In the Book of Hebrews we find guidance in matters of encouragement to faithfulness and warnings concerning failure. Often the Hebrew writer quotes the Old Testament to show how God addressed a particular problem the children of Israel were facing. Christians encounter similar difficulties in their lives as they follow the Lord.

Psa. 95 is quoted as a warning about hardening one's heart and rebelling against God like Israel did in the wilderness after coming forth from Egyptian bondage (Heb. 3:7-11; Psa. 95:7-11) Christians are then advised, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God" (Heb. 3:12)!

How do we remain faithful when we are tempted with a failure of our faith? There are three principles offered to help us stay faithful: exhort one another (Heb. 3:13), hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end (3:14), and be diligent to enter the rest of eternal life (4:1,11). All of us as followers of Jesus should desire victorious faith. Failure is overcome with repentance and correction.

To be successful in our heavenly journey we must not allow our heart to become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin or given over to rebelling against God's commandments. An evil heart of unbelief that leads to departing from the living God does not occur overnight. It happens over time as we daily sin and make no effort to correct our trespasses. Amazingly, we can become so calloused to sin that we can attend the worship services before God with little or no guilt for our sins. So, we need to exhort one another daily to faithfulness.

Faithfulness requires steadfastness or devoted, earnest dedication to God and His Word. It is evident that when we became Christians there was a confidence that we had concerning our salvation. We knew our sins had been taken away and that we had been given a new beginning before God. We would never have purposely sinned. Unfortunately beause of trials, temptations or weakness of the flesh we become hardened to God's admonishing Word.

We can remain faithful by keeping our eyes on the goal of eternal life. We have been given the promise of a heavenly rest that we look forward to entering after we have finished our labors here. It is important that we stay busy doing God's will so that we do not fail to enter into our rest.

By Ron Drumm.

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