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
HalleluYah! Heed this call, comfort and counsel yourselves, every day, until it is no longer called Today. Use your time wisely, and don't allow yourself or your brothers and sisters in the Lord to be deceived again by sin and its unfruitful works. Rather, continue living for Yahweh as you were created to do, and counsel others in the same way daily—for there will come a time when it is no longer Today!
As you read this site, you will hopefully come to know Yahweh more fully.
But all of this continuing knowledge is useless unless and until you come into union with Him. I use the word union because it is truly a marriage. It is that deep connection we all seek, for which we most often look in other people. However, the truth is that our hearts will only be fulfilled when we enter that union in fullness with the One Who made us.
This is the grace of God, that He has not stayed distant for us only to worship as Creator. But He has come unto us, even become one of us—in His Son, ChristJesus—in order to share an intimate union with us. He desires such closeness that it truly will envelope our entire life, transforming us into something new and wonderful.
You may have already entered this union with Him and only seek to know Him better through reading here. But if you have not, as you do read, let this Gospel sink into your heart as you read it now.
God loves you, and has cast your sins into the sea. He has sent His only Son as the Savior of the world—that includes you.
That Son, JesusChrist, was born as a man through a virgin who had given her life to Yahweh; He lived without sin, reflected the glory of His Father, God, in all His words and deeds, and was persecuted even unto death because of it.
His death upon a cross was the powerful explosion that separated you from your life of death. It remains for you, now, to enter into that death with Him. As you die to the one you are now, a person separated from God from your many sins, you will be born anew, with a nature predisposed to live rightly. This gift is free to you, with nothing you can do to earn it. It is the mercy of God to offer it to you, as He loves you so much! All you must do is receive it by trusting Him to have delivered you. Simply place your life in His hands and embrace the freedom that came through that death on the cross.
The Gospel is that Jesus did not remain dead, but rose again on the third day after His crucifixion! Death could not hold Him, as He was without sin. And so death will not be able to hold you, as you identify with Him fully through your trust in Him. Let go of yourself and confess Him as Lord of your life. The power of His death and resurrection will work in you all that your Creator has destined for you. You will truly enter a new life and experience that intimate union you have been seeking all of your life.
So ponder these words as you read here of this great God—Yahweh—and all that He has revealed to His creation. Let His Spirit testify to your heart that these words are true, that God is Love, and that He sent His Son so that you might receive the life that is unbound by time and space. As you feel that witness in your heart, simply believe and receive what He is offering to you, even now, and begin your new life as a child of God.
Please write to me and let me know when you take this step, as I will be your brother in Christ—we will be one in Him!
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