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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Hebrews 3

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAP. III.

Christ is infinitely greater than Moses: therefore if we believe not in him, we shall be more worthy of punishment than hard-hearted Israel.

Anno Domini 63.

THE apostle, in the first chapter of this epistle, having affirmed that Jesus of Nazareth, the person by whom God the Father spake the gospel revelation to mankind, is his only-begotten Son: also, in the same chapter having proved from the Jewish scriptures, that God constituted his Son, the heir or Lord of all things, by whom he made the worlds: moreover, in the second chapter, having answered the objections urged by the Jewish doctors for invalidating the claim of Jesus to be God's Son, and having thereby given full effect to the direct proofs which established his claim, and which were well known to the Hebrews living in Judea, where they were publicly exhibited, he, in this third chapter, proceeds to shew what is implied in Christ's being the Heir or Lord of all things: which is the third fact on which the authority of the gospel revelation depends.

A proper account of this matter was necessary, First, because the title of Jesus to remove the Mosaic economy and to substitute the gospel dispensation in its place, was founded on the power which he possessed as the Son of God, and heir of all things. Secondly, because many of the Jews, in the persuasion that the law of Moses was of perpetual obligation, and that its sacrifices were real atonements for sin, rejected the Lord Jesus as an impostor for pretending to abolish these institutions. Wherefore, to shew the unbelieving Jews their error, the apostle, who in the first and second chapter had proved the Son of God to be the Heir or Lord of all things, exhorted the unbelieving Hebrews, in this chapter, to consider attentively Christ Jesus the Apostle and High-priest of our religion; that is, to consider how great a Person he is, that, knowing him to be the Son of God and Heir of all things, they might be sensible that it belonged to him to form and govern the house or church of God, Hebrews 3:1.—Next, to convince them that in forming and governing this spiritual house, Jesus acted agreeably to the will of his eternal Father, the apostle affirmed, that when he excluded the law of Moses and the Levitical priesthood from the new house, or church of God, which he built, he was as faithful to his heavenly Father who appointed him his Lawgiver in his church, as Moses was, when he established the law and the priesthood in God's ancient house the Jewish church. The proof of this affirmation the apostle did not produce on the present occasion, because the Hebrews were well acquainted with it. By voices from heaven, uttered more than once in the hearing of many of them, God the Father had declared Jesus, his beloved Son in whom he was well pleased, and had commanded the Hebrews to hear him, Hebrews 3:2.—Farther, the apostle told the Hebrews, that God the Father counted his only Son Jesus as worthy of infinitely more glory than Moses; inasmuch as he who hath builded the house or church of God, not for his own salvation but for the salvation of others, hath more honour than the house; is a more excellent Person than all the members of the church which he built. These things cannot be said of Moses. He built the Jewish church as an instrument under God, for his own use, as well as for the use of his brethren; and so being a member of his own church, he was obliged to have recourse to its services, especially its typical atonements, equally with the rest of the Israelites; whereby he was shewed to be a sinner like them; consequently he had not, like Christ, more honour than the house, Hebrews 3:3.—This however is not all. To make the Hebrews sensible of the great power of Jesus as the Heir or Lord of all things, the apostle observed, that although every society civil and religious is formed bythe ministry of some person or other, the original of all just power, and the governor of all righteous societies, is God, who, by constituting his eternal Son the Heir or Lord of all things, hath delegated hisauthority to him as man, and empowered him to model and govern these societies as he pleases, Hebrews 3:4.—More particularly, to shew that Jesus, as a Lawgiver, is infinitely superior to Moses, the apostle observed, that the faithfulness of Moses in building the Jewish church, was not that of a legislator who himself framed the laws which he established, but it was the faithfulness of a servant who established the laws which were dictated to him by his Master, without adding to or diminishing ought from them; and who formed the tabernacle and appointed its services, not according to any plan of his own, but according to a pattern which God shewed to him in the mount, without presuming to deviate from it in the least, Hebrews 8:5. This faithfulness in building all the parts of the ancient house or church of God, was required of Moses, in order that the things afterwards to be spoken by Jesus and his apostles might be confirmed by the attestation given to them in the figures, and ceremonies, and services of the law, Hebrews 3:5.—But the faithfulness of Jesus in building the new house of God, the Christian church, was that of a son in his Father's house, who, being the Heir or Lord of all, was entitled to remove the Jewish church, after it had answered the end for which it wasestablished, and to erect the Christian church on a more enlarged plan, so as to comprehend believers of all nations.—Wherefore Jesus, in the exercise of that authority which belonged to him as the Lord or Governor of all things, having actually abolished the Mosaic economy and established the gospel dispensation, the apostle, to confirm the Hebrews in the profession of the gospel, assured them, that all who believe in Jesus with the heart unto righteousness, are as really members of the house or church of God, and as fully entitled to the privileges of the house of God, as the Israelites were who believed in a Messiah to come, with the heart unto righteousness, during the subsistence of the Jewish church, ver.

Thus it appears, that the authority of the Lord Jesus as a Lawgiver, is infinitely greater than the authority of Moses. He was a Lawgiver in his own right; whereas in establishing the law, Moses acted only ministerially. His institutions therefore might be abolished by the Son of God, who, being the Heir of all things, hath all power in heaven and earth committed to him, Matthew 28:18. If so, the Jewish doctors fell into a grievous error, when, from some ambiguous expressions in the law, they inferred that it was never to be abolished, and rejected the Lord Jesus as a false Christ, because his disciples affirmed that he had put an end to the law and to the priesthood.

The sacred penman having thus displayed the greatness of Jesus, as the Heir or Ruler of all things, addressed the unbelieving Hebrews, as an apostle of Jesus, in the words which the Holy Ghost spake to their fathers by David; Wherefore, as saith the Holy Ghost, To-day, when ye shall hear his voice; the voice of God the Father by his Son Jesus, commanding you to believe on his Son, and to enter into his church, Harden not your hearts as in the bitter provocation, &c. Hebrews 3:7-11. This exhortation of the Holy Ghost to the Israelites in David's days, the apostle with great propriety applied to the Hebrews of his own time, because, if rejecting Jesus they refused to enter into the Christian church, God would as certainly exclude them from the rest of heaven, as he excluded their fathers from the rest in Canaan for their unbelief and disobedience.—He therefore requested them to take heed that none of them shewed an evil unbelieving heart, either by refusing to obey Jesus, or by apostatizing from him after having believed on him. This, he assured them, would be a real departing from the living God, Hebrews 3:12.—Then he ordered them to exhort one another daily to believe and obey Christ, Hebrews 3:13.—assuring them, that they should be partakers of his rest in heaven, only if they held fast their begun confidence in him to the end, Hebrews 3:14.—and told them that they might know this by its being said to the Israelites in David's time, To-day, when ye shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts: for such an exhortation evidently shews, that faith and obedience are necessary at all times, Hebrews 3:15.—Withal, to make the Hebrews sensible that unbelief and rebellion are extremely offensive to God, he put them in mind that by these sins, their fathers provoked God, Hebrews 3:16.—to such a degree, that he destroyed the whole congregation of the disobedient in the wilderness, Hebrews 3:17.—after swearing, that they should not enter into his rest, Hebrews 3:18.—Thus, says the apostle, we see that they could not enter in, because of unbelief, Hebrews 3:19.—and by making the observation, he has shewed in the clearest light the contagious fatal nature of unbelief; that it is the cause of the disobedience and punishment of sinners in all ages; and so he has put us on our guard against such an evil disposition.

I have only to add, that the apostle by exhorting the Hebrews to obey Christ, after describing his supreme authority in the church as its Lawgiver, and by setting before them the punishment of the Israelites in the wilderness, has insinuated that Christ is Judge, as well as Lawgiver; consequently he has both authority and power to render to all men according to their works; as will appear likewise from the things set forth, ch. Hebrews 4:11-13.


Verse 1

Hebrews 3:1. Wherefore, holy brethren, &c.— Holy brethren may refer to what he said of those who were sanctified in Christ, ch. Hebrews 2:11. Partakers of the heavenly calling signifies,"Partakersof the call given us in the gospel to pursue immortality and glory." See Hebrews 3:14. The word apostle is, by way of eminence, put for "one sent of God;" and our Saviour has frequently, in St. John's Gospel, spoken of himself as sent by the Father. St. Paul therefore exhorts the Hebrews to consider Christ, who was infinitely higher than the angels;—who was, for our sakes, made in the flesh lower than they for a short time, but has obtained a more excellent name than they: who was sent by God the Father into the world, and so sent, as to taste death. "Consider him in these capacities, and add to them, that he was our High-priest, and entered into the holy of holies for us, removing all obstacles to the eternal happiness of his faithful people, and then judge if he be not superior to Moses. Moses was sent into Egypt, to redeem the children of Israel; Jesus was sent from heaven to redeem mankind: but then he was not only thus the Apostle, but he was likewise the High-Priest of our profession; and in consequence, not only infinitely superior to Moses, but to Aaron too; as will soon appear."


Verse 2

Hebrews 3:2. That appointed him, Heylin reads, who constituted him [in that office]. The next words are taken from Numbers 12:7. The word house is used, not only for a building, but for such as dwell in it;—a family, a people: And as God is said to dwell among the children of Israel, hence they are called his house; that is, his servants, his people. When the apostle says his house, he does not mean Moses's, but his house who appointed Moses; that is, God's house.


Verse 3-4

Hebrews 3:3-4. For this man was counted worthy, &c.— For this [Jesus]. The word man is inserted by our translators in both these verses. It is not in the original. The word κατασκευασας, according to some, should be rendered, not built, but ordered, or governed, as the word house signifies not a building, but a family: and as the word man is not in the original (Hebrews 3:4.) they would render the clause, For every house or family hath some orderer or governor, referring the whole to Christ, as planning out and directing the Mosaic dispensation. Dr. Calamy has very forcibly inferred from hence the Supreme Deity of Christ, in consequence of his being the Creator of all things: and indeed it does not seem easy to make out the apostle's conclusion, or to find any trueforce in his argument, if we do not understand the last clause of the fourth verse as spoken of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Verse 5

Hebrews 3:5. And Moses verily was faithful, &c.— Moses did nothing but under the direction and government of a superior, and acted merely as a servant under a master in the house, or church, or family of God. He was faithful even to his declaration of those things, which were afterwards more particularly spoken of. He declared that one should arise like himself, to whom they were to hearken. By testimony is meant a truth published or declared: Moses therefore did not speak of himself, as if he were the person in whom the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was to be fulfilled; but he was faithful as a servant, to testify what he was told of his Master; namely, that Christ was to come, and to be obeyed, when it should please the Father to send him. He faithfully delivered the will of his Master, so far as God was pleased to convey the knowledge of such a Person to him; but a much greater information was granted to them that came after, who described the manner, the times, and circumstances of his appearance. See Acts 26:22. Luke 24:44. John 5:46-47.


Verse 6

Hebrews 3:6. But Christ as a Son over his own house, &c.— Over the church; in which, as Heir or Lord of all things, he has not only a trust and office, but also a property. See Hebrews 3:4. Instead of the confidence, some read, our freedom of profession; and others, the liberty, that is, of access to God. See ch. Hebrews 4:16 ch. Hebrews 10:19; Hebrews 10:35. In all which places the word παρρησιαν, says Sykes, should be rendered liberty. The Jews were all absolutely prohibited from entering into theholy of holies,which represented the throne of God (the high-priest onlyexcepted; andhe having this restraint laid upon him, that he could enter it but once a year). But now the true holy of holies was opened to all, through Christ, and all Christians might have free access to the throne of God, in the highest sense in which we are capable of approaching it here below. And this freedom, without any restraint, was the παρρησια, the liberty which they might use without any fear of death or harm for entering within the veil. In this place then of this Epistle the word παρρησια is the liberty of access to the throne of God;—an advantage which no Christian is to give up. It is an access to the Lord and Master of the house; not by any others, as mediators in the family, but by and through the Son alone. The rejoicing of the hope, means the open avowal of the hope which we have of a future reward. This is the thing openly to be professed, and steadily to be adhered to, even to the end. See ch. Hebrews 10:23; Hebrews 10:26-27; Hebrews 10:31.


Verses 7-9

Hebrews 3:7-9. Wherefore, &c.— "We are the people of God, if we continue steadfast: wherefore, let me advise you, and exhort you, in the words of the inspired Psalmist, Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, and be not stubborn and disobedient, as were our fathers at Massah and Meribah in the wilderness; (Exodus 17:2-7.) when they tempted God, and tried how far his power and goodness would extend." The reasoning throughout this epistle is in general taken from the state of the children of Israel in the wilderness, and from what was done and said there; and the comparison is run between Christ and Moses; Christ and the high-priest;—the sacrifice of Christ, and the sacrifices then and there appointed;—the wilderness in which the Jews wandered, and the present life of Christians;—the land of Canaan, and the state of happiness or rest, to which we are called by Christ. The people of God are called out of the world, as the Israelites were out of Egypt: the people of God at present are going as it were through the wilderness, towards their rest in heaven, just as the children of Israel were marching through the wilderness to Canaan.—As this was the plan of the apostle, he speaks about the tabernacle, and the Jewish worship as at that time; and does not so much as mention the temple, except possibly in one place; or the state of things at the time when he was writing. His design was, to shew that the Lord Jesus Christ, and what he did, were infinitely more excellent, and infinitely more advantageous, than what Moses was and did. The superior dignity of the person of Christ was shewn in ch. 1. The reason of his condescension to become incarnate in ch. 2. His infinite superiority to Moses, in the present chapter: in further proof of which he proceeds to shew, that the rest promised by Christ to his people, is infinitely superior, and infinitely more excellent than that which Moses proposed to the children of Israel; whence this inference is as strong as possible, that the Hebrews ought to adhere steadfastly to the word preached by Christ, if they desired to obtain that more excellent and glorious rest. Mr. Peirce observes, that the wherefore, at the beginning of Hebrews 3:7 connects with the beginning of Hebrews 3:12. Wherefore, take heed, brethren, lest, &c. and that the citation from the 95th psalm, which comes between, is to be read in a parenthesis.—Having cited that psalm, the author dilates upon it, and applies it to his purpose, in the following part of this, and the beginning of the next chapter.


Verse 11

Hebrews 3:11. My rest. Canaan is so called, as they reposed there, after the labours of a long war, as well as the fatigues of a tedious march; and perhaps, as entering upon a course of stated worship, it might appear as a kind of sabbath-keeping. The word my is here added, both because God was the cause of this rest, and because the ark, which was supposed to be the place of his residence, ceased to be carried about. Under these images David Kimchi supposed that the signs of the Messiah were adumbrated.


Verse 12

Hebrews 3:12. From the living God. Whose house they are said to be, Hebrews 3:6. He is called living, as being ever one and the same; and therefore he must be always equally offended with the same sins.


Verse 13

Hebrews 3:13. While it is called To-day; That is, "As long as you can use this expression;—every day.—Exhort and encourage one another every day, to a steady perseverance in duty; and do this as often as the day comes, lest any of you grow careless, &c." Dr. Doddridge explains it, "While you are under this dispensation of grace." Perhaps the meaning only may be, "While you have it in your power; while your life is spared;—for the night cometh, when no man can work."


Verse 14

Hebrews 3:14. For we are made partakers, &c.— "For the benefits which we have from Christ, and that eternal salvation, even our rest, which he hath promised to us, are only to be had upon the condition, that we hold firm and unshaken our dependance, hope, and confidence, quite through our lives." To be partakers of Christ, is to be made sharers, with others, of the doctrines taught by Christ in the gospel, and of the benefits and advantages which are promised by, and to be obtained through him. See Hebrews 3 :1 Chronicles 6:4. Colossians 1:12. Ephesians 3:6. Upon comparing the latter part of this verse with the last clause of Hebrews 3:6 the sense seems to be the same. So that here is expressed the condition of our being made partakers of Christ: as if he had said, "It is with good reason I urge you to use such care every day; for the exhortation in the psalm, in effect, does the same: there being no day, in which it is not to be understood as speaking to men in this manner, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. It will not suffice us, that at our first conversion we made a good profession of our confidence in Christ; but this confidence must be maintained every day, to the end of our lives.The neglect of it any day may have a sad consequence, beginning such a hardness of heart, as through the deceitfulness of sin may so increase, that we may lose our part in Christ." What the apostle just mentions here, he prosecutes at large, ch. Hebrews 10:23-39 and Hebrews 11 throughout.


Verse 15

Hebrews 3:15. While it is said, To-day The 14th verse seems to be a parenthesis, and the 15th is thus to be joined to the 13th: Exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day, lest any of you should be hardened, &c.—"Exhort one another, I advise, by or from its being said, To-day if ye will hear, &c." Thus, as in Hebrews 3:13 he had expressed the time when this mutual exhortation should be used,—while it is called To-day; and the end of it,—lest any should be hardened, &c. so in this verse he declares the ground upon which their mutual exhortation was to be built; namely, its being said, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Thus understood, the present verse agrees with the 13th: for, as there he cautions them against being hardened, so here he sets down the words of the text, which shews the danger there was of it; by which consideration they were to excite and stir up each other. See Psalms 42:3. Ezekiel 36:20 in the LXX.


Verse 16

Hebrews 3:16. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: The reasoning is thus: "Do you every day exhort one another to steadfastness in the faith; omit no opportunity of doing so: do not delay, or put it off; for you see in fact, that some when they had heard, yet obstinately provoked: take care that you be not like them, either in sinning, or in suffering." The inspired writer speaks of this transaction with tenderness, saying only, that some of them did provoke, but not all; although among the adults there were only two exceptions, Caleb and Joshua; who, in such a vast multitude, were next to none at all. Nor was it necessary for the apostle to set forth a case so well known in the harshest manner: their own reflection would supply what might seem wanting, and bring the matter home upon them; who might learn by this example, that the vastness of the multitude of unbelievers would be no excuse for thosewho now believed not in Christ; nor would the smallness of the number of those who now believed in him, cause them to be overlooked, or to fail of obtaining the promised rest.


Verse 18

Hebrews 3:18. That believed not? That is, were so obstinate and disobedient as entirely to forfeit all claim to his promise and favour.


Verse 19

Hebrews 3:19. So we see, &c.— "And thus we see, and it is as clear as possible, that the reason why they could not enter into the place designed for their rest, after their wandering in the wilderness, was because of their unbelief and disobedience."

Inferences.—With what incomparable dignity does our Lord Jesus Christ transcend Moses, in his person and office! Moses was merely a man, and a servant! and the best that can be said of him is, that he was a part of God's house, and faithful in his ministry: but Christ is more than a mere man or servant; he is the God that governs the church, and orders all its affairs; and is the Lord Proprietor and Ruler of it! and in all his administrations is faithful to his Father that appointed him to his office, as a divine Mediator and Saviour. How worthy is he of our highest regard! All, that profess to be partakers of the heavenly calling, should think frequently and honourably of him, as the great Apostle and High-priest of their profession, and hold fast the beginning of their confidence, and their rejoicing therein, to the end, as ever they would prove themselves to be faithful members of his family, in which he dwells. How watchful should we be against the first workings of unbelief, and much more against the prevalence of it! This is a mother-sin, which leads the way to all others: it proceeds from the corruption of the heart, and is in itself exceeding sinful: it is no less than a departure from the living God and Saviour, in whom is all our help, hope, and happiness. And, ah, how dreadful are the effects of apostacy! It is the highest provocation to God, and hardening of the heart against him. It is a shameful distrust of him; a grief to his good Spirit; and a contemptuous neglect of all his dispensations of mercy and judgment; and brings the heaviest vengeance upon apostates themselves. How should the examples of the unbelief of others, and of their rebellion against God, and of their punishment, be a solemn warning to us, that we may not tread in their steps; but may be excited to an obedient faith without delay, while the door of mercy is opened in the gospel! It is our greater interest and duty to attend, and yield ourselves up to what the Holy Ghost says in his word, and in secret suggestions to our souls; and not harden our hearts against it, lest God should, ere we are aware, swear in his wrath, that we shall never enter into the rest, which he has provided for his faithful people. But how great is the deceitfulness of sin to stupify the conscience! And what need have believers themselves to be daily cautioned, and to caution one another against it! No outward privileges or professions of religion will secure us from divine wrath, if our hearts are not right with God: but, blessed be his name, there are many of a more excellent spirit, like Caleb and Joshua. They are already partakers of Christ, and of the benefits of his purchase, and shall for ever enjoy him in the glorious state of heavenly rest, if faithful unto death.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, We have, in this chapter, the application of the foregoing considerations. The excellency of our great High-priest should draw up our hearts in all holy affection and humble adoration to him.

Wherefore, holy brethren, renewed in the spirit of your minds, partakers of the heavenly calling, admitted to all the blessings and privileges of the gospel, consider the Apostle and High-priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, sent of God, appointed to his office on purpose to make reconciliation, and whom we profess to believe in as the author of all blessedness; consider his transcendent dignity, and the characters that he bears toward us.

1. With what fidelity he discharged his trust as a prophet. Who was faithful to him that appointed him, revealing to us all his Father's will; as also Moses, who was his eminent type, was faithful in all his house; communicating to the church in the wilderness, among whom Christ in the divine Shechinah dwelt as in his own house, all the statutes and ordinances delivered unto him.

2. How far superior he is to Moses, as the builder of his own church. For this man ( ουτος ), this incarnate Jesus, was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house, hath more honour than the house. The master, owner, and builder of the house must needs be far above any member of the family which inhabits it; and Moses, though so distinguished, was but one of the many faithful in the church, of which the Lord Jesus is the maker and builder, therefore must be far inferior to him. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things, and regulated, furnished, and set in order every thing pertaining to his church, whether under the Jewish or evangelical dispensation, is God, even that Jesus who shares all the incommunicable attributes of Deity, and is very God, as well as very man.

3. Moses was but a servant; Christ is the Son over his own house. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant, principally, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; to foretel and prefigure in the rites enjoined by him, according to divine command, the great things that under the gospel should be more fully and clearly revealed. But Christ is infinitely his superior, as a Son over his own house, the church erected by him, and purchased with his blood; whose house are we that believe, the happy members of his family, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope, which the gospel inspires, unto the end of life, which alone will eternally insure to us all the blessings of his holy family. Note; (1.) Christ is the glorious object, who should ever be in our eye: the more we consider him, the more shall we honour, love, and serve him. (2.) Those who are brethren in Christ, and truly partakers of the heavenly calling, will prove it by the holiness of their walk and conversation.

2nd, As it is not nominal profession, but persevering fidelity, which can secure to us the eternal rest of heaven, the apostle proceeds to caution and warn them by former examples.

Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, (Psalms 95:7.) To-day, if ye will hear his voice, without delay, or trifling with God's patience any longer, harden not your hearts, against all the calls and warnings of God, as your fathers did in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, when by their murmurings, unbelief, and disobedience, your fathers tempted me, proved me, how mindful I am of my promise, and how long-suffering; and saw my works forty years; receiving the strongest evidences of my power and grace. Wherefore, wearied out with their perverseness, and incorrigible ingratitude and infidelity, I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart, stubborn, and wilfully rebellious; and they have not known my ways; they delight not in them, and choose their own delusions: so I sware in my wrath, justly offended by their continued impenitence, they shall not enter into my rest, the land of promise, the type of that eternal rest which remaineth for the faithful above. Note; (1.) While the day of life and hope is prolonged, we are called to seize and improve the precious moments on which eternity depends. (2.) Continued hardness of heart against the calls of grace, and the warnings of Providence, must infallibly issue in everlasting ruin. (3.) God bears long, but he will not bear always. He will swear in his wrath, that the incorrigible shall not enter into his rest.

3rdly, The example which he had quoted, the apostle applies,

1. For their caution. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you, as was in them, an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. Note; (1.) Unbelief is the great damning sin. (2.) There may be much heart-unbelief under the most specious professions of faith. (3.) Where unbelief prevails, departure from God our Saviour necessarily follows.

(4.) It calls for all our watchfulness and prayer, that our souls do not suffer shipwreck on this fatal rock.

2. He suggests the means of preventing the so-much-to-be- dreaded evil. But exhort and encourage one another daily, while it is called To-day; improve every opportunity during this fleeting moment of life, to excite each other to watchfulness and holy diligence; lest any of you, who have made profession of the gospel, or experienced its power, be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; your consciences lulled asleep, and your souls perverted and seduced from the simplicity of the gospel. Note; (1.) Christian brethren should maintain a holy jealousy over each other. (2.) Since the time is so short, we need be earnest to redeem it for the best purposes. (3.) Sin comes with a most alluring aspect, and lurks often under the most specious appearances. (4.) Wherever sin gains possession of the heart, hardness and insensibility naturally follow; so that they who are in the most fatal danger, are the least apprized of it.

3. He encourages them to end well, as they had begun. For we are made partakers of Christ, or, we have been admitted to all the blessings and privileges which spring from vital union with him, if we hold the beginning of our confidence ( αποστασεως ), or subsistence in him, steadfast unto the end, and perseveringly abide in this holy fellowship, without which our former experience will avail us nothing. Note; Every believer is a partaker of Christ, and all things are ours if we are his; his merit, grace, and Spirit.

4. He returns to the subject that he began with, to fortify them against apostacy. Improve the present moment while it is said, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation; to-morrow you may be launched into eternity, and time be to you no more. For some, when they had heard, notwithstanding every warning, did provoke God to abandon them: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses; Caleb and Joshua, and those under twenty years of age, still survived. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, who bore the righteous vengeance due to their iniquities, and whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, nor possess the promised Canaan, but to them that believed not, and rejected their own mercies? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Note; (1.) Unbelief of God's promises is among the most common and highly provoking iniquities. (2.) They who wilfully reject the counsel of God against their own souls, have only themselves to blame for their ruin. (3.) Such fearful instances should awaken in us a holy jealousy to make our calling and election sure.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Hebrews 3:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/hebrews-3.html. 1801-1803.

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Friday, December 13th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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