Hebrews 3:12 (KJV) 12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
We as believers—those of us who are a part of God’s family—need to pay sincere and serious attention, and need to be very careful. Not doing so results to the terrible condition of having “an evil heart of unbelief”—hearts that become hardened through continuous conscious decisions and actions of disobedience and rebellion—which inevitably leads to departure from the living God.
This Scripture is a point of contention among believers despite the clarity of the statement. But instead of adding to an already excessive arguments and counter-arguments from both sides of interpretation, I choose to just do what the Scripture directs us to do—to heed the encouragement and warning.
We want to be careful and not careless. We have an internal enemy—the flesh, and we have external enemies—the world and the devil. They want to creep in and devour us completely. We’d rather live as more than conquerors than live as the conquered. We want to have good, believing hearts instead of evil, unbelieving, doubtful, confused, hardened, and calloused hearts. We want to abide in God instead of departing from Him. We strive to fight the good fight, to run our race well, and to keep the faith.
Luke 3:18 (AMP) 18 So with many other [various] appeals and admonitions he preached the good news (the Gospel) to the people.
John courageously prepared the way for the Lord Jesus through bold exhortations and preaching. He unflinchingly told it like it was. Doctrine, correction, rebuke, instruction – whatever was necessary, He spoke clearly, and bravely – no batting of eyelids, no fear of the potential of unescessarily offending others. He preached what people needed to hear – wanted or not. He preached the bad news and the good news. Despite being associated often only with radical rebukes, He did both: appealed and preached the Good News.
News ought to be uncompromisingly truthful. This is our special call as privileged bearers of the eternal truth. Many a times, there’s a tendency to gravitate towards either the pleasant, encouraging words or the fearful warnings and judgments. Those who joyfully preach the God of love look down on those who still engage in preaching hellfire and brimstone as preachers of legalism and condemnation. Those who adamantly preach about the God of holiness and justice look down on those who continually preach on the God of grace and mercy as shallow, compromising and advocates of licentiousness. Faithfulness requires fullness of the message. No matter what’s our propensity or inclination, no matter what’s our preference, we are to boldly speak them all: bad news and good news. Different personalities will yield different approaches – some, even interesting ones; it’s great; let’s just make sure we proclaim the same full Scripture message.
Dear God may we be faithful bearers of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – in love, with wisdom and gentleness, so help us God.