Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our reading in Hebrews 3 this week warns us against having an unbelieving heart. Most Christians would like to agree wholeheartedly, then to add that they are glad they don’t have that fight. After all, they are Christians.
There’s a reason that God warns against unbelief. There’s a reason that we find this particular warning in a text written to people who are identified as Christians who have all the benefits of a Hebrew background. They have known all their lives that God calls them heirs of His promise. So why the warning against unbelief? These people should have confidence.
What do we see in the real world? The people with reason for confidence are exactly those whose faith can be shaken. They know their identity. They know the history. They know God doesn’t change. And they find within themselves a hard heart, like those who rebelled against God in the Exodus. When we start deciding we know best and God’s Word doesn’t matter so much, we are doomed to failure. Like the Israelites, we cannot expect to enter into rest.
Despite these strict words, I’d like to show how this passage brings hope. God would not warn his people against unbelief if He hadn’t made his gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation available in Word and Sacrament. Are you afraid you will have an unbelieving heart? It is a valid fear. So turn to God’s Word. Surround yourself with believers who will encourage you. Believe and live.
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