If the Word of God tells us to "take care," we'd be wise to listen. Here is a warning to be on our guard, to watch out, to keep our eyes open and be on the alert. "Take care, brethren, lest...."
There are many enemies that seek to destroy us. Our "adversary the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Pe 5:8). Our fellow man at times seeks to persecute and undo us. Even our own hearts are prone to drag us away to destruction. Be on guard and take care for there are enemies without and within!
"Take care, brethren, lest there be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God." There are those that have "tasted" of the good things of God who turn away from them. Notice that I say those who have tasted rather than those who have truly injested. I do believe that the Word of God is clear that those who are truly saved are eternally saved. The elect of God are secure! "He who began the good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Ph 1:6). 1 John reminds us that "they went out from us, because they were not really of us."
Unbelief is a dangerous thing. An unbelieving heart is here called an "evil heart." It is called such because "unbelief is at the bottom of all our sinful departures from God. If once we allow ourselves to distrust Him we may soon desert Him" (Matthew Henry). Recognizing that, and recognizing that we are all, at times, given over to an unbelieving heart we should be quite concerned to pray with the demoniac's father "I do believe; help my unbelief."
Most assuredly we need to pray for God to increase our faith. We must "watch and pray that we may not enter into temptation." However, our duty doesn't end there. It really hit me this morning that this is another of those "put off/put on" passages. The "put off" is unbelief and the "put on" is to "encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'today,' lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." The remedy for unbelief is encouragement! We are to "exhort one another daily." Beloved, we need one another - particularly when doubts are creeping in. We must take care lest there should be in anyone of us an evil, unbelieving heart and we should take care enough to get in one another's business "day after day" and be an encourager. Are you that kind of friend to those who are doubting?
On a final note, verse 13 ends with these words: "lest any of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Sin is deceitful!!
"It appears fair, but is filthy. It appears pleasant, but is pernicious. It promises much, but performs nothing. One sin allowed prepares for another. Every act of sin confirms the habit. Sinning against conscience is the way to sear the conscience and therefore, it should be the great concern of every one of us to exhort himself and others to beware of sin." (Matthew Henry)
Striving to do so,