You see, just saying you believe doesn't make it so.
What does the word "believe", as in to "believe in Christ", mean to you?
Whatever that is, I am sure you would agree that the opposite of "belief" is "unbelief"!
Here is the definition from Strong's Concordance of the word translated "unbelief" in this 3rd chapter of Hebrews:
unbelief = apistia, ap-is-tee'-ah, Greek 570; from Greek 571 (apistos); faithlessness, i.e. (negative) disbelief (want of Christian faith), or (positive) unfaithfulness(disobedience):- unbelief.
Now Paul is going to teach and show
us what "unbelief" is
lest any of the brethren don't quite "get it" because they have hardened their hearts,
meaning they have become "hard hearted (hard minded)", or as we say today "hardheaded"
and keep their ears closed by remaining stedfast in the idolatrous traditions of men.
And in order to help us "get the picture" Paul is going
to exhort us to learn
by the "ensamples" of our forefathers in the wilderness what "unbelief" is
and to know that those who harbor that unbelief will NOT cross the (spiritual) river and enter into His rest!
The subject therefore of today's
teachings of Paul in the remainder of this 3rd chapter of Hebrews
is "unbelief" the purpose of which is that by "seeing" the unbelief of our forefathers
hopefully we will be able to better understand what it means to truly "believe".
You see, just saying you believe doesn't make it so.
Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
It is a word of warning to the brethren to beware and behold!
What is it we are to "take heed" and pay so much close attention to?
We are to take heed to His Word,
to the ensamples Paul has brought forth,
like those which he refers to time and again in Psalm 95 that clearly "show us" the results (death in the wilderness)
of unfaithfulness and unbelief when one departs from the living God,
from His life saving and life giving Word of truth, to follow after the idolatrous ways of men and their traditions.
Remember we learned from Acts 28 that it was Paul's manner
to teach Christ from the law and the prophets
which all give witness unto Him.
You may also recall we saw in Mat.
7 that there shall be many Christians
who come to Christ crying "Lord, Lord",
who have not "taken heed" to His Word in trusting and obeying His Voice,
but nevertheless believe that they as do-gooder Christians
have pleased Him in all the things they have done in His name.
Unfortunately, in their ignorance
of His Word they do not even know
that what they do in their traditions is iniquitous and evil in the sight of the Lord and provokes Him to anger.
That may sound like we are judging them or "putting them down" which is not at all the case.
Paul is very blunt and clear on
this matter in 1 Cor. 10 where he says that if you as a Christian think
i.e. if you think in your heart (mind) that you are in good standing with the Father,
and yet you haven't paid close attention to, studied and "taken heed" to the ensamples
which are written for our admonition and understanding,
then you are in big danger of falling (in the wilderness of temptation).
In other words, you will fall in
the great falling away,
the great apostasy Paul speaks of in 2 Thes. 2,
and (spiritually) die in the wilderness when Satan shows up as the false-christ!
Because you do "err" and are "unstable" indeed!
Read the HIStory lesson Paul gives in 1 Cor. 10:1-10 concerning
the children in the wilderness
before reading what he says in these next two verses.
1 Cor. 10:11-12 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heedlest he fall.
The point is... if all one ever
does is go to church and follow after the traditions of men...
that person shows his or her "unfaithfulness" to Him in not hearkening unto His Voice...
thereby demonstrating that he or she Does Not Believe in Him!
This should help us to more fully understand the word "believe" in the most quoted verse in all of Christiandom:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
However, all that is called Christ is not Christ.
In fact, it is written that there
is a false one coming soon who shall claim that he is Christ
by showing great signs and wonders in the sight of men (2 Thes. 2).
The question is, Do
you believe in the real Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
or do you believe in the other Christ, the fake Christ?
Of course there is no one who reads that question who is going to think that he or she believes in Satan, right?
Certainly not you!
That's really interesting when you
think about it,
because it is written that it is the majority who shall be deceived and believe in the false messiah.
Well, the fact is that those who are deceived do not know or believe they are deceived.
That is the very mark of what deception is.
To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits;
to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.
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